Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Industrial Engineering

Committee Chair

Depuy, Gail W.


Decision making; Decision making--Problems; exercises; etc.


Decision making occurs frequently in a person’s life whether it is personal life decisions or business decisions. When one decision is made, it will affect a network of decisions. Each decision made has an impact on a person’s life. Problem structuring describes and organizes the decision problem and is a key element in making better decisions. Generating objectives is a key aspect of problem structuring because objectives show what the decision maker cares about/wants to achieve when making a decision. Of the objectives generated, it is important that the problem structuring method generates quality objectives; objectives that have a significant effect on the decision maker’s decision. This research study focuses on increasing the number of objectives and including quality objectives that a decision maker generates when structuring a decision problem by developing a hybrid method in the form of a worksheet that uses various decision making techniques and tools such as value focused thinking, cognitive mapping, motivation, and multiple chances. The development of this hybrid method for problem structuring was based on a nine-question worksheet administered to undergraduate engineering students for generating objectives on the decision of choosing a college major. Analysis of this application will be used to determine the significance of each decision making technique, each question, worksheet format, and demographic characteristics on the number of objectives generated by the student participants. Results from 84 students who completed the worksheet indicate the question using motivation technique was the most significant in generating quality objectives. Additionally, one value focused thinking and one cognitive mapping worksheet question generated significantly more quality objectives than the remaining questions. Results also indicate that the most objectives were generated by the first few questions. These results indicate a hybrid method with fewer than nine questions can lead to the generation of a significant number of objectives. The developed hybrid method makes use of three worksheet questions based on the result that the most objectives were generated in the first questions and the three questions chosen generated significantly more quality objectives than the other questions. Analysis shows that the developed hybrid method with three worksheet questions can generate approximately the same number of objectives and quality objectives as the initial worksheet with nine questions.