Modelling multicriteria value interactions with Reasoning Maps

Idiographic causal maps are extensively employed in Operational Research to support problem structuring and complex decision making processes. They model means-end or causal discourses as a network of concepts connected by links denoting influence, thus enabling the representation of chains of arguments made by decision-makers. There have been proposals to employ such structures to support the structuring of multicriteria evaluation models, within an additive value measurement framework. However, a drawback of this multi-methodological modelling is the loss of richness of interactions along the means-end chains when evaluating options. This has led to the development of methods that make use of the structure of the map itself to evaluate options, such as the Reasoning Maps method, which employs ordinal scales and ordinal operators for such evaluation. However, despite their potential, Reasoning Maps cannot model explicitly value interactions nor perform a quantitative ranking of options, limiting their applicability and usefulness. In this article we propose extending the Reasoning Maps approach through a multilinear evaluation model structure, built with the MACBETH multicriteria method. The model explicitly captures the value interactions between concepts along the map and employs the MACBETH protocol of questioning to assess the strength of influence for each means-end link. The feasibility of the proposed approach to evaluate options and to deal with multicriteria interactions is tested in a real-world application to support the construction of a population health index.