Decisional Conflict and User Acceptance of Multicriteria Decision‐Making Aids

Jeffrey E. Kottemann, Fred D. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Despite the development of increasingly sophisticated and refined multicriteria decision‐making (MCDM) methods, an examination of the experimental evidence indicates that users most often prefer relatively unsophisticated methods. In this paper, we synthesize theories and empirical findings from the psychology of judgment and choice to provide a new theoretical explanation for such user preferences. Our argument centers on the assertion that the MCDM method preferred by decision makers is a function of the degree to which the method tends to introduce decisional conflict. The model we develop relates response mode, decision strategy, and the salience of decisional conflict to user preferences among decision aids. We then show that the model is consistent with empirical results in MCDM studies. Next, the role of decisional conflict in problem formulation aids is briefly discussed. Finally, we outline future research needed to thoroughly test the theoretical mechanisms we have proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-926
Number of pages9
JournalDecision Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1991


  • Decision Analysis
  • Decision Processes
  • Decision Support Systems
  • and Human Information Processing


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