Using Values in Operations Research

Journal Article

Values pervade the field of operations research. Expressed as objectives, goals, criteria, performance measures, and/or objective functions, they are necessary in theoretical operations research models and in applications. Because of their critical role, it is useful to develop these expressions of values from basic principles. This paper outlines how to identify values for a specific decision problem, how to structure these values to facilitate thinking and analysis, and how to quantify values. Since values provide the basis for interest in a problem, these same values should guide all of our effort on that problem. Two important uses of values are to create better alternatives for decision problems and to define decision problems that are more appealing than those that confront us. On another level, the operations researcher's values are crucial in selecting the research and applications that he or she pursues. I illustrate this with a brief summary of a few projects concerning both life-threatening risks and the storage of nuclear waste. The presentation concludes with a challenge to operations researchers to consider devoting some effort and talent to what I think of as the mega-risks facing our country.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Keeney, RL

Published Date

  • October 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 42 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 793 - 813

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-5463

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0030-364X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1287/opre.42.5.793


  • en