All entries for Saturday 09 March 2013

March 09, 2013

Paired Comparison Analysis

Paired comparison analysis is great when you have several options to choose from and you want to rank them in a logical order. However, as it relies on judgement, care must be taken to minimize bias. In particular, I have learnt that you should always check to see that you're following the law of transitivity when giving the ratings to different options. This would help you in making a logical and rational decision. This law indicates that if A is better than B; and B is better than C, then it follows that A is better than C.

I have also learnt that paired comparison works best when you have a reasonable number of choices, i.e. not too few and not too many either.

If you only have a couple of options, then it defies the purpose of drawing up a table and ranking them. Also, if you have too many, then it can be a bit confusing and tricky to arrive at a logical decision. Let me give you an example. If someone would have asked you about your favourite subjects back in school, you would have easily been able to rank your subjects in a set order. This is because you didn't have an unreasonably long list to choose from. The choices were simpler: English, Maths, Science, Art, Computer Science, etc. On the other hand, if I ask you to open a page where all the different courses that Warwick uni offers and rank them all according to your preference, you would find it much more difficult. It would not only take you longer but also you might have more than 1 options ranked equally as good. This can be confusing if you have to derive a conclusion from the analysis.

Making robust decisions

After studying the RDM module, I can't help but look back at some of the major decisions I've made in my life and assess whether they were robust enough. For example, the decision to come study MBE at warwick..was it a robust decision i.e. is MBE going to be beneficial for us no matter which future path we take in our lives?

I believe YES! The fact that we are studying modules such as Leadership and RDM means that we are learning REAL SKILLS and not just some random theories. This point is sometimes worth emphasizing. Businesses occassionally report how they are struggling to make effective decisions, for instance there was a story about how 25% of executives surveyed reported that the management frequently makes the wrong decisions.

(To read more about how bad decision making is in businesses, please visit:

In short, making the wrong decisions can be disastrous for organizations. In that respect, we have an edge over others since now we all have a reasonable idea on selecting and applying appropriate decision-making tools. This knowledge can greatly assist us in making effective and robust decisions.

March 2013

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