Though DSS covers all the above three phases of the research, it is, in particular, interested in modeling. The “first formal, then verbal” principle is our basic principle in modeling messes in a systems’ framework. DSS claims that when tackling messes, one must first describe the problematic situation as formally or mathematically as possible. It is because by doing so we believe we may
obtain non-trivial and deep insights into the decision behavior, which we cannot expect at all by intuitive discussion or superficial observation.
To develop and construct innovative models, we are particularly interested in taking into account “soft aspects” of the decision situation like subjectivity, irrationality, credibility, and misunderstanding. Typical examples of research in this line include the mathematical formulation of Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety, Hypergame analysis of the Gulf war in early 1990s and the drama theory of negotiation. However, of course, it is clear that there are strict limitations on the capability of formal models in dealing with complexity. For example, it may be rather difficult to investigate interactions among more than three decision makers so rigorously as to produce meaningful findings.
Our basic attitude is that we should use formal modeling as far as possible, but if it is impossible, then why not employ a simulation approach. Agent-based simulation tools and generalized Landscape Theory are some of our contributions in this category.
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