The analytic hierarchy process: an effective tool for a strategic decision of a multidisciplinary research centre

J.M. Hummel, S.W.F. Omta, W. van Rossum, G.J. Verkerke, G. Rakhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The external orientation of academic research centers has a high impact on their internal organization. A multidisciplinary research center of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands is concerned with a strategic, organizational decision impelled by a shift in its external orientation. This decision implies a choice for either an organizational structure based on disciplines or an organizational structure based on the fields of application of research. Due to diverging opinions concerning the desirability of each alternative, a multicriteria decisionmaking approach has been applied. Saaty’s Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) has been used to facilitate joint decisionmaking processes by evoking consistent logical foundations and consensus formations. Strategic management has used a forward AHP model to determine the future research activities of this center based on its external orientation. Subsequently, two comparable decisionmaking groups have used a backward AHP model to choose the most appropriate organizational structure, based on criteria for scientific research. Feedback procedures have reduced disagreements and have led to a clear decision for a structure based on application fields of research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-63
Number of pages23
JournalKnowledge, technology and policy
Volume11
Issue number1/2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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