W.7-David King – Planning a trip with two forks in the road – Mentored by CN


Problem Recognition, Definition, and Evaluation

In the near future my sister is getting married. As a result of her getting married I was planning on spending additional time after the wedding with the family since I am rarely at home. A big part of my motivation was to spend additional time with my grandfather in my hometown. However, my grandfather has had some medical problems and won’t be attending the wedding or coming to my hometown. As staying in Las Vegas can be expensive, would be it better to go home early, go to NY to visit him and leave on the original ticket, or stay in Las Vegas the whole time?

Development of the feasible alternatives

  1. Go home early.
  2. Make an extra trip to New York to spend a week with my grandfather.
  3. Stay the entire trip in Las Vegas.

Develop Cash flows for each outcome

  1. If I was to go home early, I would shorten the trip by 1 week. I would have to pay $300 for changes to my reservation to the airline. However, I would save an additional $750 a day between hotel, rental car, and incidentals which leads to an estimated $400 in savings.
  2. To make the trip to New York, it would cost an estimated additional $1000 round trip. I wouldn’t incur any incidental fees, pay for a hotel, or need a rental car. This option would be $250 more expensive than staying in Las Vegas for the entire week.
  3. The cost of staying the entire trip in Las Vegas would equal $750 for the additional week.

Selection of the criterion


Attribute Rank Alternative Rank
Cost 2 Alternative 1 > Alternative 2 > Alternative 3
Time with Grandfather 1 Alternative 2 > Alternative 1 = 3
Time spent travelling 3 Alternative 1 = 3 > Alternative 2


Analysis and comparison of the alternatives

As my grandfather isn’t feeling well it is important to me that I see him and spend time with him. Cost ranks high for me as I have practically no cash coming in and the trip is costly. Time spent travelling to me is irrelevant, but I know my wife can’t handle the flying as I can. However I know she ranks cost and time with my grandfather over the time spent travelling.



Selection of the preferred alternative

If I assigned points based on the outcome for each attribute with 3 points for winning the rank, 2 for second place, and 1 for last place this is how the score would come out.

Alternative 1: 7 points

Alternative 2: 6 points

Alternative 3: 5 points

Based on this method alternative 1, returning from the trip early is the preferred alternative.

Performance monitoring and post evaluation results

Based on the fact that lexicography was used to determine the winning alternative which gave higher preference to the higher scoring of the lower ranked attributes. If any other method of multi-attribute decision making was used, it is very likely that the alternative 2 would have been the preferred alternative.

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2 Responses to W.7-David King – Planning a trip with two forks in the road – Mentored by CN

  1. DrPDG says:

    David, while I am really happy to see you using multi-attribute decision making, I am NOT happy to see you using ONLY one method.

    IF you are going to use the non compensatory approaches, then I expect to see you using all four methods- Dominance, Satisficing, Disjunctive Reasoning and Lexicography.

    But what I am really expecting to see from you is not the use of these simplistic models, but the more challenging Compensatory Models- Non Dimensional Scaling or the Additive Weighting Technique.

    Bottom line on this David, instead of doing the bare minimum to get by and risk being rejected each week, why not try to impress the hell out of me and your colleagues? How do you do this? By showing that you are willing to challenge yourself by mastering new and more difficult skills….

    (Like you did with the S curve!!!! Very impressive work!!!)

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta

  2. DrPDG says:

    PS: This posting is rejected, subject to a redo using either all four of the Non-Compensatory models OR both of the Compensatory Models.

    As an alternate, I am willing to accept a Benefit Cost Analysis (See Chapter 10) which would also be an appropriate tool/technique for this problem.

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