Findings of more than 25 Years of Research in Environmental Decision Analysis and Participation

The research group of Prof. Raimo P. Hämäläinen develops new approaches and computer tools to support environmental policy processes. The starting point is systems approach with decision analytic value modelling. Over the years the main goal has been to find new ways to improve communication, learning and joint problem solving in participatory policy processes and to move from conflict management to sustainable collaboration.

Today we emphasize the systems intelligent participation process which integrates our findings and innovations over the years. The development of our research and some basic findings are listed below:

  1. In environmental policy, decision analytic structuring and prioritization help to create an overall picture and a shared common terminology to allow fruitful collaboration and discussions. This approach is well received by stakeholders and policy makers. Facts and values can be separated and dealt with in an integrative decision analysis setting. The approaches can range from interactive decision analysis interviews to decision conferences and facilitated workshops. See references.

  2. Different decision analytic methods for attribute weighting can be used successfully. There are risks of procedural and behavioural biases which can be overcome. See references.

  3. In working with stakeholder interests, our preference programming approach with interval modeling integrates all the participants' priorities into a common model and helps to start a collaborative process. Such an approach lowers the risk of anchoring onto individual goals with a potential of growing into a conflict. See references.

  4. Computer and web support is very important and makes e-participation possible but is not enough without a focus on the participation process. See references.

  5. Participation methods and processes can become creative and collaborative by systems intelligence and thus produce sustainable decisions. In a systems intelligent approach the participation process is seen as a system where one understands that the ways and timings of communication and interaction have an effect on the process and on the framing of the issue by different stakeholders. See references.

Environmental decision making and participation at SAL