Scenario planning in the analytic hierarchy process

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Multicriteria decision analysis and scenario planning are complementary tools for supporting large‐scale, strategic decision making, but there has been limited interaction between the fields. This paper describes how scenario planning can be integrated with the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), one of the most popular approaches in decision analysis and one that is arguably more accessible for new users. Scenario planners looking for an avenue into multi‐criteria decision analysis may find the AHP a useful introduction, and AHP practitioners may find in scenario planning a tool with which to address problems with large, structural or “deep” uncertainties. A common understanding of scenarios as plausible futures, rather than states of nature, is emphasized, as is how scenarios can be viewed as a kind of “meta‐attribute” over which possible courses of action can be compared. A simulation experiment assesses the potential effects of ignoring scenario‐specific information, as well as of different ways of constructing scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16
Number of pages12
JournalFutures & Foresight Science
VolumeEarly View
Early online date2 Apr 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2019


  • Analytic hierarchy process
  • Decision analysis
  • Multicriteria games
  • Scenario Planning


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