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What is Messy Problem

Encyclopedia of Decision Making and Decision Support Technologies
A messy problem is a problem that is characterized by the absence of a correct solution. Messy problems are typically complex problems requiring significant judgment and involving multiple stakeholders who have conflicting goals.
Published in Chapter:
Decision Support and Problem Formulation Activity
David Paradice (Florida State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-843-7.ch022
While decision choices are certainly important and warrant appropriate attention, early stages of the decisionmaking process may be even more critical in terms of needing adequate support. The alternatives from which a decision maker may be able to choose are integrally tied to the assumptions made about the problem situation. Consequently, decision support systems (DSSs) may be more effective in helping decision makers to make good choices when support for problem formulation is provided. Research validates the notion that support for problem formulation and structuring leads to better decisions. This article explores this concept and looks at opportunities in emerging software trends to continue development of problem formulation support in DSS-type settings.
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