59.Systems, Man, and Cybernetics by John G. Webster (Editor)

By John G. Webster (Editor)

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One can capitalize on publishers’ insights and knowledge by studying articles for issues and concerns. For example, is cost or performance more important? Is risk assessment, or equivalent, mentioned frequently? One should pay particular attention to advertisements, because advertisers invest heavily in trying to understand customers’ needs, worries, and preferences. One can capitalize on advertisers’ investments by studying the underlying messages and appeal in advertisements. It is useful to create a file of articles, advertisements, brochures, catalogs, and so on, that appear to characterize the stakeholders of interest.

There are two classes of problems of interest. The first class is planning too late where, for example, failure to plan for assessing acceptance can preclude measurement prior to putting a product into use. The second class of problems is executing too early where, for instance, demonstrations are executed prior to resolving test and verification issues and potentially lead to negative initial impressions of a product or system. Naturalist Phase The purpose of the naturalist phase is gaining an understanding of stakeholders’ domains and tasks.

MAXIMIZATION OF SUBJECTIVE EXPECTED UTILITY Once preference and uncertainty models have been specified, the model is solved for the optimal policy, which is the policy that maximizes the expected value of the utility function, where the expectation is taken over the uncertain contingencies. The principle of maximizing subjective expected utility can be derived mathematically from various systems of axioms reflecting principles of rational choice under uncertainty. Axiomatic justifications of expected utility maximization are compelling because of the guarantee that a decision theoretically sound model is internally consistent and the chosen policy is optimal given the modeling assumptions.

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