Designing a safety management support system using open architecture databases: the requirements of information representation in the support of managers' risk-related decision-making
This research was conducted at the Space Research and Technology Centre o the European Space Agency at Noordvijk in the Netherlands. ESA is an international organisation that brings together a range of scientists, engineers and managers from 14 European member states. The motivation for the work was to enable decision-makers, in a culturally and technologically diverse organisation, to share information for the purpose of making decisions that are well informed about the risk-related aspects of the situations they seek to address. The research examined the use of decision support system DSS) technology to facilitate decision-making of this type. This involved identifying the technology available and its application to risk management. Decision-making is a complex activity that does not lend itself to exact measurement or precise understanding at a detailed level. In view of this, a prototype DSS was developed through which to understand the practical issues to be accommodated and to evaluate alternative approaches to supporting decision-making of this type. The problem of measuring the effect upon the quality of decisions has been approached through expert evaluation of the software developed. The practical orientation of this work was informed by a review of the relevant literature in decision-making, risk management, decision support and information technology. Communication and information technology unite the major the,es of this work. This allows correlation of the interests of the research with European public policy. The principles of communication were also considered in the topic of information visualisation - this emerging technology exploits flexible modes of human computer interaction (HCI) to improve the cognition of complex data. Risk management is itself an area characterised by complexity and risk visualisation is advocated for application in this field of endeavour. The thesis provides recommendations for future work in the fields of decision=making, DSS technology and risk management.