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Title: Supporting the configuration of decision-making systems for complex, long-life engineered systems
Author: Hubbard, Ella-Mae
ISNI:       0000 0004 2685 0708
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2009
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Decision-making plays a large part in everyday organisational activities. Decisions are rarely made in isolation and it is important to gain a wider view of decision-making systems (decision-making agents, decision-making activities) infrastructure and technology to facilitate decision-making and the knowledge and information essential to making decisions. The key to this Ph.D. research 1s to develop an understanding of the involvement of decision-making and decision-making systems with organisations and, further, to develop a tool (ToADS - Tool for the Assessment of Decision-making Systems) to aid organisations equip themselves to make the best possible decisions, considering the mutual affects between decision-making systems and a number of other factors (for example, internal variables such as lifecycle position, external variables from outside the organisation, organisational culture of the organisation and the level of decision-making). One significant challenge faced by organisations, in particular engineering organisations, is the product-service shift, whereby organisations have moved from delivering a product to the provision of through-life service support. The research aims to investigate the involvement of decision-making within organisations, the impact of the product-service shift on this decision-making and if it is possible to better support the configuration of decision-making systems in dynamically changing situations and organisations. Different industries are experiencing different stages of the product service transition - it may be that there are lessons to be learned across sector boundaries. The thesis begins by introducing the problem to be addressed and research context. This research has taken place as part of an EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) funded project (the Knowledge and Information Management through life grand challenge), which provides background and context for the work. Relevant literature is addressed to determine the current state of research in corresponding areas. The majority of the work presented looks at the development of the prototype of the proposed solution system (ToADS). This was initially scoped through a series of exploratory analysis and pilot studies, followed by two, in-depth, industry based case studies in a multi-national aerospace organisation. An explanation of how these studies shaped and refined the proposed solution is provided, along with a suggested process of use for the tool. The tool and process for use were tested through several validation exercises. Various discussions are presented, considering the strengths and limitations of the components parts of the tool, the tool itself and the process followed for the research. The thesis concludes with an assessment of initial objectives, a summary of the work completed and an outline of potential follow on or future work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mechanical Engineering not elsewhere classified