First Advisor

Antonie J. Jetter

Date of Publication

Spring 6-9-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Technology Management


Engineering and Technology Management




Technological innovations -- Decision making -- Case studies, Cognitive maps (Psychology), Technology assessment -- Management -- Public opinion -- Case studies, Technology assessment -- Management -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 218 pages)


The objective of the technology assessment (TA) process is to understand problematic and undesirable consequences from the development and application of technology. TA advocates for the engagement of technology experts and stakeholders to understand the effects of technology. However, TA is often criticized that the decision-making process is not transparent - leaving stakeholders wondering if their contributions were heard. Furthermore, the methods have limited capability for conducting tradeoff analysis between the organizational objectives and conflicting stakeholder perspectives that can result in unintended consequences. Finally, these methods are static making it difficult to update and reassess decision alternatives when new information about issues becomes available.

This dissertation research addresses these problems by developing a new technology assessment methodology using Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping (Fuzzy Cognitive TA - FCTA). This novel approach supports both stages of the process: capturing expert and stakeholder perspectives in cognitive maps, and then using FCM for assessment and decision-making. The methodology shows how experts and stakeholders perceive the value or harm of a technology alternative, which stakeholders share the same perspectives, and how these perspectives change over time. The methodology also shows the degree to which expert and stakeholder perspectives are in support or in conflict with the organizational objectives to help avoid the direct and indirect consequences associated with the decision. Finally, the methodology shows how new or changing perspectives by experts and stakeholders affect the outcome of the decision to improve system knowledge.

The research applies the FCTA methodology with a real-world Environmental Impact Study conducted by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). BPA is a U.S. federal agency that provides about a third of the electric power and 75 percent of the high-voltage electric transmission in the Pacific Northwest.


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