We set out to develop a method and research technique that could unite both modelling and case-based observations in order to analyse collective decision-making processes. Following Abbott’s (2001) recommendation regarding social processes, we have defined collective decision-making as an uninterrupted and non-directional process that is structured in sequences or lineages of events. To structure these processes, we re-modelled the basic components of Kauffman’s (1993) NK-model. We converted N to ‘problem and solution definitions’ (PSDs) and K to ‘connectedness’ between actors (c_score). An important modification is that we consider NK to be a dependent configuration; i.e., K entails both content and process. Fitness is defined as the probability of an actor achieving (elements of) its PSD as a result of its adaptive moves in relation to the adaptive moves of others. The model is put to the test in four different studies: (1) 20 years of decision-making in planning, building and servicing HSL-Zuid high-speed railways in the Netherlands; (2) the strategic search process of villages and cantons in the Gotthard region of Switzerland; (3) the redevelopment of a football stadium and the surrounding area in south Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and (4) the rise and fall of the Airport RailLink in Bangkok, Thailand. From these studies, we derived six archetypes in collection decision-making, subdivided into actor archetypes and interaction archetypes. For the actor archetypes, behavioural consistency is not just a trait for the actor but also affects the space of possibilities and/or behaviours of other actors. The interactions of individual actors combine to produce self-propagating dynamics that drive the further evolution of the collective decision-making process. The fitness field model enables researchers to investigate the various dimensions of the collective decision-making process – ranging from individual strategies and actions to variation, selection and retention of contents, from interactions to fitness gains and losses, and back again.

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S. Gavrilets (Sergey) , G.R. Teisman (Geert)

For copyright reasons there is a partial embargo for this dissertation;
The chapters 1 to 7 are published in the book 'Understanding collective decision-making'

Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Marks, P., & Gerrits, L. (2018, December 13). Semantic and Syntactic Transfer of Fitness Landscape Models to the Analysis of Collective and Public Decision-Making Processes. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/113169