The selection of appropriate materials for sustainable development of products is a very intricate process. Sustainable material selection problems with various non commensurable and incompatible decision factors can be efficiently handled using multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) methods. However, these methods suffer from a general and famous problem, namely rank reversal. In this phenomenon the ordering of alternatives inverts when an alternative is added or eliminated from the list of alternatives. In this paper, we reveal that COPRAS (Complex Proportional Assessment), TOPSIS (Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution) and VIKOR (VlseKriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje, Serbian term) as three of the most popular techniques in material selection area may produce rank reversal when an option is removed from or added to a decision process. Moreover, we provide a comparative analysis about the rank reversal problem in the aforementioned MCDM methods. To the best of our knowledge, this work is the first to study rank reversal phenomenon for general material selection problem using more than 100 scientific references. Finally, we suggest a new MCDM-based method for helping decision maker (DM) to select the best sustainable material against the rank reversal pitfall. We exemplify our reasoning with thirteen real-world cases adopted from literature.
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2018
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