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Using decision analysis to explore cable television delivery: A case study in university technology adoption

Keith Willoughby (Department of Finance and Management Science, Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada)
Christopher Zappe (Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA)

Journal of Modelling in Management

ISSN: 1746-5664

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the efficacy of decision analysis in determining the most efficient strategy for installing cable television in the residence halls of Bucknell University.


The decision analysis model compared five distinct approaches for achieving and maintaining a successful delivery of cable television service to students enrolled in this private, residential institution. For each alternative, the model incorporated installation costs, likelihood of installation failure, installation failure costs, likelihood of obsolescence and obsolescence-related costs. In addition to considering the trade-offs between cost, timing and riskiness of the various alternatives, a thorough set of sensitivity analyses was performed to gain insight into the parameters that most strongly influence this decision-making process.


The quantitative model advocated the adoption of the university’s data network as the mode for cable delivery. Sensitivity analysis further supported this notion.

Practical implications

The analysis of this problem incorporated the knowledge and judgments of senior administrators and staff members, thus demonstrating the critical contributions offered by subject-matter experts in advising, informing and launching successful decision analysis projects. Incorporating stakeholder viewpoints enhances model understanding and, eventually, model implementation. Decision analysis represents a powerful approach in communicating uncertainties and advising on the benefits of particular alternatives.


To the best of the researchers’ knowledge, this paper represents an initial attempt to investigate cable delivery options within a decision analysis framework.



Willoughby, K. and Zappe, C. (2017), "Using decision analysis to explore cable television delivery: A case study in university technology adoption", Journal of Modelling in Management, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 291-302.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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