The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is a theory of measurement. When applied in decision‐making, it assists one to describe the general decision operation by decomposing a complex problem into a multi‐level hierarchic structure of objectives, criteria, subcriteria and alternatives. The AHP provides a fundamental scale of absolute magnitudes to represent judgments in the form of paired comparisons. A ratio scale of relative magnitudes expressed in priority units is then derived from each set of comparisons. An overall ratio scale of priorities is synthesized to obtain ranking of the alternatives. What is illustrated here is an application of the AHP to a retributive ongoing conflict in which the parties maximize both their benefits from and costs to the opponent. Using the AHP, benefit and cost hierarchies are constructed for the parties, four for each, involving actual and perceived benefits and costs of concessions. Similarly, a mediator must construct his own hierarchies to evaluate and propose changes in judgments and new concessions to improve an impasse in negotiation.
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