What is Lexicographic Order

Lexicographical order

The lexicographical order describes a planning and decision-making technique in which individual goals or decision alternatives are weighted according to their ranking. In this way, quick and inexpensive solutions can be found in different decision models.

In this chapter you will learn what the meaning of the lexicographical order is and what exactly is meant by it. With the help of the following exercises you can check how well your knowledge is already consolidated in this area.

What is the meaning of the lexicographical order?

The lexicographical order is used in particular at Decisions under security applied. If all parameters are known, it is easy to rank them according to their weighting.

What is the lexicographical order?

The lexicographical order is one possible method to bring about the fastest and most cost-effective solution possible in decision-making situations. The individual goals that are to be achieved with the decision are first given a weighting.

It is then assessed which alternative course of action achieves which goal and to what extent. The alternative courses of action are then examined according to the degree to which the most important objective has been achieved. If it becomes apparent that two or more alternative courses of action are indifferent, i.e. achieve a goal equally well, the next most important goal is considered.

Mr. Müller would like to buy a new car. He has chosen three models that are suitable for him.

In order to find the best car for himself, he compares the vehicles based on the three most important criteria for him:

  • Space available
  • Gasoline consumption
  • Comfort

The fuel consumption is the most important thing for Mr. Müller. Since he has a large family, he also needs a lot of space. He puts comfort behind the other properties.

In order to compare the individual vehicle models with one another, Mr. Müller assigns points from 1 to 10 for the individual properties, with 10 being the best value:

As the decision criterion "Gasoline Consumption" is most important to Mr. Miller, this will be considered first:

It is noticeable that model 1 and model 2 offer the same amount of space. If that is the case, i.e. the alternatives are indifferent, the next most important aspect is considered.

In Mr. Müller's case, the space available:

Since Model 3 already lost out to the other two alternatives when comparing gasoline consumption, it does not need to be considered any further. In the comparison of model 1 and model 2, one can see that model 2 offers more space than model 1. Mr. Müller finally decides on model 2.

Practice questions