A crucial step in group decision making (GDM) processes is the aggregation of individual opinions with the aim of achieving a "fair" representation of each individual within the group. In multi-granular linguistic contexts where linguistic term sets with common domain but different granularity and/or semantic are used, the methodology widely applied until now requires, prior to the aggregation step, the application of a unification process. The reason for this unification process is the lack of appropriate aggregation operators for directly aggregating uncertain information represented by means of fuzzy sets. With the recent development of the Type-1 Ordered Weighted Averaging (T1OWA) operator, which is able to aggregate fuzzy sets, alternative approaches to multi-granular linguistic GDM problems are possible. Unlike consensus models based on unification processes, this paper presents a new T1OWA based consensus methodology that can directly manage linguistic term sets with different cardinality and/or semantic without the need to perform any transformation to unify the information. Furthermore, the linguistic information could be assumed to be balanced or unbalanced in its mathematical representation, and therefore the new T1OWA approach to consensus is more general in its application than previous consensus reaching processes with muti-granular linguistic information. To test the goodness of the new consensus reaching approach, a comparative study between the T1OWA based consensus model and the unification based consensus model is carried out using six randomly generated GDM problems with balanced multi-granular information. When distance between fuzzy sets used in the T1OWA based approach is defined as the corresponding distance between their centroids, a higher final level of consensus is achieved in four out of the six cases although no significant differences were found between both consensus approaches.
- group decision making
- multi-granular linguistic information
- type-1 OWA operator