Research Article: Evaluating mobile services using integrated weighting approach and fuzzy VIKOR

Date Published: June 4, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Yongyoon Suh, Yongtae Park, Daekook Kang, Baogui Xin.


Mobile services’ rapid evolution and development has meant that their evaluation has become a more and more pressing issue, and from both the practical and theoretical standpoints. The significant previous work in the field of multiple-criteria decision-making based evaluation of mobile services has some practical limitations that should be noted. First, there has been insufficient research that has utilized both objective and subjective weighting. Second, the investigations that have employed Vise Kriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje (VIKOR), a well known practical tool for use in multi-criteria decision making, did not consider the fuzzy environment. In order to fill these gaps in the literature, the present study developed fuzzy VIKOR for use with an integrated weighting approach that combines subjective and objective weighting to account for mobile services’ various characteristics and, thereby, evaluate their quality. For subjective weighting, Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) was employed for simple determination of the weighting and causal relationships. For objective weighting of evaluation criteria, Shannon entropy was utilized. This study has a unique contribution in that it reflects the special circumstances of the mobile service evaluation that have not been considered in the previous studies. Especially, in this study, not only the subjective weighting method but also the objective weighting method are used for more accurate importance weight of evaluation criteria. In the novelty aspect, this is the first study trying to utilize fuzzy VIKOR in concert with a novel combined subjective/objective weighting method in order to integrate objective decision-matrix-derived information with subjective decision-maker preferences. Additionally, a supplemental, empirical mobile-service-evaluation case study was conducted that enables researchers and practitioners to better understand the overall, practical evaluation process. Validation of the case study results by comparison with other, representative multiple-criteria decision-making methods verified the proposed method’s robustness.

Partial Text

Advances in wireless communication technology have increased the use of mobile devices and also accelerated the development of mobile services [1]. Especially, mobile service business has entered a new era with the advent of mobile devices with new features and the evolution of the mobile app ecosystem since the Apple App Store launched on July 10, 2008. [2, 3]. Besides, the range and scope of mobile services has dramatically expanded from traditional service such as SMS and e-mail to wide range of businesses and services such as streaming video, navigation, social networking, and location-based services. Under this circumstance, companies have strived for competitive edges in the mobile service marketplace [2]. The surprisingly rapid emergence and of this new service paradigm based on information and communication technology has raised core issues related with the customer’s continued satisfaction with mobile services [4]. Thus, evaluation of customer satisfaction in mobile service has become greatly important [5]. Mobile service evaluation is a very high priority for both service providers and customers [6]. For service providers, information on customers’ recognitions of service levels can be very valuable data that can be utilized to improve their service quality. For customers meanwhile, it is helpful to be able to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each mobile service, each offering similar and comparable functionalities, before making any purchase decision. Academic research involving mobile service evaluation, however, is scarce. Hence, the issue of mobile service evaluation has become more significant.

This study presents a new MCDM approach by developing fuzzy VIKOR based on both subjective and objective weights for evaluation of mobile service quality. We combined the techniques of integrated weighting approach and fuzzy VIKOR, which together entail three main, consecutive phases. In the defining the problem situation phase, the problem situation is defined. In detail, mobile services are selected as evaluation alternatives, and the evaluation criteria are identified. In the calculating importance weights phase, importance weights of criteria are calculated using subjective and objective method. In particular, we use DEMATEL as a subjective weighting method to capture the influence level of each criterion on the other criteria, then an influence relation map (IRM) is derived by mapping the dataset. Lastly, the importance weights of the criteria are obtained. As an objective weight method, Shannon entropy, which is well known as an objective approach for identifying the weights of evaluation criteria, is utilized. Based on these two weight methods, integrated weights of criteria are derived in this stage. In the evaluating mobile services stage, the ratings of several mobile service alternatives are calculated for each criterion using the fuzzy VIKOR equations. Finally, sensitivity analysis and validation test with other MCDM methods were performed to verify the robustness of the proposed approach and the reliability of the results.