Stability analysis of the forward‐backward process: Northern Ireland case study

Joyce M. Alexander
Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
United States
Thomas Saaty
Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
University of Pittsburgh
United States

Publication date: Jan, 1977

Journal: Behavioral Science
Vol.: 22- Issue: 6- Pages: 375-382

Abstract: In this study, the forward and backward processes of planning are applied to conflict resolution in a way similar to that in which the forward process was applied in a previous paper by the authors . By repeated analysis of the policies of the parties to the conflict and possible reactions to these policies, an iterative process is established by which the stability of an outcome may be measured. It is shown that the possible outcomes of a conflict may be characterized by a set of state variables covering political, economic, social and legal factors. The composite outcome, found by use of the method, also may be described by weighting the values of the state variables so that a full description of the most probable and stable outcome is obtained. These techniques are applied to a societal system to provide a further analysis of the conflict in Northern Ireland. It is shown that legislative independence, the outcome obtained in the previous paper, is stable and cannot be upset by any of the parties to the conflict. The use of these techniques provides efficient methods for analyzing conflict and gives valuable insights into the behavior of the parties.

Keywords: Forward process, Backward process, Conflict resolution