Matching a Publishing Model to Board Values: A Decision Analysis for the American Society of Missiology

2006

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

9-5-2014

Executive Summary

Statement of the Problem

Faced with declining revenue, increasing print costs, and an increasingly electronic world, The American Society of Missiology (ASM) has to make a decision and can choose between three alternatives: 1) Continue to publish its quarterly journal, Missiology: An International Review, using its current print-only model and contracting out on-line availability to the American Theological Library Association (ATLA); 2) Accept the offer of a commercial firm in the United Kingdom to manage, publish, and distribute Missiology in return for immediate on-line availability, increased exposure through marketing, and a guaranteed modest income for the Society; or 3) Invest in the Society’s capacity to offer Missiology’s content on-line on their own website.

Research Question

Based on the values of the Society’s Board of Publications, the economic realities of the Society, and the financial offer on the table from a commercial publisher, which publishing model is the best choice for the American Society of Missiology?

Methodology

The tool used for this decision analysis is the Multi-Attribute Utility Model (MAU). The MAU model involves the following steps: 1) Determine the attributes and objectives that are important to the decision; 2) Create a scale of possible utility levels for each attribute; 3) Assess the value of each attribute and assign a corresponding utility score; 4) Estimate weights to apply to each utility score; 5) Calculate utility for each alternative using the additive model: U = Si Wi U(Aij); 6) Make a recommendation based on the highest utility score. In addition, I conducted a scenario analysis of the publishing models using existing and averaged figures.

Findings

The average individual MAU score was 10.48 points higher for Alternative Two (commercial model), with a median of 6.5 and a range of 34. One individual was indifferent with the same score for both models, and one individual score was .31 points higher for the ASM model. The results from the MAU Model for the Board as a whole strongly favored Alternative Two (Commercial publisher) with 75.52 points, 9.06 points higher than the score for the ASM model. The scenario analysis revealed more revenue stability in the commercial model but the potential for greater profits with the ASM model if the Society can hold expenses to 10% annually.

Recommendation

Given the stated values of the Board of Publications and the shrinking revenue base, I recommend the American Society of Missiology partner with a commercial publisher in order to offer immediate on-line access and broad dissemination of Missiology: An International Review.

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