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The design of organisational intervention: Choosing the approach


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  • Ormerod, R. J.
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    At some point in an intervention, the operational research consultant has to choose how to approach the issue in hand. The need for an explicit approach depends on who will be involved and the nature of the relationship between consultant and client. Increasingly, as the organisational distance between the two parties increases, the approach taken has to be declared formally and at an early stage. The approach chosen may be a general approach for consultancy assignments, it may be a specific, named approach taken from the literature, or it may be designed specifically for that particular intervention. The choice of methods will depend on the organisational context, the degree of participation envisaged, the consultant's skills and on the nature of the outcome required. The paper draws on theory to articulate these choices. A personal experiment is described in which critical systems heuristics, soft systems methodology, and the strategic choice approach are used to structure the process of designing an intervention. As a result two concepts are introduced, (i) personal intervention competence and (ii) intervention transformation requirement and context. These concepts are used to suggest a general method mixing approach referred to as the transformation competence model.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Omega.

    Volume (Year): 25 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 415-435

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:25:y:1997:i:4:p:415-435

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    Keywords: methodology consultancy competence;


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    1. Ulrich, Werner, 1987. "Critical heuristics of social systems design," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 276-283, September.
    2. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
    3. Williamson, Oliver E., 1992. "Markets, hierarchies, and the modern corporation: An unfolding perspective," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 335-352, May.
    4. Ormerod, R. J., 1996. "Combining management consultancy and research," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-12, February.
    5. Corbett, Charles J. & Overmeer, Willem J. A. M. & Van Wassenhove, Luk N., 1995. "Strands of practice in OR (the practitioner's dilemma)," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 87(3), pages 484-499, December.
    6. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. Ormerod, Richard, 1999. "Putting soft OR methods to work: The case of the business improvement project at PowerGen," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 1-29, October.
    2. Sorensen, Lene & Vidal, Rene Victor Valqui & Engstrom, Erik, 2004. "Using soft OR in a small company--The case of Kirby," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 152(3), pages 555-570, February.
    3. Ormerod, R.J., 2014. "Critical rationalism in practice: Strategies to manage subjectivity in OR investigations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 235(3), pages 784-797.
    4. Ormerod, Richard J. & Ulrich, Werner, 2013. "Operational research and ethics: A literature review," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 228(2), pages 291-307.
    5. Keys, Paul, 2000. "Creativity, design and style in MS/OR," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 303-312, June.


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