A review of the recent contribution of systems thinking to operational research and management science
The systems approach, or systems thinking, has been intimately connected with the development of OR and management science initially through the work of founders such as Churchman and Ackoff and latterly through innovations such as soft systems. In this paper we have undertaken a review of the contribution that systems thinking has been making more recently, especially to the practice of OR. Systems thinking is a discipline in its own right, with many theoretical and methodological developments, but it is also applicable to almost any problem area because of its generality, and so such a review must always be selective. We have looked at the literature from both a theoretical and an applications orientation. In the first part we consider the main systems theories and methodologies in terms of their recent developments and also their applications. This covers: the systems approach, complexity theory, cybernetics, system dynamics, soft OR and PSMs, critical systems and multimethodology. In the second part we review the main domains of application: strategy, information systems, organisations, production and operations, ecology and agriculture, and medicine and health. Our overall conclusion is that while systems may not be well established institutionally, in terms of academic departments, it is incredibly healthy in terms of the quantity and variety of its applications.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kolisch, Rainer, 1999. "Resource allocation capabilities of commercial project management software packages," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 7938, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
- Tavares, L. V., 2002. "A review of the contribution of Operational Research to Project Management," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 1-18, January.
- Le Menestrel, Marc & Van Wassenhove, Luk N., 2004.
"Ethics outside, within, or beyond OR models?,"
European Journal of Operational Research,
Elsevier, vol. 153(2), pages 477-484, March.
- Marc Le Menestrel & Luk N. Van Wassenhove, 2002. "Ethics outside, within or beyond OR models," Economics Working Papers 622, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2002.
- Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-131, March.
- C. West Churchman, 1963. "The X of X," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 9(3), pages 351-357, April.
- Jackson, Mike C., 2001. "Critical systems thinking and practice," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 128(2), pages 233-244, January.
- Sunil Chopra & William Lovejoy & Candace Yano, 2004. "Five Decades of Operations Management and the Prospects Ahead," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(1), pages 8-14, January.
- Ison, R. L. & Maiteny, P. T. & Carr, S., 1997. "Systems methodologies for sustainable natural resources research and development," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 257-272, October.
- Lauwers, L. & Van Huylenbroeck, G. & Martens, L., 1998. "A systems approach to analyse the effects of Flemish manure policy on structural changes and cost abatement in pig farming," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 167-183, February.
- Voss, CA, 1984. "Production/operations management--A key discipline and area for research," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 309-319.
- Mingers, John & Rosenhead, Jonathan, 2004. "Problem structuring methods in action," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 152(3), pages 530-554, February.
- Schwartz, Mark S. & Carroll, Archie B., 2003. "Corporate Social Responsibility: A Three-Domain Approach," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(04), pages 503-530, October.
- Ormerod, R. J., 1997. "The design of organisational intervention: Choosing the approach," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 415-435, August.
- Plummer, Ryan & Armitage, Derek, 2007. "A resilience-based framework for evaluating adaptive co-management: Linking ecology, economics and society in a complex world," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 62-74, February.
- Lane, David C. & Oliva, Rogelio, 1998. "The greater whole: Towards a synthesis of system dynamics and soft systems methodology," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 214-235, May.
- Parkhurst, Justin Oliver & Penn-Kekana, Loveday & Blaauw, Duane & Balabanova, Dina & Danishevski, Kirill & Rahman, Syed Azizur & Onama, Virgil & Ssengooba, Freddie, 2005. "Health systems factors influencing maternal health services: a four-country comparison," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 127-138, August.
- Mitroff, Ian I. & Linstone, Harold A., 1993. "The unbounded mind: Breaking the chains of traditional business thinking," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 88-89.
- Wilson, James M., 2003. "Gantt charts: A centenary appreciation," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 149(2), pages 430-437, September.
- Ackoff, R. L., 1993. "Idealized design: Creative corporate visioning," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 401-410, July.
- Shann Turnbull, 2002. "The Science of Corporate Governance," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 261-277, October.
- Wierzbicki, Andrzej P., 2007. "Modelling as a way of organising knowledge," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 176(1), pages 610-635, January.
- Dyson, Robert G., 2004. "Strategic development and SWOT analysis at the University of Warwick," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 152(3), pages 631-640, February.
- Jacobs, F. Robert & Bendoly, Elliot, 2003. "Enterprise resource planning: Developments and directions for operations management research," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 233-240, April.
- Gerald Midgley & Martin Reynolds, 2004. "Systems|operational research and sustainable development: towards a new agenda," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 56-64.
- Midmore, Peter & Whittaker, Julie, 2000. "Economics for sustainable rural systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 173-189, November.
- Mingers, John & Brocklesby, John, 1997. "Multimethodology: Towards a framework for mixing methodologies," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 489-509, October.
- F. Maon & A. Lindgreen & V. Swaen, 2008. "Thinking of the organization as a system: the role of managerial perceptions in developing a corporate social responsibility strategic agenda," Post-Print hal-00787073, HAL.
- Temel, Tugrul, 2005. "A systems approach to malaria control: an institutional perspective," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 161-180, February. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:207:y:2010:i:3:p:1147-1161. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.