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Mixing OR methods in practice: Past, present and future directions


  • Howick, Susan
  • Ackermann, Fran


Although mixing of OR methods is an area of increasing interest to the OR community, there has been little discussion regarding generic lessons that can be learnt from mixing methods in practice. The aim of this paper is to carry out such an analysis through considering generic lessons that may be associated with mixing methods, regardless of the methods chosen. To identify these lessons, published case studies on how OR methods have been mixed are analysed giving rise to a number of themes revealing the lessons. These themes include; the implications from the use of different facilitators/modellers, how methods have been mixed together, the nature of the modelling interventions, the client value and the rationale given for mixing methods. The paper discusses the lessons learnt in each of these themes and presents opportunities for future work.

Suggested Citation

  • Howick, Susan & Ackermann, Fran, 2011. "Mixing OR methods in practice: Past, present and future directions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 215(3), pages 503-511, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:215:y:2011:i:3:p:503-511

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brown, Joyce & Cooper, Ceri & Pidd, Michael, 2006. "A taxing problem: The complementary use of hard and soft OR in the public sector," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 172(2), pages 666-679, July.
    2. Mingers, John & Brocklesby, John, 1997. "Multimethodology: Towards a framework for mixing methodologies," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 489-509, October.
    3. Ackermann, Fran & Andersen, David F. & Eden, Colin & Richardson, George P., 2011. "ScriptsMap: A tool for designing multi-method policy-making workshops," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 427-434, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Franco, L., 2013. "Rethinking Soft OR interventions: Models as boundary objects," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 231(3), pages 720-733.
    2. Howick, Susan & Ackermann, Fran & Walls, Lesley & Quigley, John & Houghton, Tom, 2017. "Learning from mixed OR method practice: The NINES case study," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 70-81.
    3. Bernroider, Edward W.N. & Schmöllerl, Patrick, 2013. "A technological, organisational, and environmental analysis of decision making methodologies and satisfaction in the context of IT induced business transformations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 224(1), pages 141-153.
    4. Jan Stentoft & Ole Stegman Mikkelsen & Jesper Kronborg Jensen, 2016. "Flexicurity and relocation of manufacturing," Operations Management Research, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 133-144, December.
    5. Pessôa, Leonardo Antonio Monteiro & Lins, Marcos Pereira Estellita & da Silva, Angela Cristina Moreira & Fiszman, Roberto, 2015. "Integrating soft and hard operational research to improve surgical centre management at a university hospital," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 245(3), pages 851-861.
    6. repec:eee:ejores:v:267:y:2018:i:1:p:250-263 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Franco, L. Alberto & Hämäläinen, Raimo P., 2016. "Behavioural operational research: Returning to the roots of the OR profession," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 249(3), pages 791-795.
    8. David Lowe & Louise Martingale & Mike Yearworth, 2016. "Guiding interventions in a multi-organisational context: combining the Viable System Model and Hierarchical Process Modelling for use as a Problem Structuring Method," Journal of the Operational Research Society, Palgrave Macmillan;The OR Society, vol. 67(12), pages 1481-1495, December.
    9. Fernando A. F. Ferreira & Marjan S. Jalali & Paulo Bento & Carla S. E. Marques & João J. M. Ferreira, 2017. "Enhancing individual entrepreneurial orientation measurement using a metacognitive decision making-based framework," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 327-346, June.
    10. Hugo J. Herrera & Marleen H. F. McCardle-Keurentjes & Nuno Videira, 2016. "Evaluating Facilitated Modelling Processes and Outcomes: An Experiment Comparing a Single and a Multimethod Approach in Group Model Building," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 25(6), pages 1277-1318, November.
    11. Tako, Antuela A. & Kotiadis, Kathy, 2015. "PartiSim: A multi-methodology framework to support facilitated simulation modelling in healthcare," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 244(2), pages 555-564.
    12. Ferreira, Fernando A.F. & Marques, Carla S.E. & Bento, Paulo & Ferreira, João J.M. & Jalali, Marjan S., 2015. "Operationalizing and measuring individual entrepreneurial orientation using cognitive mapping and MCDA techniques," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2691-2702.
    13. Kato, Hironori & Shiroyama, Hideaki & Nakagawa, Yoshinori, 2014. "Public policy structuring incorporating reciprocal expectation analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 233(1), pages 171-183.
    14. Henao, Felipe & Franco, L. Alberto, 2016. "Unpacking multimethodology: Impacts of a community development intervention," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 253(3), pages 681-696.
    15. Lane, David C. & Munro, Eileen & Husemann, Elke, 2016. "Blending systems thinking approaches for organisational analysis: Reviewing child protection in England," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 251(2), pages 613-623.
    16. Ackermann, Fran, 2012. "Problem structuring methods ‘in the Dock’: Arguing the case for Soft OR," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 219(3), pages 652-658.
    17. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:68:y:2017:i:9:d:10.1057_s41274-016-0166-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Henao, Felipe & Cherni, Judith A. & Jaramillo, Patricia & Dyner, Isaac, 2012. "A multicriteria approach to sustainable energy supply for the rural poor," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 218(3), pages 801-809.
    19. Espinosa, Angela & Reficco, Ezequiel & Martínez, Andrea & Guzmán, David, 2015. "A methodology for supporting strategy implementation based on the VSM: A case study in a Latin-American multi-national," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 240(1), pages 202-212.
    20. Yearworth, Mike & White, Leroy, 2013. "The uses of qualitative data in multimethodology: Developing causal loop diagrams during the coding process," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 231(1), pages 151-161.
    21. Cronin, Karen & Midgley, Gerald & Jackson, Laurie Skuba, 2014. "Issues Mapping: A problem structuring method for addressing science and technology conflicts," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 233(1), pages 145-158.
    22. Small, Adrian & Wainwright, David, 2014. "SSM and technology management: Developing multimethodology through practice," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 233(3), pages 660-673.
    23. van Antwerpen, Coen & Curtis, Neville J., 2016. "A data collection and presentation methodology for decision support: A case study of hand-held mine detection devices," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 251(1), pages 237-251.
    24. Morgan, Jennifer Sian & Howick, Susan & Belton, Valerie, 2017. "A toolkit of designs for mixing Discrete Event Simulation and System Dynamics," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 257(3), pages 907-918.


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