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On the importance of behavioral operational research: The case of understanding and communicating about dynamic systems

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  • Hämäläinen, Raimo P.
  • Luoma, Jukka
  • Saarinen, Esa

Abstract

We point out the need for Behavioral Operational Research (BOR) in advancing the practice of OR. So far, in OR behavioral phenomena have been acknowledged only in behavioral decision theory but behavioral issues are always present when supporting human problem solving by modeling. Behavioral effects can relate to the group interaction and communication when facilitating with OR models as well as to the possibility of procedural mistakes and cognitive biases. As an illustrative example we use well known system dynamics studies related to the understanding of accumulation. We show that one gets completely opposite results depending on the way the phenomenon is described and how the questions are phrased and graphs used. The results suggest that OR processes are highly sensitive to various behavioral effects. As a result, we need to pay attention to the way we communicate about models as they are being increasingly used in addressing important problems like climate change.

Suggested Citation

  • Hämäläinen, Raimo P. & Luoma, Jukka & Saarinen, Esa, 2013. "On the importance of behavioral operational research: The case of understanding and communicating about dynamic systems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 228(3), pages 623-634.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:228:y:2013:i:3:p:623-634
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2013.02.001
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