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Operational research from Taylorism to Terabytes: A research agenda for the analytics age


  • Mortenson, Michael J.
  • Doherty, Neil F.
  • Robinson, Stewart


The growing attention and prominence afforded to analytics presents a genuine challenge for the operational research community. Many in the community have recognised this growth and sought to align themselves with analytics. For instance, the US operational research society INFORMS now offers analytics related conferences, certification and a magazine. However, as shown in this research, the volume of analytics-orientated studies in journals associated with operational research is comparatively low. This paper seeks to address this paradox by seeking to better understand what analytics is, and how operational research is related to it. To do so literature from a range of academic disciplines is analysed, in what is conceived as concurrent histories in the shared tradition of a management paradigm spread over the last 100 years. The findings of this analysis reveal new insights as to how operational research exists within an ecosystem shared with several other disciplines, and how interactions and ripple effects diffuse knowledge and ideas between each. Whilst this ecosystem is developed and evolved through interdisciplinary collaborations, individual disciplines are cast into competition for the attention of the same business users. These findings are further explored by discussing the implication this has for operational research, as well as considering what directions future research may take to maximise the potential value of these relationships.

Suggested Citation

  • Mortenson, Michael J. & Doherty, Neil F. & Robinson, Stewart, 2015. "Operational research from Taylorism to Terabytes: A research agenda for the analytics age," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 241(3), pages 583-595.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:241:y:2015:i:3:p:583-595
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2014.08.029

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    References listed on IDEAS

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