IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The theory of constraints: a methodology apart?--a comparison with selected OR/MS methodologies


  • Davies, J.
  • Mabin, V.J.
  • Balderstone, S.J.


Mingers (J. Oper. Res. Soc. 54 (2003) 559; Int. Trans. Oper. Res. 7 (2000) 673; J. Mingers, A. Gill (Eds.), Multimethodology: Towards the Theory and Practice of Combining Management Science Methodologies, Wiley, Chichester, 1997), Mingers and Brocklesby (Omega--Int. J. Manage. Sci. 25(5) (1997) 489; Systemist 18(3) (1996) 101) and others have sought to develop classificatory frameworks that would be useful in understanding the nature and characteristics of Operational Research/Management Science (OR/MS) methodologies and the philosophical assumptions underpinning them. This paper extends their work to the domain of methods and methodologies known as the Theory of Constraints (TOC). In particular, the paper helps position TOC methods and tools in relation to traditional OR/MS methodologies, methods and tools, and provides a basis for continuing multi-methodological development across the two domains. The paper concludes that the tools, techniques and methods of TOC can be viewed as a methodological set of complementary hard and soft tools and methods that contribute to all phases of activity and across all three social, personal and material dimensions of the Mingers-Brocklesby framework, and share the ontological and epistemological characteristics and assumptions of extant OR/MS methodologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Davies, J. & Mabin, V.J. & Balderstone, S.J., 2005. "The theory of constraints: a methodology apart?--a comparison with selected OR/MS methodologies," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 506-524, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:33:y:2005:i:6:p:506-524

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ovidiu Vlad, Marcel & Mackey, Michael C., 1995. "Maximum information entropy approach to non-markovian random jump processes with long memory: application to surprisal analysis in molecular dynamics," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 215(3), pages 339-360.
    2. John Brocklesby, 1993. "Methodological Complementarism or Separate Paradigm Development—Examining the Options for Enhanced Operational Research," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 18(2), pages 133-158, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lowalekar, Harshal & Ravi, R. Raghavendra, 2017. "Revolutionizing blood bank inventory management using the TOC thinking process: An Indian case study," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 186(C), pages 89-122.
    2. Sommer, Kim A. & Mabin, Victoria J., 2016. "Insights into the eldercare conundrum through complementary lenses of Boardman's SSM and TOC's Evaporating Cloud," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(1), pages 286-300.
    3. V J Mabin & J Davies & S Kim, 2009. "Rethinking tradeoffs and OR/MS methodology," Journal of the Operational Research Society, Palgrave Macmillan;The OR Society, vol. 60(10), pages 1384-1395, October.
    4. Ana Gabriela Ramírez-Gutiérrez & Pedro Pablo Cardoso-Castro & Ricardo Tejeida-Padilla, 0. "A Methodological Proposal for the Complementarity of the SSM and the VSM for the Analysis of Viability in Organizations," Systemic Practice and Action Research, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-27.
    5. Brocklesby, John, 2009. "Ethics beyond the model: How social dynamics can interfere with ethical practice in operational research/management science," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1073-1082, December.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:33:y:2005:i:6:p:506-524. 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: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.