IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jomega/v37y2009i6p1073-1082.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Ethics beyond the model: How social dynamics can interfere with ethical practice in operational research/management science

Author

Listed:
  • Brocklesby, John

Abstract

Responding to a call for more attention to be given to ethics within operational research, Marc Le Menestrel and Luk Van Wassenhove have recently outlined a perspective on the relationship between OR models and ethics that squarely ties ethical engagement to daily practice and, more specifically, to the manner in which a practitioner uses a model or other technique in a particular setting. They refer to this approach as "ethics beyond OR models". This paper seeks to extend the debate on this topic by examining some of the difficulties of ethical action when it is defined in these terms. Specifically the paper seeks to show how the social dynamics that circumscribe much professional practice can easily override good intentions on the part of the people concerned. Ethical practice dictates that those involved in OR/MS practice should seriously contemplate their own involvement in the process of knowledge production and be fully aware of the wider ramifications of employing particular modelling techniques and other tools. However, this is not always easy since the complex social dynamics that surround an inquiry can surreptitiously undermine these intentions. In extreme cases, these processes can create an ethical trap that those involved may not be fully recognise until after the event. In exploring such a disjuncture between ethical intentionality and outcomes the paper re-examines and reflects upon a major consulting assignment which was led by the author and subsequently published through a leading journal and text.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:37:y:2009:i:6:p:1073-1082
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305-0483(08)00145-X
    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

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Jane Collier, 2006. "The Art of Moral Imagination: Ethics in the Practice of Architecture," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 66(2), pages 307-317, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Adler, Nicole & Raveh, Adi, 2008. "Presenting DEA graphically," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 715-729, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Midgley, Gerald & Cavana, Robert Y. & Brocklesby, John & Foote, Jeff L. & Wood, David R.R. & Ahuriri-Driscoll, Annabel, 2013. "Towards a new framework for evaluating systemic problem structuring methods," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 229(1), pages 143-154.
    2. Richard Ormerod, 2017. "Writing practitioner case studies to help behavioural OR researchers ground their theories: application of the mangle perspective," Journal of the Operational Research Society, Palgrave Macmillan;The OR Society, vol. 68(5), pages 507-520, May.
    3. Brocklesby, John & Beall, Elizabeth, 2018. "Processes of engagement and methodology design in Community Operational Research – Insights from the indigenous peoples sector," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 268(3), pages 996-1005.
    4. Brocklesby, John & Midgley, Gerald, 2016. "Boundary games: How teams of OR practitioners explore the boundaries of interventionAuthor-Name: Velez-Castiblanco, Jorge," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 249(3), pages 968-982.
    5. Meinard, Y. & Cailloux, O., 2020. "On justifying the norms underlying decision support," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 285(3), pages 1002-1010.
    6. 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.
    7. Ormerod, Richard J. & Ulrich, Werner, 2013. "Operational research and ethics: A literature review," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 228(2), pages 291-307.
    8. Franco, L. Alberto & Greiffenhagen, Christian, 2018. "Making OR practice visible: Using ethnomethodology to analyse facilitated modelling workshops," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 265(2), pages 673-684.
    9. Mingers, John, 2011. "Ethics and OR: Operationalising discourse ethics," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 210(1), pages 114-124, April.
    10. Fry, John & Binner, Jane M., 2016. "Elementary modelling and behavioural analysis for emergency evacuations using social media," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 249(3), pages 1014-1023.

    Corrections

    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:37:y:2009:i:6:p:1073-1082. 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: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/375/description#description .

    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.