On the usefulness of soft OR models in decision making: A comparison of Problem Structuring Methods supported and self-organized workshops

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Applications of Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs) are extensively reported in the literature; however, their evaluation remains challenging. Moreover, scholars’ disagreement on how to evaluate and compare PSMs constrains research that seeks to show whether certain PSMs are more useful than others within particular contexts and ‘better than doing nothing’. Drawing on scholars’ suggestion to evaluate PSMs through a link between action, outcomes and context, we address this gap by adopting an exploratory, quasi-experimental research design with MSc students to evaluate and compare three workshops supported by the use of (i) Strategic Choice Approach, (ii) Soft Systems Methodology and (iii) a non-PSM supported approach, and report on the findings of a quantitative and qualitative analysis. We explore the usefulness of PSMs for achieving outcomes that can support decision making. Our findings show variation in the usefulness of the three approaches and the different workshop outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Volume275
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1020-1036
Number of pages17
ISSN0377-2217
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Cite this

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title = "On the usefulness of soft OR models in decision making: A comparison of Problem Structuring Methods supported and self-organized workshops",
abstract = "Applications of Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs) are extensively reported in the literature; however, their evaluation remains challenging. Moreover, scholars’ disagreement on how to evaluate and compare PSMs constrains research that seeks to show whether certain PSMs are more useful than others within particular contexts and ‘better than doing nothing’. Drawing on scholars’ suggestion to evaluate PSMs through a link between action, outcomes and context, we address this gap by adopting an exploratory, quasi-experimental research design with MSc students to evaluate and compare three workshops supported by the use of (i) Strategic Choice Approach, (ii) Soft Systems Methodology and (iii) a non-PSM supported approach, and report on the findings of a quantitative and qualitative analysis. We explore the usefulness of PSMs for achieving outcomes that can support decision making. Our findings show variation in the usefulness of the three approaches and the different workshop outcomes.",
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On the usefulness of soft OR models in decision making : A comparison of Problem Structuring Methods supported and self-organized workshops. / Tavella, Elena.

In: European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 275, No. 3, 06.2019, p. 1020-1036.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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