Operational Research and Systems Thinking
The focus of the discussion in this chapter is the concept of hard systems thinking and the nature and applicability of some of those methodologies which it generates. Hard systems thinking is one of two paradigms which Checkland (1983) argues are possible within the systems movement. The other, soft systems thinking, will be referred to here briefly in order to highlight the distinctions between them. The purpose of the discussion is twofold: first, to establish OR as a methodology grounded in hard systems thinking and to identify some other such methodologies and, second, to establish the limitations on the effective use of such methodologies, which arise from the fundamental assumptions of hard systems thinking. The starting point for this analysis is to consider what hard systems thinking involves.
KeywordsOperational Research System Engineering System Thinking System Idea Hard System
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