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Problem structuring without workshops? Experiences with distributed interaction within a PSM process

Morton, A. and Ackermann, F. and Belton, V. (2006) Problem structuring without workshops? Experiences with distributed interaction within a PSM process. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 58 (5). pp. 547-556. ISSN 0160-5682

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Abstract

Problem structuring methods (PSMs) have been widely and successfully used in many organizations, but the reliance on face-to-face meetings and workshops makes a typical PSM project difficult and time-consuming to organize, and means that the process may only involve a narrow cross-section of the organization. Yet much interaction in organizations is neither face-to-face nor even synchronous. This research seeks to (1) explore how the issues that arise in moderating such distributed interaction differ from the issues involved in facilitating a workshop and (2) identify the circumstances under which it makes sense to consider using the distributed mode of interaction within a PSM process. Three pairs of action research case studies using a distributed variant on the strategic options development and analysis (SODA) process are described, together with our answers to the above questions.