Operational research and organizational development

Eden, Colin (1978) Operational research and organizational development. Human Relations, 31 (8). pp. 657-752. ISSN 0018-7267 (https://doi.org/10.1177/001872677803100801)

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A large research program concerned with the contribution of operational research (OR) to the design of organizations led indirectly to an OR project concerned with constructing a man-computer interactive simulation model for a department in local government. The simulation model was to map the decision-making activities of the department and their influence on critical features of the environment which were of interest. The most difficult part of this project was the application of new methodologies for eliciting the values, norms, objectives, goals, and views of the environment in order that the model of decision-making could be constructed. The key concepts underlying the method were drawn from the psychology of personal constructs and the sociology of defining situations. The data analysis resulting from an application of these concepts led to the organization wishing to become involved in an organization development (OD) exercise. How this request evolved, the conceptual basis of the OR, and some of the repercussions of the OD work on effective OR are what the paper is about.