Operational Research and Systems
The material in this book is devoted to an examination of the relationship between two disciplines, operational research (OR) and systems. The two bodies of knowledge both emerged in the decade following the conclusion of the Second World War, and their common history is reinforced by the contribution subsequently made to both disciplines by certain important figures, notably Ackoff, Beer, and Churchman. The relationship is considered from a perspective which concentrates upon OR and systems in relation to problem solving and decision making. Thus an emphasis is placed upon the methodology and process of OR rather than upon the mathematical modeling techniques which have developed within it. Certain aspects of the systems movement equally are not directly addressed; for example, general systems theory, which seeks to provide a conceptual framework useful in many fields of interest, receives little explicit attention. This particular view of the relationship is adopted because it emphasizes a major area where the two disciplines overlap and offers a fruitful arena from which beneficial insights may be gained.
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