Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science

2001 Edition
| Editors: Saul I. Gass, Carl M. Harris

Problem structuring methods

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-0611-X_806


Problem structuring methods (PSMs) are a broad group of model-based problem handling approaches whose purpose is to assist in the structuring of problems rather than directly with their solution. They are participative and interactive in character, and in principle offer OR/MS access to a range of problem situations for which more classical OR techniques have limited applicability.

PSMs developed out of, or at least intertwined with, a critique of the restricted scope of traditional OR techniques. From the late 1960s there developed an active debate over claims for the objectivity of OR/MS models, and about the limitations imposed on OR/MS practice by its concentration on well-defined problems. Critics held that standard OR techniquesassume that relevant factors, constraints, and objective function are both established in advance and consensual; commonly the function of the technique is to determine an optimal setting of the controllable variables. Consistently with...

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonEngland