Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science

2013 Edition
| Editors: Saul I. Gass, Michael C. Fu

Problem Structuring Methods

  • Jonathan RosenheadEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1153-7_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 to derive a solution. They are participative and interactive in character, and normally operate with groups rather than individual clients. In principle they offer OR/MS access to a range of problem situations for which more classical OR techniques have limited applicability. The most widely adopted of these methods are Soft Systems Methodology, the Strategic Choice Approach, and Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA).

PSMs developed out of, or at least intertwined with, a critique of the restricted scope of traditional OR techniques. From the 1970s 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. Significant critical contributions were made by Rittel and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Operational ResearchThe London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK