Soft OR comes of age—but not everywhere!

Publication year: 2011
Source: Omega, Volume 39, Issue 6, December 2011, Pages 729-741

John, Mingers

Over the last forty years, new methods and methodologies have been developed to deal with wicked problems or “messes”. They are structured and rigorous but non-mathematical. Prime examples are: soft systems methodology (SSM), cognitive mapping/SODA and the strategic choice approach (SCA). Collectively they are known as Soft OR, Soft Systems, or Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs). Soft OR has now come of age in terms of both dealing with complex practical situations and having a presence in the academic literature. However, Soft OR is not recognized, or even seen as a legitimate part of an OR, everywhere and this is especially…

 Research highlights: ► Soft OR methods are useful and widely used for tackling wicked messy problems. ► But they are invisible in the US, especially in top OR journals. ► We examine reasons for this and suggest possible actions to improve the situation.