The development of a model to assist in the strategic management of operational research groups.
This thesis describes a research programme which
investigates further the models developed by Conway  -
the dynamic model of the process of operational research
and the life cycle of in-house operational research groups.
It studies the relationships between the two, and also
extends the range of applicability of the models. From
this the research develops a useful tool to assist the
strategic management of in-house operational research
In the prev ious study, the two mode I s had been re I ated in
theory only. This study investigates the actual
relationships and develops a method of defining an
operational research group's position on its life cycle
using data about the mix of proj ects of the dynamic mode I
project types. This method was developed using data from
the Conway study, and tested on data collected in two
surveys conducted during the current period of research.
In certain circumstances, it was found to be essential that
other aspects of the data on operational research projects
were used to help define more exactly the current state of
health of the operational research group. The level or
importance of the project was shown to be significant, as
was the approach employed when tackling the project.
The validity of the model with respect to other forms of
operational research group was also investigated, and
external consultancy was chosen for this research. A
classification was developed which categorised consultants
according to their managerial structure, and consultants
from each of the types in the classification were
interviewed using Systems Based Interviewing. The
interviews showed that the dynamic model of the process of
operational research was a valid way to describe external
operational research consultancy. Some preliminary
concepts involving the life cycle of consultancies were
also developed, but could not be tested within the time
scale of this study.
1. CONWAY, D.A., (1984), "The Development and Application
of a Dynamic Model of the Process of Operational
Research". PhD thesis, Hatfield Polytechnic.