Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.586621
Title: An empirical investigation into wicked operational problems
Author: Godsiff, Philip
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 20 Oct 2018
Access from Institution:
Abstract:
This thesis begins by considering the nature of research in Operations Management, the methods that are employed and the types of problems it addresses. We contend that as the discipline matures and it extends its boundaries the research challenges become more complex and the reductionist techniques of Operations Research become less appropriate. To explore this issue we use the concept of wicked problems. Wicked problems were developed by Rittel and Webber during the 1970’s. They suggest the existence of a class of problems which could not be solved using the techniques of Operations Research. They describe Wicked Problems using ten properties or characteristics, which, after a thorough review of their descriptions, we have condensed to six themes. We consider the current state of the “Wicked Problem” literature and have identified the paucity relating to Operations Management. Thus we develop our research question: “what are the characteristics of wicked operational problems?” We investigate this question using a single extended case study of an operation experiencing significant unresolved performance issues. We analyse the case using the tenets of systems thinking, structure and behaviour, and extend the empirical literature on wicked problems to identify the characteristics of wicked operational problems. The research indicates that elements of wicked problems exist at an operational level. The significance of this finding is that reductionist techniques to problem solving e.g. lean and six sigma may not be applicable to the challenges facing operational managers when confronted with the characteristics of a wicked operational problem.
Supervisor: Maull, Roger Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.586621  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Operations management ; systems thinking ; wicked operational problems
Share: