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Title: A critical analysis of the defining features of problem structuring methods
Author: Smith, Christopher Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 6103
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis seeks to explore if there is a defining philosophy, theory and methodology underpinning problem structuring methods (PSMs). PSMs are a class of qualitative Operational Research (OR) approach for making progress with ill-structured problems. The development of each of the established approaches was in relative isolation with little research cutting across all PSMs. There are no agreed standards or characteristics for an approach to be considered a PSM. This creates a problem for the increasing number of newly developed qualitative OR approaches which share many common features with the established PSMs but are not recognised as such. To close this gap the thesis conducts analysis of the literature identifying these common features. To understand the diversity of theory and methodology of PSMs this thesis theoretically and methodologically develops the existing qualitative OR approach WASAN and positions it alongside the existing PSMs. Bridging the gap between established PSMs and other qualitative approaches will identify the qualifying features of PSMs, how to identify these features in other approaches and how theory development in one approach can be transferred to other PSMs. Next the thesis develops the qualitative OR approach WASAN through an action research program. The problem context is a UK Police Force who are aiming to reduce wasted time in their emergency contact centre. The researcher modelled four individual systems in customer contact using WASAN. WASAN considers how behaviour of an upstream system can increase waste production in the system being modelled. The research analysed the individual models and the interaction between models. The research project shows how to identify the features of PSMs in an approach; the process of developing a bespoke approach into a generic approach; and, the commonality of an underpinning framework between WASAN and the existing PSMs through the transferability of theoretical contributions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management