Talk:Operations research

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Opening / summary[edit]

This sentence, which opens the definition, is extremely broad, pedantic, and could be applied to numerous disciplines. The end result is it's basically meaningless. Someone with greater depth of knowledge should revise

- "Operations research, or operational research in British usage, is a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.[1] " — Preceding unsigned comment added by Witty al (talkcontribs) 17:35, 10 February 2017 (UTC)


Merge Management Science with Management[edit]

No consensus for merge -- PBS (talk) 01:23, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The "Management Science" page was incorrectly merged with the "Operations Research" page. Management science is merely the science of management. It can be thought of as the body of knowledge that considers all of the factors that contribute to the overall strategic management context, the application of such consideration is done with the intent to yield sound management decisions. See the professional journal "Management Science." I think the confusion stems from the fact that Frederick Winslow Taylor, who was heavily involved in operations research, wrote the foundational operations book "The Principles of Scientific Management." But that does not mean that somehow only a subset of management science becomes management science. One cannot change the basic meaning of words. As such, the "Management Science" page should have been merged with, and should redirect to, the "Management" page. --TDJankins (talk) 06:12, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Both articles were merged after the 2009 #Merger proposal (see above discussion). Also "Management science" is not just "merely the science of management." For example the initial Wikipedia article(s) stated:
  • Management Science (MS) is the discipline of using mathematics, and other analytical tools, to help make better business decisions. (2004 version)
  • Management science (MS), is an interdisciplinary branch of applied mathematics.... (2009 version)
And this has never been questioned, see Talk:Management science. Now this doesn't say much, because Wikipedia has to rely on reliable sources.
Looking at reliable sources, I immediately encounter multiple meaning of the term management science:
  1. Operation research
  2. Scientific management,
  3. The science of management,
  4. Management Science (journal)
It might be an idea to recreate the "management science" lemma as disambiguation page. -- Mdd (talk) 12:02, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

I have to simply refer back to what I've already said. Management science means the science of management. No amount of branding can change that. Webster's first two definitions of science are:

1: the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding

2a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study <the science of theology>

Also, in regards to when operations research sprang up, operations research was just the more formal branding that came around for the sub-field of management that Taylor and others had already firmly established, what some had called scientific management. Sure, it's evolved since Taylor, but it's still the same sub-field.

Additionally, looking at the wiki for the Management Science journal, I see that someone botched that as well, saying that it too is all about operations research. It's not! Here's the journal's own abstract showing that it is about management science aka management:

"Management Science is a scholarly journal that publishes scientific research on the practice of management. Within our scope are all aspects of management related to strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, information technology, and organizations as well as all functional areas of business, such as accounting, finance, marketing, and operations. We include studies on organizational, managerial, and individual decision making, from both normative and descriptive perspectives."--TDJankins (talk) 02:50, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

I have to agree that the only solution at this late and confused stage of the game is to make a disambiguation page and to scale back the synonymous use of management science on the Operations Research page. I think merely mentioning there once that some people alternatively refer to operations research as management science should suffice and the rest of the material can be blended. The page on the Management Science journal should be edited as well.--TDJankins (talk) 03:09, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

All options are (still) open: We could leave it like this, create a disambiguation page, recreate the management science lemma, or even do both: recreate the article with a disambiguation page beside it. This could be justified considering, that there was little support for the merge in the first place, there was even significant opposition. However, the course of action should be determined by what reliable sources tells us, and preferably any Wikipedia community consensus about this.
If we really want to improve the Wikipedia representation of these topics, we should study what reliable sources state on these matters, and make the best of it. Now personally in similar matters, I have started with collecting (notable) quotes about the topics at hand (which I have further developed at Wikiquote, and now stated a similar article there (see here). This can share some light in the, indeed, confusing "stage of the game". -- Mdd (talk) 12:58, 25 March 2014 (UTC) / 20:18, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Even if some people desperately want , it's impossible to preclude it from meaning the science of management. We couldn't do that even if we wanted to. Nor can we make an individual page for management science that asserts that it is only operations research or any one other thing because in doing so we would be saying that it's not the science of management, and once again, we do not have the power to do that as it would run 180 degrees counter to logic. The only thing we can do is make the main wiki for Management Science a disambiguation page.--TDJankins (talk) 02:14, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Unfortunately management science it's a bad name, careful to not confuse the usage with scientific management, a distinct conceptLbertolotti (talk) 13:18, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

@Lbertolotti. I don't disagree. @TDJankins. There are numerous reliable sources confirming that management science and operations research relate to the same or similar fields. For example Anderson et al. (2007) stated:
A variety of names exists for the body of knowledge involving quantitative approaches to decision making; in addition to management science, two other widely known and accepted names are operations research and decision science...
Source: David Anderson, ‎Dennis Sweeney, ‎Thomas Williams (2007) An Introduction to Management Science:A Quantitative Approach to Decision Making.' p. 2.
Another example are a series of books mentioning both fields in the book title:
  • Wolter J. Fabrycky, ‎P. M. Ghare, ‎Paul E. Torgersen (1984). Applied operations research and management science.
  • Saul I. Gass, ‎Carl M. Harris (2001). Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science.
  • Erhan Kozan, ‎Azuma Ohuchi (2002). Operations Research/Management Science at Work.
  • K. Aardal, ‎George L. Nemhauser, ‎R. Weismantel (2005). Handbooks in Operations Research and Management Science: Volume 12 Discrete Optimization.
  • A. Ravi Ravindran (2007). Operations Research and Management Science Handbook. p. xxi
There is no despair here, these are just normal reliable sources, which should be taken into consideration. -- Mdd (talk) 14:30, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

Although it wouldn't be entirely unreasonable to argue that operations research (aka management science, pos WWII) is the quantitative spirit of scientific management (pre WWII) powered by the computer and taken to its logical conclusion, I still think the lead should clearly distinguish between both, so readers won't be confused.Lbertolotti (talk) 03:56, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

As a bona fide B.S. degree holder in Management Science per se, my perspective is that while OR is certainly recognized as the legacy core of the discipline, OR is not only encumbered with the "operations" label but also does not adequately encapsulate the behavioral aspects of decision-making. In short, the term "management science" implicitly encompasses three aspects not clearly described by OR: an organizational orientation, a behavioral orientation, and a strategic orientation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.99.66.65 (talk) 14:35, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

Terminology can easily be a mess in heavily inter-disciplinary fields, e.g. management science/operations research/operations management/etc., or dynamical systems/dynamic systems/system dynamics/etc. (again, on which wikipedia is not clear at all -in fact the distinction is neither mentioned nor explicitly made with separate articles). "Management science" seems to contain "operations research", although "operations research" seems to be the way to advertise the field as it is the heavier part on maths and engineering, and thus the "the real deal" as hard scientists tend to call it.

  • MIT Sloan School of Management gives "Business Analytics and Operations Research (BAOR)" as part of the Management Science major program.
  • Berkeley's guide was advertising "management science", and yet the link directs to the department of industrial engineering and operations research.
  • At the University of Cambridge, Operations Research is researched and taught principally in the Statistical Laboratory and the Management Science Group of the Cambridge Judge Business School.
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science gives "Operational Research" as one of two streams under MSc in Management Science, the other being "Decision Sciences".
  • Stanford's "Operations Research" is based in the department of Management Science and Engineering.
  • The University of Waterloo gives operations research in the department of management sciences.
  • Columbia named the department "Industrial Engineering & Operations Research", and gives MS in Operations Research (MSOR) and MS in Management Science and Engineering (MS&E) as separate programs in the department.

Either way, "management science" and "operations research" should be separate articles.

95.15.184.242 (talk) 05:23, 7 November 2015 (UTC)


The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Further Reading[edit]

I have updated this section with some of the classic books in the field, so that somebody interested in reading the pioneering works in the discipline doesn't have to go searching around for them. Obviously, there are about a million articles that could have been added to this list, but it would have run on forever if they were included.

I listed the most revered textbooks in the field. Harvey Wagner's textbook won the Lanchester prize, and Hillier and Lieberman's book is currently in its 10th edition. I also took out (and I know this is going to be controversial), all of the other textbooks, simply because all of these textbooks cover virtually the same topics, and while I have nothing against any of them, listing them all is duplicative.

Finally, I included books for those interested in the history of the discipline, without wanting to get too far into the mathematics of the discipline.

Packing, Covering and Petri Nets[edit]

Should we mention this here? Lbertolotti (talk) 18:09, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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