Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
Operations Management as a Problem-solving Discipline
Title of the conference
Academy of Management Annual Meeting Best Paper Proceedings
Academy of Management
Some operations management researchers tackle real-life problems that are not well-defined, and where the focus is on discovery and problem solving, not explanation. In this paper, we suggest that the principles of design science can be used to formalize research on ill-structured operations management problems, such as research addressing the impact of emergent technologies on the performance frontier. Building on the work of Herbert Simon, we propose that a design science approach can be used to complement the conventional approaches in operations management, which are based on the methodologies adopted from the natural sciences, principally, Carl Hempel's hypothetico-deductive reasoning. The goal of this paper is to explicate an epistemology and methodology for the logic of discovery and problem-solving in operations management research. The process is illustrated through an in-depth case of a multi-year research project concerning new information technologies, where the performance frontier was affected through the development of applications that enabled the use of simpler integrating mechanisms and thus performance improvements in multiple dimensions. The case example illustrates why successful solution designs do not automatically translate to performance improvements but require step-wise development and introduction of the solutions in practice. If this is to be done under the rubric of scientific research, the proper methodology must be explicated.
Management, Forces of production, Problem solving, High technology, Management science, Management research, Technological innovations
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