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Rational Analysis for a Problematic World Revisited 2e: Problem Structuring Methods for Complexity, Uncertainty and Conflict [Paperback]

Jonathan Rosenhead , John Mingers
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 Sep 2001 0471495239 978-0471495239 2nd Edition
Now, more than ever, planning and managing in the real world is beset by change and uncertainty. Knowledge is incomplete, values are in dispute, decisions of others are often unpredictable. Sheathed in opaque technicalities, inflexible and over–ambitious, the highly mathematical methods of analysing problem situations are no longer considered acceptable. In their place a coherent alternative paradigm has emerged– a range of formal methodologies which aim not to produce ′optimal′ solutions but to facilitate an enriched decision–making process. ′Low–tech′ transparent and participatory, these methods assist in the formulation and reformulation of problem solving in an uncertain world. This fully revised and updated book brings together contributions from some of the great thinkers on this subject. The authors present the most influential methods (each illustrated with a case study), describe the principles on which the method operates, the step and the stages of analysis, and how these methods relate to the decision making process. The concluding section explores future developments and research issues, as well as links with other relevant domains.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 2nd Edition edition (21 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471495239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471495239
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.9 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"…I have no hesitation in recommending the text to anyone interested in the current state of theory and practice…" (Systems Research & Behavioural Science, July/August 2002)

From the Back Cover

Planning and management is increasingly problematic in the real–world environment of spiralling change and uncertainty. Knowledge is incomplete, values are in dispute and the decisions of others are often unpredictable. Problem structuring methods (PSMs) are now widely accepted within Operational Research and the systems movement, and have generated an impressive record of high–profile applications. This new edition provides easier access to PSMs. Each of five methods is presented from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. The justification for each approach is explained, and an illustration of applying each method is given in a practical case study. New topics in line with the many advances in the field of problem structuring methods are explored and multimethodology is introduced for the first time. This book does not peddle methods for optimum solutions, but instead shows you how to facilitate an enriched and fluid decision–making process. Participatory methods are explained to assist the formulation and re–formulation of problem solving in an uncertain world. Offering contributions from leading thinkers in the field and building on the success of the first edition, this theoretical guide and practical source will prove invaluable to students of management, systems and OR and to practitioners negotiating real–life problems in today′s complex, conflicting and uncertain business climate. Reviews of the first edition: ′.....probably the most referenced book by JORS authors over the last 10 years.′ J. Ranyard, Journal of Operational Research Society 51 (12), 2001 ′ . . . a thought provoking collection of articles, delivering a strong message about the way decision analysis is moving.′ Helen Couclelis, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA ′ . . .sets out extremely clearly what soft OR is about . . . the editor and authors deserve all credit.′ M.C. Jackson, Systems Practice

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The book provides summaries of a considerable number of analytical techniques for problem structuring and option selection. They include techniques like Soft Systems Methodology, Strategic Choice and Robustness Analysis. Each method has a chapter describing the method and another offering a practical example. These have been written by the developers of the techniques.
For the most part the descriptions are clear and concise, though the chapters on Confrontation Analysis are a bit opaque.
There's also a good section on use of multi-methods, if the problem you've got is complex.
The book is probably of most use to Operational Research practitioners (at the soft end of the spectrum) and management consultants.
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3.0 out of 5 stars middle of the ground book! 14 Mar 2012
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this book covers some stuff you may need to know if your doing a course in it etc, there for its dose the job, however i did not find it Great! used it more as a Ref. book to get work done and read around uni notes thats about it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good overview 19 May 2011
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The idea of describing all these soft methods of operations research, systems engineering, systems analysis etc as "problem structuring methods" is a very good idea indeed, as this makes it possible to talk about such wishy-washy stuff as a part of a serious OR/MS agenda without having to feel embarrased at the lack of rigour and mathematics. In many of the methods described here, a natural output would be a proper problem formulation in the sense of something that represents a mathematical problem. Without having understood the context of the problematic situation, it is difficult to formulate it into a problem.
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