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Title: Rethinking soft OR interventions: models as boundary objects
Authors: Franco, L. Alberto
Keywords: Soft OR
Boundary objects
Knowledge creation
Group decision and negotiation
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: © Elsevier
Citation: FRANCO, L.A., 2013. Rethinking soft OR interventions: models as boundary objects. European Journal of Operational Research, 231 (3), pp. 720 - 733.
Abstract: In this paper I draw on research on the role of objects in problem solving collaboration to make a case for the conceptualisation of models as potential boundary objects. Such conceptualisation highlights the possibility that the models used in Soft OR interventions perform three roles with specific effects: transfer to develop a shared language, translation to develop shared meanings, and transformation to develop common interests. If these roles are carried out effectively, models enable those involved to traverse the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic boundaries encountered when tackling a problem situation of mutual concern, and help create new knowledge that has consequences for action. I illustrate these roles and associated effects via two empirical case vignettes drawn from an ongoing action research programme studying the impact of Soft OR interventions. Building on the insights generated by the case vignettes, I develop an analytical framework that articulates the dynamics of knowledge creation within Soft OR interventions. The framework can shed new light on a core aspect of Soft OR practice, especially with regards to the impact of models on the possibilities for action they can afford to those involved. I conclude with a discussion of the prescriptive value of the framework for research into the evaluation of Soft OR interventions, and its implications for the conduct of Soft OR practice.
Description: This article was published in the serial, European Journal of Operational Research [© Elsevier]. The definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2013.06.033
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2013.06.033
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/14644
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2013.06.033
ISSN: 0377-2217
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Business School)

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