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What is Operations Research?

This question can perhaps be best answered by a consideration of some of the earlier developments from which this area of study arose. In particular, the impact of World War II is often regarded as the time when operations research first became an important field in its own right. The organization of the military had developed along the same line as industrial concerns – that is, there was an interesting need for specialization and the division of management skills. Since World War II came so close after World War I, the military was unable to cope with the rapid changes in technology. Consequently, it called upon scientists and others with the ability to develop new weapons etc. to assist with their absorption into strategy and tactics (i.e., military operations). After the war, these developments spread to business and industry and have grown considerably since that time. The need for the application of scientific method to executive functions and problems of production and distribution soon became apparent. However, this type of approach was slow because the problems were slow to evolve, and often they were not readily amenable to scientific treatment. The term “Operations Research� means different things to different people. Some of the more popular definitions are: 1.

research into operations;


management science;


decision analysis;


design analysis;


the art of giving bad answers to problems to which otherwise worse answers would be given;


the application of scientific techniques (often by teams of individuals) to problems which encompass the controlling of organized systems with a view to providing solutions which will best serve the entire organization.

Profile for Quantitative Business Analysis

1.3 What is Operations Research  

1.3 What is Operations Research