Operations Research | Operational Research

Knowledge Center


Applying analytical methods to decision-making. Explanation of Operations Research (Eng) | Operational Research (Am).


  1. Summary
  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
  6. Print

What is Operations Research? Definition

The terminology "Operations Research" is somewhat unfortunate or even funny, since it is not any more concerned with operations, nor does its application involve any research in the traditional sense. Some good Operations Research definitions are:

  • Operations Research is the discipline of applying advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions. By using techniques such as mathematical modeling to analyze complex situations, operations research gives executives the power to make more effective decisions and build more productive systems.

  • O.R. is the professional discipline that deals with the application of information technology for informed decision-making. It aims to provide a rational bases for decision making by seeking to understand and structure complex situations and to use this understanding to predict system behavior and improve system performance. Much of this work is done using analytical and numerical techniques to develop and manipulate mathematical and computer models of organizational systems composed of people, machines, and procedures.

  • O.R. draws upon ideas from engineering, management, mathematics, and psychology to contribute to a wide variety of application domains; the field is closely related to several other fields in the "decision sciences" - applied mathematics, computer science, economics, industrial engineering, and systems engineering.

  • O.R. is the science of rational decision making and the study, design and integration of complex situations and systems with the goal of predicting system behavior and improving or optimizing system performance. It encompasses managerial decision-making, mathematical and computer modeling and the use of information technology for informed decision-making.

As a science, O.R. traces its roots back to World War II, when military planners such as Frederick Lanchester and Patrick Blackett looked for ways to bring scientific calculations to Allied warfare against Nazi Germany. Compare also: Scientific Management.

Typical Operations Research methods and techniques

  • Simulation. Giving you the ability to try out approaches and test ideas for improvement.

  • Optimization. Narrowing your choices to the very best when there are virtually innumerable feasible options. And comparing them.

  • Probability and statistics. Helping you measure risk, mine data to find valuable connections and insights, test conclusions, and make reliable forecasts.

  • Mathematical models.

  • (Complex) algorithms.

  • Visualization.

  • Neural networks.

  • Pattern recognition.

  • Data mining, Data Warehousing.

O.R. can be used for supporting an indefinite number of business decisions.

Typical applications of Operations Research

  • Capital budgeting.

  • Asset allocation.

  • Portfolio selection.

  • Fraud prevention, Anti-Money Laundering.

  • Benchmarking.

  • Marketing channel optimization, Customer segmentation.

  • Direct marketing campaigns, Predicting customer response, Campaign optimization.

  • Supply Chain Planning.

  • Distribution, Routing, Scheduling, Traffic flow optimization.

  • Resource allocation, Staff allocation.

  • Inventory planning.

  • Retail planning, Merchandize optimization.

  • Product mix and blending, Industrial waste reduction.


The Americans use "Operations Research', the British/Europeans use: "Operational Research". Sometimes you can also the following terms: "Management Science", "Industrial Engineering" and "Decision Science" being used to indicate the same discipline.

Operations Research | Operational Research Forum
  Application of Operations Research in HR?
How can the OR technique be applied to HR methods ...
  Operation Research Case
A shopkeeper has a uniform demand of an item X ite...

Operations Research | Operational Research Special Interest Group

Special Interest Group

Operations Research | Operational Research Education & Events

Find Trainings, Seminars and Events

Best Practices - Operations Research | Operational Research Premium

Expert Tips - Operations Research | Operational Research Premium

What is Managerial Economics?

Managerial economics is the application of microec...
Usage (application): Operations Research

Resources - Operations Research | Operational Research Premium

Soft Systems Methodology in Operations Research

Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) has been used in th...
Usage (application): Operations Research

Game Theory and OR

Martin Shubik discusses the utilization of the met...
Usage (application): Operations Research

An Intro to Operations Research

Presentation about Operational Research, including...
Usage (application): Operations Research, Operational Research, OR

Introduction Into Operations Research (OR)

Introduction into OR. The presentation includes th...
Usage (application): Operations Research, Operational Research

Introduction to Simulation: Definition, Terminology and Process Steps

Presentation about Simulation that includes the fo...
Usage (application): Simulation, Complex Systems

Behavioral Operational Research | Soft OR

This presentation covers the topic of Behavioural ...
Usage (application): Behavioral Operational Research, Soft Operational Research, Behavioural Operational Research

News about Operations Research


News about Operational Research


Videos about Operations Research


Videos about Operational Research


Presentations about Operations Research


Presentations about Operational Research


Books about Operations Research


Books about Operational Research


More about Operations Research


More about Operational Research


Compare with Operations Research:  Business Intelligence  |  Simulation  |  Benchmarking  |  Regression Analysis  |  Exponential Smoothing  |  CAPM  |  Real Options  |  Game Theory  |  Data Warehousing

Return to Management Hub: Decision-making & Valuation  |  Finance & Investing  |  Human Resources  |  Marketing  |   Strategy  |  Supply Chain & Quality

More Management Methods, Models and Theory

Special Interest Group Leader

You here

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us | Privacy | Terms of Service
Copyright 2018 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V14.1 - Last updated: 23-1-2018. All names tm by their owners.