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Strands of practice: the practitioner's dilemma

Author: Corbett, Charles J. ; Overmeer, Willem ; Van Wassenhove, Luk N.INSEAD Area: Technology and Operations ManagementIn: European Journal of Operational Research, vol. 87, no. 3, December 1995 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 484-499.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask the Library for this articleAbstract: This paper is a first step towards a different way of looking at the practice of OR, with implications for practitioners and researchers alike. The authors make two key observations: i) looking at how OR practitioners perform individual projects will not lead to a full understanding of how OR practitioners perform individual projects. Instead, one has to take into account the series of preceding projects by that same practitioner, to infer and understand his "strand of practice"; ii) a practitioner's strand of practice is developed as the result of a learning process. Therefore, practitioners operating in different environments can have widely different strands of practice. Consequently, operationalisable guidelines about how to perform OR projects will have to include an indication of the strand(s) of practice for which they are valid. The author's observations are based on an exploratory series of interviews whith practitioners and their clients
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This paper is a first step towards a different way of looking at the practice of OR, with implications for practitioners and researchers alike. The authors make two key observations: i) looking at how OR practitioners perform individual projects will not lead to a full understanding of how OR practitioners perform individual projects. Instead, one has to take into account the series of preceding projects by that same practitioner, to infer and understand his "strand of practice"; ii) a practitioner's strand of practice is developed as the result of a learning process. Therefore, practitioners operating in different environments can have widely different strands of practice. Consequently, operationalisable guidelines about how to perform OR projects will have to include an indication of the strand(s) of practice for which they are valid. The author's observations are based on an exploratory series of interviews whith practitioners and their clients

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