The Future of Operational Research is Past – Ackoff, 1979


Source: The Future of Operational Research is Past | SpringerLink



Journal of the Operational Research Society

Volume 30, Issue 2pp 93–104Cite as

The Future of Operational Research is Past

Russell L. Ackoff

General Paper


After a brief discussion of the diagnoses of others of OR’s ailments, a detailed examination is made of the impacts of academic OR on its practice. These impacts include the dispersion of OR in organizations, the displacement of OR workers, and the dissolution of its interdisciplinarity. Then the changes in OR’s environment which should have evoked adaptive responses from it, but didn’t, are considered. The increasing inappropriateness of OR’s methodology is discussed by focusing on the deficiencies of its concept and practice of optimization, and its pursuit of objectivity. These deficiencies, it is argued, can only be overcome by a comprehensive reconceptualization of the field, its methodology, the way it is practised, and the way students are educated to practise it.