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Pragmatism and rationalism in the development of management science methodologies in the UK and France

Paucar-Caceres, Alberto (2009) Pragmatism and rationalism in the development of management science methodologies in the UK and France. Systems research and behavioral science, 26 (4). pp. 429-444. ISSN 1092-7026

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Abstract

The development of a range of management science methodologies (MSMs) such as soft operational research (OR) has been a feature of the UK OR practice over the last decades. This paper suggests that the increasing number of soft approaches developed in the UK is a direct consequence of the pragmatism in management education and management practice in Britain; and of the development of a robust British systems movement that has been engaged with the British OR community. Rationalism prevalent in French management education has kept OR/MS practice biased towards the hard end of MSM. We explore the usage of hard and soft methods and present results of a mailed survey administered to a small sample of British and French MBA graduates working in consultancy. Results reflect features of British and French business culture and management education; and indicate the different directions taken by the MS/OR movements in these two countries.

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