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A systemic framework based on Soft OR approaches to support teamwork strategy: an aviation manufacturer Brazilian company case

Leila Abuabara, L and Paucar-Caceres, AL and Neyra Belderrain, MC and Burrowes-Cromwell, T (2017) A systemic framework based on Soft OR approaches to support teamwork strategy: an aviation manufacturer Brazilian company case. Journal of the Operational Research Society. ISSN 0160-5682

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Abstract

The paper reports on the application of a combination of Operational Research (OR) approaches to a real-world case of re-designing the strategy of a department management team, in an aircraft manufacturing organization in Brazil. We combine approaches from ‘Soft’ OR Problem Structuring Methods in a multi-methodological framework arguing that this helps to discuss, develop and implement a new departmental strategy. The proposed framework uses elements of Soft Systems Methodology; Strategic Options Development and Analysis to understand and structure the situation; Value-Focused Thinking to define the means and objectives; and Value-Focused Brainstorming to highlight the potential solutions. We conceptualize a four-phased systemic framework linking elements of the above four ‘Soft’ OR approaches and apply it to a real-world case in a department where a new team leader was appointed with the specific brief to improve the departmental strategy and its performance in general. Findings suggest that combining the approaches into a framework encourages trust and participation from stakeholders which, in practice, is translated into an improved strategy for the organization. A reflection on the multi-methodological approach is proposed. Conclusions and points for further research are suggested.

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