What is Operations Research in management?

Operations Research (the short term being OR) is a highly polished term denoting the quantitative aspects of a management science. The field is flooded with the work of applied mathematicians, management scientist, statisticians and other decision theorists.

The entire thrust of these experts is on theory building after rigorous analysis and the development of scientific methods of problem solving and decision -making.

Sir Robert Waston-watt, who claims to have launched the first two OR studies in 1937, recommended that operations research be introduced into the Departments of Secretary of War as well as Secretary of Navy in USA. This recommendation was translated into action in 1942.


Soon after the termination of World War II, managers were willing to try a new approach to encounter new types of management problems, and to raise productivity and profits through operations research. The germinating seed burst into full bloom just after 1950s.

Several firms subscribed for OR and have adopted the computer as a tool. As increasingly significant ways of utilizing the computer were developed, the spread of OR has accelerated beyond imagination. Many techniques known to operations researchers – such as PERT and CPM, simulation, are most widely used today.

Attempts to provide a systematic and rational approach to the fundamental problems involved in the control system by making decisions which achieve the best results in the light of all information that is profitable for user.