Definition of Operations Research

OR is a scientific method of providing executive departments with a quantitative basis for decision regarding the operations under their control.

OR in the most general sense can be characterized as the application of scientific methods, techniques, and tools to problems involving the operations of systems so as the provide those in control of the operations with optimum solutions to problems.

It uses scientific, or mathematical, or logical means to cope with the problems that confront the executive when he is dealing with his decision problems.


Most of the definitions reveals the important aspect i.e., OR is a scientific approach to problem-solving for executive management. The OR Society of America has defined OR as follows: “OR is an experimental and applied science devoted to observing, understanding, and predicting die behaviour of purposeful man-machine systems, and operations research workers are actively engaged in applying this knowledge to practical problems in business, government and society”. The following points emerge from the above definitions:

1) OR is based on the work of engineers and the early practitioners of scientific management.

2) OR can cope with situations involving even trinomial numbers of variable through mathematical, statistical and computer techniques.

3) OR takes a total systems view of management. It considers several dimensions of a problem and establishes relationships between all the factors related to the given problem.


4) OR arrives at optimal solution to the management problems.

5) OR is best performed when there is active collaborations and involvement of managers and operating personnel exit.