Decision Making And Systems Thinking: Educational Issues

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M. Kudret Yurtseven
Walter Buchanan


Decision Making, Systems Thinking, Industrial Engineering Education, OR/MS Paradigm, Problem Structuring Methods


Decision making in most universities is taught within the conventional OR/MS (Operations Research/Management Science) paradigm.  This paradigm is known to be “hard” since it is consisted of mathematical tools, and normally suitable for solving structured problems. In complex situations the conventional OR/MS paradigm proves to be inadequate; decisions must be based on systems thinking which provides the decision maker(s) the opportunity to address the problematic situation in its full system context. The aim here is to develop a framework and a new course to teach “decision making through systems thinking” to industrial engineering students. The new course is to be taken after the existing course which covers the traditional OR/MS paradigm. It is believed that such an “extended” framework will help students to improve their skills in handling complex decision situations. 


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