This lesson will introduce you to:- 

  • Meaning and Definition of Operation Research 
  • Phases in Operation Research Study 
  • Scope 
  • Characteristics 
  • Methodology 
  • Models 
  • Techniques 
  • Applications 
  • Limitations


Operation Research aids management to make their decisions. Operation research works as a method of analysis for management. Through which, the management receives aid for their decisions. However, the name of this method, Operation Research (O.R.) is fairly a new concept, but the method used for this has its place in management for a long time. 

Operation Research entails the application of the principles. It involves the methods of science providing strategy for problems of management. The concept of operation research came into being during Second World War in U.K., and was applied for military strategy. 

During World War II, a group of scientists, having representatives from statistics, mathematics, physical and social sciences were entrusted with enforcing various military operations. This team was very successful.

And, it deeply contributed to the particular management of entire operation and related problems of the operation.

The need for conveying such studies for operations began because military strategies and their assessments become so significant and expensive and therefore, the best scientists, under the funding of military organs were assembled together to offer quantitative information’s by espousing scientific techniques and methods for aiding in taking decisions.

After the World War II, operation research started being applied to the fields of agriculture, planning, industry, trade, and diverse other fields of economy.

The operation research can be defined as:


(i) It is the function of technical methods, techniques, and tools to problems involving the operations of a system to offer those in the control of the system with most favorable solutions to the problems.

(ii) Operation Research is an instrument for taking decisions, which seek the most favorable results in parity with the overall objectives and constraints of the organization.

(iii) O.R. is a technical technique of providing decision-making section with a quantitative basis of decisions regarding the operations under their control.

(iv) O.R. is a scientific method to solve problems for organization.

(v) O.R. gives support to for executives in making their decisions by equipping him with the needed quantitative information. The needed information is based on the scientific method of analysis.

(vi) O.R. complies with modern methods of mathematical science to compound problems involving organization of large systems of machines, materials, men, laborers, and money in industry, business, government, and defense. 

The typical approach is to formulate a scientific replica of the system integrating capacity of factors such as chance and risk, to forecast and evaluate the result of alternative decisions, strategies, or controls.

(vii) It is the purpose of the scientific methods by scientists and subject specialists to the study of the given process. Its function is to offer administration, a basis for predicting quantitatively the most effectual results of an process under given set of uneven circumstances and thereby to offer a sound basis for “executive”.

Actually, in Operation Research, research techniques and scientific methods are engaged for the study and also for learning the present or outlook problems. Thus, Operation Research offers different plans for a difficulty to the organization for decisions.

Although it is very obvious that operation research never construct decisions for the organization, instead the method offers management with a cautious scientific and quantitative study of problem so that the management will be in an improved position to formulate sounder decisions.

Operation research can be applied for solving diverse sets of problems, such as:

  • Problems in terms of the waiting line, the coming of units or persons requiring service.
  • Problems in terms of share of material or activities among inadequate facilities.
  • Problems involving equipment replacement.
  • Problems in terms of construction processing i.e., quality control and material shipment.


However, businesses should keep in mind that operation research is never the alternative to a manager as decision maker. The final and full responsibility for analyzing all factors and making decision rests upon the manager.

In the broader sense, operation research does not administer the daily problems such as production by the one worker or machine facility; instead, it is involved with the general aspects of business process such as something as the association between supply, sales, and productions and scheduling. It may also be concerned with the overall flow of goods and services. The flow is maintained from plants to consumers.

The team tasked with operation research may include psychologists, labor specialists, statisticians, mathematicians, and others. The kind of people a team requires will depend upon the requirement for the problems.