Taking stock of behavioural OR : a review of behavioural studies with an intervention focus

L. Alberto Franco, Raimo P. Hämäläinen, Etiënne A.J.A. Rouwette, Ilkka Leppänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This review maps the body of behavioural OR studies that focus on interventions. The term ‘intervention’ is used here to refer to a designed problem-solving system in which individuals or groups engage with OR methods, processes and tools in order to complete a set task or address a real-world problem. We surveyed the relevant OR literature covering a 30-year period, and develop a typology to organise our corpus of reviewed studies. The typology is comprised of four types of studies, each type representing a distinctive approach in terms of its assumptions about behaviour (determinist or voluntarist) and the research methodologies they use (variance or process), and each type is concerned with different research questions that do not cut across other approaches. By categorising studies in this way, and drawing on research in associated cognate areas where relevant, eight empirically-generated knowledge themes emerge: intervention configurations, individual differences, model-driven support impacts, (un)intended use, model building process, engagement paths and strategies, facilitated modelling practice, and sociomaterial dynamics. Each of these knowledge themes provides important insights into the behavioural factors that affect, or are affected by, OR-supported activity. We conclude our review with ten suggestions for further developing the behavioural OR agenda concerned with interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-418
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number2
Early online date28 Nov 2020
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Behaviour
  • Behavioural OR
  • Intervention
  • Process
  • Variance


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