Zooming in on problem structuring interventions: An affordance perspective

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Empirical studies examining the complex dynamics between the social and material aspects of OR interventions are beginning to appear in the literature. Despite these advancements, we know very little about these dynamics at the micro-level of analysis. This is partly because of a lack of theories that can inform an empirically grounded understanding of the interplay between the social and the material as they become interwoven in micro-level practices. To address this gap, I adopt an affordance perspective to examine how the materiality of an OR technology can shape, but not fully determine, social actors' behaviours during interaction with that technology. I illustrate the potential usefulness of the affordance perspective for the case of problem structuring interventions that use Group Explorer as a group causal mapping technology. I then show, via an empirical case vignette, how perceptions of affordances called forth by the technology affect social actors' behaviours within a strategy workshop. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of adopting an affordance perspective for the conduct of OR intervention research and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventOR56 Annual Conference - Keynote Papers -
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …


ConferenceOR56 Annual Conference - Keynote Papers
Period1/01/14 → …


  • Affordances
  • Behavioural OR
  • Interaction
  • Intervention
  • Materiality
  • Problem structuring


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