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date: 28 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The emergence of Operations Management (OM) in the early 1960s is described, showing how it was based on the adoption of mathematical models from operational research during the Second World War. Subsequent major developments such as Materials Requirements Planning, Japanese manufacturing, manufacturing strategy, and supply chain management, and their effect on the OM discipline are outlined. These often attempted to reconcile the reductive analytical approach of early OM with the consideration of larger systems. The adoption of empirical research methods and theory from outside OM during the 1990s is examined, as well as the ever-present tension between practical relevance and academic rigour. Finally, the chapter reflects on ‘where the management is’ in operations management. It suggests that the managerial substance of OM is in exercising judgement on issues not susceptible to modelling, generating alternative courses of action, managing change, and judging how and when to use models, given the specific context of the operation.

Keywords: operations management, systems, manufacturing, operational research, manufacturing strategy

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