Problem‐solving techniques for poorly structured problems have been the subject of recent academic research and popular press texts. The purpose of this paper is to explain the use of one of the Theory of Constraints thinking process (TP) tools — the Current Reality Tree (CRT). The purpose of the tool is to clearly identify the root problem or problems that cause the surface problems or undesirable effects occurring in an organization.
One must fully understand the core problems in the environment before proposing a system solution to these core problems. Without this systems perspective, a proposed solution may create more problems than it solves. Through the use of an actual white‐collar service case, the paper explains how the CRT is created.
The overall objective of this research is not to propose solutions to the case but to demonstrate how the CRT might provide structure by identifying and logically linking the surface problems encountered in each area to the core problems. In this manner, the reader is introduced to the power of the CRT to address poorly structured problems.
The paper uses only one case as an example of the power of the TP tools. However, numerous testimonials from industry (many are cited in the text) provide evidence of the effectiveness of the TP tools.
The paper provides evidence that the TP tools might be an effective method to provide structure to ill‐structured problems which in many case have been addressed by management as if the problem were unstructured or, worse, unstructurable.
The paper is the first (to the authors' knowledge) to specifically address the issue of ill‐structured problems from the perspective that structure might be provided by the TP tools.
Walker, E. and Cox, J. (2006), "Addressing ill‐structured problems using Goldratt's thinking processes: A white collar example", Management Decision, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 137-154. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740610641517Download as .RIS
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