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Theory of constraints: A review of the philosophy and its applications

Shams‐ur Rahman (Graduate School of Management, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 April 1998



A new approach to the management of production and operations was developed by Goldratt in the late 1970s. Now known as the theory of constraints (TOC), it provides a coherent management theory for running an organisation. It has two major components: a philosophy which underpins the working principle of on‐going improvement, and a generic approach for investigating, analysing and creating solutions to problems called the “thinking process” (TP). During the last decade several books and many articles have been published, and a journal has been established which deals solely with the TOC. This paper contains an analysis of a comprehensive list of publications on the TOC. Identified themes are classified as conceptual explanation and enhancement of the approach, comparison with other techniques based on its philosophy, and applications in areas such as production, purchasing, accounting, administration, education and quality management.



Rahman, S. (1998), "Theory of constraints: A review of the philosophy and its applications", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 336-355.




Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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