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Accessing knowledge at British Airways: the impact of soft OR

Ian Yeoman (Napier University Business School, Edinburgh, UK)
John Sparrow (University of Central England, Birmingham, UK)
Felix McGunnigle (British Airways, West Drayton, UK)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 1 April 2000



Operational research plays a major role in improving the profitability of British Airways (BA), which is the largest, and one of the most successful, international airlines in the world. This study explores the knowledge and facilitation conceptions held by operational research consultants in BA in supporting the decisions and management processes of their internal “clients”. Ten consultants, who were deemed experts in soft OR, were interviewed in order to examine the knowledge they used in helping their clients to manage decisions and change. The findings suggest that while the fundamental ethos of analytical rigour characterises the world‐view that the OR consultants adopt, it may be the modifications to techniques and practices that consultants make in intuitive and creative ways that secure their effectiveness.



Yeoman, I., Sparrow, J. and McGunnigle, F. (2000), "Accessing knowledge at British Airways: the impact of soft OR", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 121-139.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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