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Operations research/management science in the United Arab Emirates: Current status and future diffusion and challenge

Darwish Abdulrahman Yousef (Department of Business Administration, College of Business and Economics, United Arab Emirates University, Al‐Ain, United Arab Emirates)

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues

ISSN: 1753-7983

Article publication date: 3 October 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present results of a survey that investigates levels of awareness and usage of Operations Research (OR)/Management Science (MS) in industrial and service organizations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 450 individuals at different management levels were co‐opted and descriptive statistical analyses were employed.

Findings

Results reveal that the majority of the respondents are aware of OR/MS and use it to some extent. Results also showed that the most common OR/MS techniques are: decision analysis, cost benefit analysis, computer simulation, financial modeling, and risk analysis. The most common application areas are: project evaluation, sales analysis, manpower planning, accounting procedures, and stock control.

Research limitations/implications

This study like any other study has some limitations. First, the sample size is somewhat small, and therefore this might limit the generalization of the results of this study. Second, this study is confined to medium sized and large organizations and in turn it excluded small organizations. This might also affect the generalization of the results. Finally, this study is confined to certain emirates and in turn it might not provide clear picture of OR/MS awareness and use in the UAE as a whole.

Practical implications

The findings of this study have some implications for both practitioners and researchers. For decision makers (practitioners) they will be aware of the type of problems being solved using OR/MS techniques and type of OR/MS techniques being used to solve those problems. Furthermore, decision makers will be aware of the barriers to the wide use of OR/MS techniques. This will help them identify means of overcoming those barriers. For researchers/academicians, they will be aware of OR/MS techniques which are widely used in the country and consequently, more emphasis will be placed on those techniques.

Originality/value

Due to lack of recent survey type studies in the Arab countries in general and in the UAE in particular, this study is the first which provides a comprehensive picture of the status of OR/MS in the UAE at the present time.

Keywords

Citation

Abdulrahman Yousef, D. (2008), "Operations research/management science in the United Arab Emirates: Current status and future diffusion and challenge", Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 1 No. 4, pp. 255-266. https://doi.org/10.1108/17537980810929975

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited