Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Soft OR in China: A critical report

Li, Ya; Zhu, Zhichang


Ya Li

Zhichang Zhu


As China's reform steps into the 'deep water zone' where value complexity becomes paramount, general-purpose decision-making aids such as Operational Research (OR) are increasingly confronted with the challenge of dealing with interest conflicts. However, due to historical events and institutional circumstances, OR in China to date is largely constrained by a technocratic approach which is not fit for purpose. Encouragingly, recent OR innovations inside China signify a conscious move to embrace value plurality and tackle social conflicts. OR is not merely a neutral tool for solving technical problems, but a world-building discourse that shapes society. The future of OR, particularly Soft OR, in China will be determined by whether OR workers are willing and capable to act as institutional entrepreneurs promoting scientific and democratic decision-making that deepens the reform toward an open, just and prosperous society. The implications go beyond the OR community and China's borders. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Li, Y., & Zhu, Z. (2014). Soft OR in China: A critical report. European journal of operational research, 232(3), 427-434.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Apr 17, 2013
Online Publication Date Apr 27, 2013
Publication Date Feb 1, 2014
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal European journal of operational research
Print ISSN 0377-2217
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 232
Issue 3
Pages 427-434
Keywords REF 2014 submission, OR in societal problem analysis, Soft OR, China reform, Value complexity, Historical–institutional analysis
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: European journal of operational research, 2013, v.232, issue 3
Contract Date Nov 23, 2017


You might also like

Downloadable Citations