This research presents an overview of the discipline of management science. Included in this overview is a brief examination of its role in management's addressing of complex organizational situations.
Management science is a "broad field employing information systems and the techniques of operations research and decision theory to arrive at . . . decisions scientifically."1 Decision theory is concerned with making a choice between two or more alternative courses of action, and involves the decision, the decisionmaking process, and the decision maker.2 Operations research is the study of "operations in action."3 Management science emphasizes the application of operations research and decision theory to specific problems.
Management science is a quantitative discipline. The management scientist constructs mathematical models to simulate
1E. E. Nemmers, Economics and Business, 3rd ed. (Totowa: New Jersey: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1986), 336.
2H. L. Sisk, Management & Organization, 5th ed. (Cincinnati, Ohio: SouthWestern Publishing Co., 1987), 54.
3P. M. Morse, Operations Research, 3rd ed. (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1986), 12.
2 organizational situations, and decisions between alternative courses of action are based upon mathematical outcomes.
The increasing complexity of modern organizations and of the environments within which they must function have caused a concomitant increase in the complexity of the managerial decisionmaking process. To deal with the increased number of factors which must be considered in reaching a decision, managers often employ the contingency approach to management. The contingency approach to management expects one to take into account (1) each facet of environment, and (2) all of the interrelationships between these facets. A total of 54 separate variables, as an example, have been identified as being relevant to the application of the contingenc...