Problem Structuring Methods

Problem Structuring Methods are a family of methods that apply modelling approaches to address messy or wicked problems faced by the managers of organisations.

They seek to alleviate or improve situations characterised by uncertainty, conflict and complexity. Although the family of methods was described in Jonathan Rosenhead's 1989 book, Rational Analysis for A Problematic World, the special interest group does not limit itself to the approaches described there. It embraces all other cognate interpretative model building approaches and decision science tools aimed at supporting groups in working through problems.

The aims of the PSM Special Interest Group are to provide a forum which increases the understanding and practical use of PSMs amongst interested members of the broad OR community. It allows specialist PSM practitioners to explore the connections between PSMs and other MS/OR approaches and examines the applicability of software to supporting PSM practice. The group also promotes the exchange of experiences of teaching PSMs within higher education, of training in the use of PSMs in industry, commerce and government and supports the work of research students exploring PSM themes.

Committee details

Christina Phillips
Co Chair
Martin Parr
Co Chair
15. Facilitating the Revision of AYME’s Strategy.jpg

Come to our next event

Date: Thursday 14 January

Time: 9am-10am


About The Event

Colin Eden and Fran Ackermann will be providing a full tour and demonstration of the latest iteration of their ‘Strategyfinder’ software that helps to structure complex domains for rapid decision making, and which has been used in remote work successfully.

We will be getting a tour of the latest version of the software which can be used via multiple online conferencing platforms, in this case Zoom.


Introduction: the genesis of causal mapping software for problem structuring – the origins of COPE and Decision Explorer in relation to SODA, to Group Explorer for group causal mapping via consoles, to strategyfinder for group mapping same-time/different-place.

Live demo: with a small group of participants. Fran ‘facilitating’ with Colin as a participant so that both the facilitator screen and user screen can be shared with audience.

A tour of strategyfinder: ‘blind gather’, analysis tools etc.

Overview of some current uses: ‘quick’ problem solving, risk systemicity, multi-organisational collaboration, etc. Where next…



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