Studying Collective Resistance. A Community OR approach.

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished Conference Paperpeer-review


Since Rosenhead’s proposal in 1986 to look at communities as a relevant target for OR practice, many exercises on C+OR have been reported. These reports present OR practitioners playing different roles, such as: advisers, catalysts, consultants, devil’s advocates, experts, facilitators, meeting leaders, or participants (Wong & Mingers, 1994), who must deal with different societal issues within communities. All these roles confront the challenge of how to define such societal issues. An example of such challenge is provided by Kingdon (1984) (presented in Liebl, 2002). This example shows how a case of traffic congestion can be described as: (a) a ’problem’ of having generated too much traffic; (b) a ‘problem’ of having built insufficient roads; (c) a ‘problem’ of road pricing, or (d) a ‘problem’ of missing traffic control based on information and communication technology. These are all valid interpretations from the same symptom, but apart from their technical significance, none of these consider which is the impact that such traffic has in their communities. Is this traffic necessarily a bad issue that needs correction?
Some approaches such as Critical Systems Heuristics (Ulrich, 1996) seem to help on defining the boundaries of the social issue and its relevance; however, these approaches do not necessarily provide insights to collectives on how to act and resist undesirable external interventions. Examples on central Mexico and a reflection on how C+OR can support some resistance are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2023


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