Professor Mike Yearworth
Professor of Management Science
Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK
Professor Yearworth's research addresses the complex strategic decision making challenges faced by engineering organisations dealing with messy problems and is based on the use of Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs). Professor Yearworth has worked with a wide range of organisations in developing and applying systems modelling and problem structuring approaches to strategic decision making. These include Guardian News and Media (GNM), Defra, Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace, Thales UK, Dstl, Toshiba Telecoms Research Laboratory, Frazer Nash Consulting and Bristol City Council. His work is published in the Journal of the Operational Research Society, European Journal of Operational Research, Energy Policy, Journal of Industrial Ecology, Systems Research and Behavioral Science and Systems Engineering. Mike has participated in 15 research projects with £25M funding from EPSRC, NERC, EU (H2020, FP7, FP6, FP5) and UK Gov (BIS, Defra, Highways Agency, DTI); 7 of these projects as PI and the remainder as named CoI.
Mike joined the Business School in 2016 and was previously Professor of Engineering Systems at the University of Bristol where he worked on the development of problem structuring methods to support systems practice in engineering organisations. This built on his previous work whilst Senior Research Manager at Hewlett-Packard’s European Research Laboratory (HP Labs) where he managed a number of projects researching the development and application of system modelling techniques to understanding the performance of very large complex managed services with focus areas in data centre operations, information security and automation. Before joining Hewlett-Packard, Mike was Director of the Intelligent Computer Systems Centre at the University of the West of England.
Mike is a Chartered Engineer (MINCOSE MBCS CITP CEng), originally a physicist (BSc, PhD University of Southampton), and also holds an MBA from the University of Bath.
- BSc(Soton), PhD(Soton), MBA(Bath), MINCOSE, MBCS, CITP, CEng
My research is focussed on the way in which managers in engineering organisations make decisions when faced with messy problem contexts. These are characterised by contested stakeholder viewpoints, difficulties agreeing objectives, lack of reliable data and uncertain outcomes from interventions. My work is mostly concerned with the methodology of decision making and the development and use of Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs) to support decision making and is ordered in the following themes:
- Methodology: Implications of the Generic Constitutive Definition (GCD) of Problem Structuring Methods - studying non-codified problem structuring in organisations, methodological learning and improving PSMs/Soft OR
- Practice: Stakeholder engagement, working across multiple organisations, facilitation, use of Group Support Systems for online workshops, integrating functional systems modelling techniques (e.g. Discrete Event Modelling, Agent Based Modelling, System Dynamics) into problem structuring approaches, integrating analytics/big data (Smart OR)
- Theory: Use of Actor Network Theory (ANT) – particularly ideas of hybrid forums and use of co-production models – and Critical Realism to adequately theorise problem structuring practice. Understanding the implications of atheoretical pragmatism and instrumental behaviours, ethics and issues of procedural and distributive justice
These themes are investigated in the following contexts:
- Strategy making with senior leadership teams
- Group decision support through conventional workshops and online Group Support Systems
- Systems modelling for managing risk
- Multi-organisational collaboration
Publications by category
Publications by year
- 2017 - External Review College (ERC), Dstl
- 2016 - Visiting Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Bristol
- 2012 - 2016 External Examiner Hull University Business School (MRes Business and Management)