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Production and Operations Management Journal (forthcoming)
Companies seek sustainability by combining the quest for profitability with the pursuit of social responsibility. Since socially responsible operations are characterized by the presence of multiple stakeholders with conflicting goals, applying classical optimization models would seem premature; we first need to capture the behavior of the entire system before attempting to optimize sub-systems to ensure that we focus on the ones driving the behavior of interest. Alternative methodologies are required if we are to gain insight into the most important drivers of socially responsible operations in order to apply traditional operations research (OR)/management science (MS) models correctly. This paper presents an umbrella approach which combines different methodologies to tackle the complexity, unfamiliar context and counter-intuitive behavior of socially responsible operations at the overall system level.