Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

School of Business and Economics

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Photo of Professor Franco, L. Alberto

Professor L. Alberto Franco BEng (Católica), MSc (Lancaster), PhD (LSE)

Professor of Management Sciences

  • Profile
  • Research
  • External activities and recognition
  • Featured publications

Alberto Franco is Professor of Management Sciences at the School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University. With a background in civil engineering, he worked as a consultant in the area of soil mechanics before moving to academia. During 1997-2000, he held research positions at the London School of Economics and Strathclyde Business School, followed by a three-year lectureship post at Kingston Business School. He then spent 8 years at Warwick Business School (2003-2011), first as assistant professor and, from 2006, as associate professor. During his time at Warwick he was Course Director of the MSc in Operational Research and Management Science (2006-2010), and led the design and launch of the MSc in Business Analytics and Consulting, also as Course Director (2008-2010). He was also a Visiting Professor for the 2007-2008 academic year at IE Business School (Spain). Prior to joining Loughborough, he was Professor of Problem Structuring Methods at the Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull (2011-2013). Alberto joined Loughborough in 2013 as Head of the Management Science and Operations Management Discipline Group.   

As a management scientist, Alberto has led several projects to support strategic issue management, value-focused thinking, scenario planning, risk prioritisation, and collaborative problem solving, within and between organisations, and in a variety of sectors including: construction, transport, hospitality, health, legal services, higher education, government and defence. Organisations he has worked with include: Whitbread, Bombardier, Network Rail, Insights Benelux, Atkins, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (dstl), Ministry of Defence, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra), National Health Service (NHS), NATO Research and Technology Agency, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Pertemps People development Group, and several local authorities.

Alberto’s main interests lie in the study of operational research (OR) practice. This involves examining the use and impact of modelling methodologies, techniques or tools. Recent work has focused on unpacking the micro-level practices of OR practitioners within facilitated workshops, using a range approaches (interaction analysis, ethnomethodology, conversation analysis), and informed by an eclectic mix of disciplines (communication, psychology, sociology, management).

A leading scholar among the problem structuring research community, Alberto is actively working (with Raimo Hamalainen from Aalto University, Finland) to develop the Behavioural OR research agenda in Europe. His research contributions include:

  • Rethinking OR models as potential ‘boundary objects’.
  • Development of empirically-grounded theories to understand the impact of OR interventions.
  • Understanding how visual interactions with strategy tools produce different knowledge production patterns in workshops (with Sotirios Paroutis and Thanos Papadopoulos).
  • Identifying the communication impacts of facilitated modelling practices (with Elena Tavella).
  • Organising and theorising about a wide range of OR modelling approaches within the framework of ‘facilitated modelling’ (with Gilberto Montibeller).

Alberto’s research has appeared in the European Journal of Operational Research, OMEGA, Journal of the Operational Research Society, Group Decision and Negotiation, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, and British Journal of Management. He welcomes prospective applicants interested in pursuing research at PhD level. Those with an interest in studying and improving OR practice are particularly welcome.

  • Member of the Editorial Board, European Journal of Operational Research.
  • Editor, Euro Journal on Decision Processes.
  • Reviewer of NATO’s code of best practice for the use of judgment-based analysis.
  • Reviewer of state-of-the-art research on problem structuring methods research for Defence Science Technology Laboratory (dstl).
  • Keynote speaker at OR56 (OR Society annual conference, 2014).
  • Co-founder OR Society’s Problem Structuring Methods Special Interest Group.
  • Special Issue Guest editor for European Journal of Operational Research, Journal of the Operational Research Society, and Euro Journal on Decision Processes
  • Franco, L.A., Rouwette, E.A.J.A., & Korzilius, H. (in press). Different paths to consensus? The impact of need for closure on model-supported group conflict management. European Journal of Operational Research. doi: 10.1016/j.ejor.2015.06.056
  • Paroutis, S, Franco, LA, & Papadopoulos, T (2015). Visual interactions with strategy tools: Producing strategic knowledge in workshops British Journal of Management, 26: S48-S66.
  • Tavella, E, & Franco, LA (2015). Dynamics of group knowledge production in facilitated modelling workshops: An exploratory study. Group Decision and Negotiation, 24(3): 451-475.
  • Franco, LA (2013) Rethinking Soft OR interventions: Models as boundary objects, European Journal of Operational Research, 231(3): 720-733.
  • Franco, LA, Meadows, M. & Armstrong, SJ. (2013). Exploring the Impact of Individual Differences in Scenario Planning Workshops: A cognitive style perspective. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 80(4): 723-734.


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