Professor L. Alberto Franco

BEng (Católica), MSc (Lancaster), PhD (LSE)

Pronouns: He/him
  • Professor of Management Sciences

Expertise: group decision support; problem structuring; visual framing; behavioural operations research; decision science practice.

Alberto Franco is a Professor of Management Sciences. As a decision scientist, he has extensive consulting and research experience in heath, transport, construction, government and defence, where he has led projects to support strategic management, value-focused thinking, risk analysis, and resource allocation for over 20 years. Organisations he has worked with include: Whitbread, Bombardier, Network Rail, Ministry of Defence, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the World Health Organisation.

After completing a civil engineering degree at Pontificia Universidad Católica (Lima, Perú), Alberto started his career as a specialist soil mechanics consultant. In 1988, he began a gradual move into academia, first lecturing in mathematics and subsequently in management science and operations management at Universidad del Pacifico (Lima, Perú). He moved to the UK in 1996 to study Operational Research (OR), and gained MSc and PhD degrees from Lancaster University and the London School of Economics (LSE), respectively. Since then he has held various positions at, among others, LSE, University of Strathclyde, University of Warwick, IE Business School (Madrid, Spain), Radboud University (Nijmegen, The Netherlands), and Universidad del Pacifico. Alberto joined Loughborough in June 2013 as Head of the Management Science and Operations Discipline Group, a role he performed until August 2016.

Alberto’s research has traditionally been focused on the empirical study of the effectiveness of decision support interventions intended to improve decision-making processes, particularly within teams working in a facilitated modelling environment. More recently, his main interests lie in making the practice of ‘decision analysis’ more ‘visible’. This involves taking a closer look at what decision analysts actually do when deploying their craft and assess the consequences of these ‘doings’. This strand of work is part of a broader European behavioural agenda within Operational Research (also known as ‘Behavioural OR’), and draws on a range of theoretical perspectives (eg communication, psychology, sociology, economics), with a view to discovering novel ways to improve decision analysis practice and education.

Alberto’s ongoing research focuses on examining how behaviour affects, or is affected by, designed decision-supported processes. His research has both a descriptive and a prescriptive orientation, and uses a process and interaction lens for analysis. Alberto’s recent contributions in this area include:

  • Investigating the conditions under which visual decision models developed within group workshops become ‘boundary objects’ in interaction.
  • Identifying the role and impact of individual differences in the use and perceived effectiveness of decision aids.
  • Understanding how visual interactions with strategy tools produce different knowledge production patterns in workshops.
  • Unpacking the socio-material and situated specifics of facilitated decision support interventions.
  • Distinguishing the analytical and relational capabilities and impacts of mixed-method decision support interventions.
  • Assessment of the state-of-the-art knowledge of behavioural studies within a decision-supported environment (1989 to 2018).
  • Associate Editor, Group Decision and Negotiation
  • Editor, Euro Journal on Decision Processes
  • Editorial Board, European Journal of Operational Research
  • 2017 Enterprise Award (Impact from Research), Loughborough University (with G Montibeller)
  • 2017 Dean’s Award Researcher of the Year, Loughborough Business School
  • 2016 British Journal of Management’s Top 10 Article. Paper: Visual Interactions with Strategy Tools, with S Paroutis and T Papadopoulos.
  • 2016 Decision Analyst Society’s Practice Competition Award Finalist. Paper: Supporting the Prioritisation of Emerging Animal Threats for the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with Decision Analysis, with G Montibeller).
  • 2016 Dean’s Award Impact of Practice, Loughborough Business School (with G Montibeller)
  • 2014 OR Society Annual Conference 2014 keynote speaker
  • 2013 Banxia Prize for Best Paper in the OR Society Conference’s Problem Structuring Methods Stream. Paper: Dynamics of facilitated modelling: A micro-level analysis of model-supported group conversations, with E Tavella.
  • Montibeller, G, Franco LA & Carreras, AL. (2020) A risk analysis framework for the prioritization and management of bio-security threats. Risk Analysis.
  • Rosenhead, J, Franco, LA, Grint, K & Friedland, B. (2019) Complexity Theory and leadership practice. The Leadership Quarterly, 30, 101304.
  • Franco, L.A. & Greiffenhagen, C. (2018). Making OR practice visible: Using ethnomethodolpgy to analyse facilitated modelling workshops. European Journal of Operational Research, 265(2): 673-684.
  • Franco, LA & Nielsen, MF. Examining group facilitation in situ: The use of formulations in facilitation practice. Group Decision and Negotiation, 27, 735-756.
  • Franco, L.A., Rouwette, E.A.J.A., & Korzilius, H. (2016). Different paths to consensus? The impact of need for closure on model-supported group conflict management. European Journal of Operational Research, 249(3): 878-889.