EURO working group on Ethics and OR

NameEURO working group on Ethics and OR
Board Erik Kropat (Chair) -
Cristóbal Miralles (Past Chair) -
Fred Wenstøp -
Giorgio Gallo -
Pierre Kunsch -
Dorien de Tombe -
Gerhard-Wilhelm Weber –
Sven Diekmann -

Coordinator Erik Kropat
Universität der Bundeswehr München
Department of Computer Science
Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39
85577 Neubiberg
Phone: +49-89-6004-3450
Fax: +49-89-6004-3906
Coordinator Cristobal Miralles
Universidad Politecnica de Valencia
Depto. Organización de Empresas
Cami de Vera s/n
46022 Valencia
Phone: 963877007-76824
Purpose and historyEthical concerns have been present since the origins of OR, addressing all dimensions of this discipline in society. Recently ethical thinking in OR has been very much revived in the changing World context by several contributions of OR researchers with publications in prestigious journals like EJOR, ITOR, OMEGA, and others. The creation of the EURO Working Group (EWG) on “Ethics and OR”, one year after the inspiring opening lecture of Professor J.P. Brans of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel on "OR, Ethics and Decision" at the EURO XVII Conference in Budapest in July 2000 is also an important landmark. The working group understands itself as constituting a network gathering scientists, teachers and professionals in the field of Operational Research who are committed to inspire OR researchers, teachers, students and consultants to integrate ethical aspects and considerations in their activities; assuming our Responsibility within the decision-making process. Our EWG aim at a valuable and lively contribution to our EURO conferences, scientifically and socially, especially in close collaboration within EURO and with other EWGs. To know more about the multiple proposals of our members, a nice recent review is: Ormerod, R., Ulrich, W., Operational Research and Ethics: a literature review. EJOR (2012). doi:
MembersThe EWG on “Ethics and OR” has 115 members that are researchers from almost all EURO countries. The communication among members is done through the following mailing list:,,,,,,,,,,
Cathal Brugha (,
Chandra Sekhar Pedamallu,,,
Cristóbal Miralles (,,
Dorien de Tombe (,,,,,,
Erik Kropat (,,,,,,
Frank Fiedrich (,,,,,,,,
Gerhard-Wilhelm Weber (,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Ozlem Defterli (,,,,
Pierre Kunsch (,,,,,,,,,,
Sven Diekmann (,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Silja Meyer-Nieberg (,
Goran Mihelcic (,
Chris Pallaris (i-intelligence,,
Wolfgang Peischel (Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports Austria,
Editor in Chief Austrian Military Journal),,,,
Past activities----------------------------------------
STREAM "OR and Ethics" with 5 presentations organized for the IFORS Conference in Barcelona - July 2014.

ARTICLE AT IFORS NEWS BULLETIN on "Ethics and OR"; also including the call for applicants to the 1st edition of the "EthOR AWARD" for the best MT/DD disertation.

CALL FOR FEATURED PAPERS on "Ethics and OR" at the EURO Journal of Decision Processes (EJDP) with deadline December 31st 2013.

STREAM "OR and Ethics" with 8 presentations organized for the EURO XXVI conference at Rome. July 1-4, 2013.

EthOR AWARD FINALISTS SESSION during EURO XXVI at Rome. From among the 30 Master’s Thesis/ PhD Dissertation
received for the Award, three finalists were selected:
- Yamini Srinivasan with the MT “A game theoretic framework to
mitigate unethical behavior in construction projects”
- Robyn Moore with the MT “Reaching consensus on water reforms:
a case of Community Operational Research in Kapiti, New Zealand”
- Ruth Carrasco with the DT “A Management Model for Closed-Loop
Supply Chains of Reusable Articles”
The jury was composed of Valerie Belton, Luk van Wassenhove, Cathal
Brugha, Giorgio Gallo and Fred Wenstøp. They finally granted the award to the Master’s Thesis of Robyn Moore supervised by Vicky Mabin at the University of Wellington (NZ).

"Ethics and OR" PLENARY SPEECH AT ELAVIO 2013: Apart from the financial award, Moore was given the honor of being the plenary speaker at the XVII ELAVIO (Latin-iberoamerican OR Summer School), an event promoted by ALIO and co-financed by IFORS and EURO, that took place at Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain on September 2013

EXPLORATORY STUDY: Also during EURO XXVI at Rome, the group started an exploratory study on OR and Ethics. A representative sample of Operations Researchers, ranging from scholars who had just finished their Master thesis to experienced professors and OR practitioners were interviewed. A first impression from the interviews suggests
that ethical education is very important. Most of the interviewees are
able to resolve ethical issues well on an intuitive basis, while some had difficulties discovering them. Moreover, moral integrity seems to be a key character trait in dealing with morally problematic requests from problem owners.

A stream "OR and Ethics" with 8 presentations was organized for the EURO XXV conference at Vilnius. July 8-11, 2012.

A workshop on the state of the art in connection with EURO XXV organized by Dorien DeTombe, Cathal Brugha, Gerhard–Wilhelm Weber and Fred Wenstøp.

A stream organized by Leroy White at the IFORS 2011 International Confernence in Melbourne (July 10-15, 2011)

"International Conference on Complexity, Uncertainty and Ethics” organized by Erik Pruyt at Delft-Netherlands on April 14-15, 2011.

A stream on "Ethics and OR" organized by Cristóbal Miralles for the ICOVACS 2010 (International Conference on Value Chain Sustainability) at Valencia. November 15-17, 2010.

A stream on "OR in Life Sciences and Education - Trends, History and Ethics" organized by Gerhardwilhelm Weber at the International Conference on Operations Research OR2010 at Munich. September 1-3, 2010.

A workshop on the state of the art in connection with EURO XXIV organized by Dorien DeTombe, Cathal Brugha, Gerhard–Wilhelm Weber and Fred Wenstøp.

A stream "OR and Ethics" with 8 presentations was organized for the EURO XXIV conference at Lisbon. July 11-14, 2010.

A main stream on OR education, history & ethics at the 23rd European Conference on Operations Research in Bonn July 5-8 2009 was organized with a substream of two sessions on OR and ethics.

Jean-Pierre Brans, the founding father of the EWG Ethics in OR organized a workshop 'Ethics in Decision-Making' during the Human Centered Processes (HCP) conference TU-Delft, The Netherlands. June 9-12, 2008.
A main stream was organized on OR and ethics at the 22nd European Conference on Operations Research in Prague 2008, as well as a working group meeting.

OR and ethics stream at IFORS 18th Triennial Conference of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies 2007

A stream on OR and Ethics was organized at EURO 2006, Reykjavik


Luk Van Wassenhove and Marc Le Menestrel hosted the highly succesful two-day INSEAD workshop on 'Promoting Ethics in OR', sponsored by the INSEAD R&D department, at the INSEAD campus in Fontainebleau. At this workshop, senior Operational Research scholars and ethical experts joined forces to synthesize the state-of-the-art of 'Ethics and Operational Research' at the theoretical, practical and institutional levels. Short papers were presented and discussions moderated in three parallel workshops, followed by synthesis, discussion and brainstorming in plenary sessions. Furthermore, avenues of research as well as practical and institutional actions aimed at favoring the integration of Ethics and Operational Research were developed.


Our working group actively participated in the organisation of the 12th Mini EURO Conference. The themes of the conference were Decision Support Systems, E- and M-Commerce, Multicriteria Decision Aid, Human-Centered Processes and, last but not least, Ethical Dilemmas in Decision Making. Many interesting papers on Ethics and OR were presented (some of these will be published in a special issue of EJOR).


The EURO Working Group on 'Ethics and OR' was founded in 2001 at the EURO XVIII Conference in Rotterdam. At this conference, the new EWG organised some sessions in co-operation with the EWG on Human Centered Processes.


Here, Professor J.P. Brans of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel held his opening lecture on 'OR, Ethics and Decision' and proposed the 'Oath of Prometheus'. One year later, this resulted in the formation of the EURO Working Group on 'Ethics and OR'.

Future activitiesThe different activities planned for 2016 can be summarized as follows:

- The publication of preliminary results of the Exploratory Study with the interviews to experts done during EURO XXVI at Rome.

- Begin next steps of the Exploratory Study, where a complete questionaire will be designed and sent to the OR community. Results shall be reported in some journal and/or OR Newsletter. .

PublicationsMost members of the Group have worked intensively on the topic of Ethics and OR through different approaches, and many of them have published in indexed journals of our area. The list would be very large but, in any case, there are three special issues that deserve to be highlighted since they were centered on the group itself:

- A special issue of ITOR (International Transactions in Operational Research) was published July 2010 with papers based on the workshop on ETHICS IN DECISION MAKING June 9th at the HCP (Human Centered Processes) conference in DELFT (The Netherlands) on June 9-12,2008, organized by professor J.Pierre Brans (VUB-Brussels)(

- A special issue of Omega Volume 37, Issue 6, December 2009 on OR and ethics with Luk van Wassenhove and Marc Le Menestrel as editors gained significant popularity at ScienceDirect monitor of downloads April-June 2009. Most of the papers entered the top 25 list within Business, Management and Accounting, as well as withib Decision Sciences. Contributions were: Ethical Guidelines and Codes in Operations Research, by Saul I. Gass; Does the Best Practice of Rational-Style Model-Based Policy Analysis Already Include Ethical Considerations? by Warren E. Walker; Ethics and Operational Research: Ethical issues in tracking cellular telephones at an event, by Antony K. Cooper, Hans W. Ittmann, Theo Stylianides and Peter M. Schmitz; Ethics beyond the Model: How Social Dynamics Can Interfere with Ethical Practices in Operational Research/Management Science, by John Brocklesby; Challenge of Research Ethics Committees to the Nature of Operations Research, by Leroy White; Why good practice of OR is not enough - Ethical challenges for the OR practitioner, by Felix Rauschmayer, Iordanis Kavathatzopoulos, Pierre L. Kunsch and Marc Le Menestrel; Modeling complex ethical decision problems with Operations Research, by Pierre L. Kunsch, Iordanis Kavathatzopoulos and Felix Rauschmayer; On Operations Research and Value Conflicts, by Fred E. Wenstøp and Haavard Koppang; Opportunities and Pitfalls for Ethical Analysis in Operations Research and the Management Sciences, by Emmanuel Picavet.

- A special issue of EJOR, dedicated to ethics and OR, has been published (European Journal of Operational Research, Volume 153, Issue 2, 1 March 2004). This special Issue of EJOR contains papers presented at the 12th Mini EURO Conference, held in Brussels (April, 2-5, 2002).

Moreover, there are two recent publications of the abstracts of the “state of the art workshop” of EURO Conference in Lisbon 2010 and EURO Conference in Vilnius 2012:
- Dorien DeTombe, Cathal Brugha, Gerhard-Wilhelm Weber, Fred Wenstøp (Eds.). Book of Abstracts of State of the Art Workshop LISBON 2010 Operational Research EUROMSC / EURO MCDA / EUROPT / EURO ORD / Ethics and OR, Volume 22. Publisher: Greenhill & Waterfront, ISBN /EAN 978-90-77171-34-9. July 2010

- Dorien DeTombe, Cathal Brugha, Gerhard-Wilhelm Weber, Fred Wenstøp (Eds.). Book of abstracts of State of the Art workshop VILNIUS 2012 Operational Research EUROMSC / EURO MCDA / EUROPT / EURO ORD / Ethics and OR, Volume 24. Publisher: Greenhill & Waterfront, ISBN /EAN 978-90-77171-39-4. June 2012

Last modification2016-12-06

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