Background of the TOC Database Project

The Theory of Constarints database project aims to catalogue research others have done, so we can build on these advances to progress TOC more rapidly.

Background of the TOC Database Project

Over the last 30 years there has been much interest and research using Dr Eliyahu M. Goldratt's Theory of Constraints (TOC).

TOC has led to dramatic improvements in factories, hospitals, projects, government departments – in fact, it has been applied to almost every area of human endeavour and the Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization (TOCICO) portals demonstrate this wide-ranging influence.

Because of this wide applicability, papers have been published in a variety of journals, under many different disciplines and application areas.

We felt there was a need to find out what research others have done, so we can avoid 'reinventing the wheel' and build on each other's advances to progress TOC more rapidly.

However, scholars and researchers can find it pretty hard to locate these papers with searches on terms as general as 'theory', 'constraints', and 'TOC'!

Compiling a Theory of Constraints research database

We began compiling a database of TOC articles, books and conference papers, starting back in 1996.

Our first bibliography was published in 2000 (see The World of the Theory of Constraints: An International Bibliography by Vicky Mabin & Steven Balderstone), followed by "The performance of the Theory of Constraints methodology: Analysis and discussion of successful TOC applications" by the same authors in the International Journal of Operations & Production Management (2003).

Following its success, and many requests for an update, a follow-up study of the TOC Thinking Processes was published in the International Journal of Operations & Production Management in 2008: "The theory of constraints thinking processes: retrospect and prospect".

This provided a basis for the lead chapter by Vicky Mabin and John Davies in the 2010 publication Theory of Constraints Handbook called “The TOC Thinking Processes: Their nature and use - reflections and consolidation”.

TOC database technical notes

There were a number of decisions made around which papers to include, and the search terms used.

Technical details: The strategy for developing a Theory of Constraints database began with an extensive search of peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings using internet databases and search engines including ProQuest, Google Scholar®, IEEE Xplore, WorldCat, ScienceDirect, and Scopus.

We have utilised several TOC Endnote databases developed previously. In addition we have used citations to identify further entries aiming to develop a comprehensive and inclusive database of as many scholarly TOC publications as possible.

Key terms and phrases: These included "Critical chain", “CCPM", "Drum buffer rope", "theory of constraints/TOC", in conjunction with "thinking processes" or "bottleneck" or “throughput” or “project management”.

The full database was refined manually selecting any publications that either debate or improve elements of TOC or described applications of the method, and items were then categorised.

Categories: Articles have been assigned to one category only. While some papers can be considered relevant for multiple categories, they have been assigned to only one category to avoid duplication of entries. Researchers are therefore advised to search each of the database files using their own specific search words.

Journal ranking: There are many academic journal ranking systems in use around the world. We have provided an indicative ranking (A*, A, B, C, etc) based on the Australasian Business Deans Council’s list (2013).