Future decision-makers and complexity: learning problem structuring through system dynamics

Vilalta-perdomo, Eliseo Luis (2013) Future decision-makers and complexity: learning problem structuring through system dynamics. In: FUBUTEC 2013, 9th Future Business Technology Conference, 10-12 June 2013, University of Lincoln.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Studies on complexity suggest two sources for uncertainty. On one hand, environments constituted by immense amounts of actors interacting through (almost) infinite relationships. On the other, subtle changes recognizable only after it is too late to react. We characterize both situations as complex because of the difficulties to guarantee any links between causes and effects, and to identify effective and efficient paths for action.

This paper deals with the challenge of introducing our students, future decision-makers, to the exercise of simulating systems with complex behaviors. System Dynamics (SD) is used to illustrate the process from a problem structuring perspective. By modeling and simulating different scenarios, complex situations can be studied and analyzed. Conceding that these activities may help on improving human action, the difficulty would strive on how to teach its use as it seems difficult to be caught by students. This paper elaborates on this by proposing an approach based on looking at SD as a problem structuring method (PSM), rather than a problem solving tool. An instance of the procedure is provided from a SD course delivered to undergraduate students in a Mexican university, and criteria to evaluate its efficiency and effectiveness are discussed.

Keywords:System Dynamics, Complexity, Problem Structuring Methods, Problem Solving, Education
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G200 Operational Research
N Business and Administrative studies > N211 Strategic Management
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:12004
Deposited On:03 Oct 2013 08:03

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