Managers of profit and non-profit organizations are often confronted with complex problems. Ill-structured diffuse problems which involve more than one domain. Problems that are hard to set let alone to solve. They differ a lot from the structured domain related problems we used to work with in school. In education little attention is given to the training of complex domain exceeded problems.In order to be able to get domain exceeded problems, managers should get the opportunity to experience this kind of problems setting in a special learning environment. In order to enhance transfer the learning environment should be as close as possible to the real-life situation. A conference room can be a good learning environment in which managers can be trained to set complex problems. Setting complex problems is teamwork. It demands knowledge of various domains. Therefore different experts should work together in making a conceptual model of the problem. This can cause serious communication problems.A free form game with a case as a prototype of a complex problem can be a good didactical instrument for training problem setting. Problem setting is defining the scope of the problem, the domains and the level of aggregation. What can be the role of computer programs like decision support system, simulations, expert systems and general problem solvers like SOAR and ACT* in the setting of domain exceeded problems?In problem setting the computer can play a part by information retrieval. An expert-system as front-end of a database can assist the experts to get the relevant data out of the database in order to form in cooperation with each other a conceptual model of the problem.
This paper highlights the authors’ attempts to develop a software environment to help analysts (1) improve their understanding of the dynamics of the energy system and (2) build confidence in a complex, highly defined system dynamics model of energy supply and demand. The envisioned organizational learning environment has at its center a human interface design from which the user controls simulations, exercises, guided tours, model modifications, experiments, etc. While efforts to date have focused upon developing a micro-computer based system, the learning environment will be extended to workshops in the future.Any energy simulation model can be intimidating to users who lack a sufficient understanding of supply/demand concepts and knowledge of the computer language employed. The situation becomes more complicated as the complexity of the simulation model increases and new operational (or system performance) concepts are introduced.We provide a brief description of an energy supply/demand simulation model, ENERGY 2020, that central Maine Power uses for demand forecasting. Developed by George Backus and Jeffrey Amlin, the long-term energy policy model is used by analysts for both utility-level planning as well as state energy policy analysis. The model is coded in PROMULA for IBM-compatible personal computers.The problem is to create a means by which new users can explore and understand the complexity of the energy system (the ENERGY 2020 Model) in a structured and non- intimidating manner. The goal is to bring the users to a higher level of understanding, mastery, and ownership of the model.
The purpose of this paper is to explain the expansion and the contraction of the Norwegian mink supply in an expanding market, as a consequence of the mink pelt price and the mink farming costs. Significant variations in price, and time lags between capacity adjustments, breeding decisions and the fur sales, makes fur farming speculative, and only a small fraction of farmers generate their main income from such farming.Moreover, we estimate, using a Bayesian approach, the farmers’ loan fraction, their response to profitability and a few delays in economic perception and capacity adjustments. This model is the first one in a series under development, portraying the national and the international fur production and market. In addition to reflecting the Norwegian mink production, this model may be considered generic for international fur production. An international demand model is under development.Finally, empirical evidence indicates the relevance of our model to the current development in the Danish mink farming and to the Norwegian fox farming.
This paper contains a snapshot of some of the activities in the Nordic countries, regarding the utilization of system dynamics as a basis for educational development. In particular we provide a brief description of the background for introducing system dynamics into public education, point out software developed in Norway for this purpose, present some of the methodological issues addressed and summarize the classroom experiences reported by two Swedish teachers.
A simple simulation model demonstrates that the outcome of a negotiation may critically be affected by (i) the structure of the negotiating problem -- the joint distribution of negotiators’ evaluations of potential settlements; and (ii) the negotiators’ tactical approach to the problem -- the decision rules that guide the choice of concessionary offers made during the bargaining process. Hampered by cognitive limits and faced with imperfect information about the other party’s interests, negotiators may relay on simple heuristics in choosing among possible concessions during the negotiating process. The model of single negotiations is extended to examine how the outcome of one negotiation may impact future negotiations. Focusing on two negotiator interests -- concern for self and concern for fairness -- the model shows how adjustments in tactical decision rules from one negotiation to the next sometimes leads to an unwarranted deterioration in the parties’ relationship.
An earlier effort at projecting the future incidence of AIDS among adult homosexuals in New York City is reviewed in the light of data for 18 more months. One of the previous models holds up well against the new data. The model projects a temporary leveling off or reduction in new AIDS incidence, followed by a long, slower resurge. The HIV transmission probability, given an infected partner, is estimated at around 0.003. This level is barely sufficient to sustain endogenous growth in the homosexual population. From this it may tentatively be concluded that the epidemic will not start to spread exponentially among the heterosexuals provided they engage in less risky sexual behaviors than homosexuals.
The research reported in this paper involved the study of end-user computing in typical organizational settings. An extensive literature review was conducted and a number of executives consulted about the effects and position of the end user computing phenomenon within their organizations. The data served as a basis for a system dynamics model that focused on the forces that create growth in end-user computing. The “tiered infrastructure” of computing in the organization is demonstrated and discussed. One problem with the study of end-user computing has been the lack of testable theory about it. The majority of research has used case studies or relatively narrow field studies as a methodology. The key purpose in using the system dynamics approach has been to provide a vehicle to capture the ideas cataloged in the various case studies and cast them in the causal map format as a dynamic theory of systems organization and behavior.
Budget instability like that seen in defense over the past 20 years cost defense about 15 percent of its force levels. This result derives from a dynamic simulation of the defense resource allocation process. The simulation assumes fiscal constraints, and uncertainty in planned future budgets. Inefficiencies depend on the severity of budget changes from budgets planned to those actually received. The effects of instability on the Army, Navy, and Air Force are shown to be quite different, with major determinants being the relative size of acquisition budgets and the life span of assets.
There are three types of variables and relationships: numerical, linguistic and pictorial. Traditional system dynamics models are defined by a set of numerical equations which are defined from causal diagrams. Expert systems modeling has shown that one could also develop and use linguistic dynamic models. IDEAS is an integrated simulation approach that considers state of the art numerical and linguistic formulations and introduces pictorial models.Pictorial models consider pictographs, symbols and signs defined by their color, shape, size and position. Operations in these models include reproduction, mutation and fertile and sterile encounters, following a biological analogy.IDEAS may be applied to variety of problems. Two simple natural resource management models are presented to illustrate its potential applications.
A game for environmental urban management based on system dynamics models is being developed. Named ANARQUIA, this game uses Hypercard as a front end. ANARQUIA, considers a town managed without a government. The goal of the game, played by teams of five players operating under anarchist principles, is to manage the environment of a city optimizing environmental quality during the maximum amount of time. The game was applied to the town of Caparica, a traditional fishermen’s town in Portugal.