Abstract for: Supporting decision-makers in managing stock-flow problems: The effects of oral feedback on reasoning and decision-making

This paper broadens the scope of traditional stock-flow experiments because for the first time the focus is both on product (task solutions) and process (reasoning process). By using a think aloud protocol, insight is gained in the reasoning processes of 8 participants in the female professors systems thinking inventory task. This knowledge is used to identify patterns and deficiencies in decision-makersí ability to manage simple stock-flow problems and to propose measures to improve this. Furthermore, the effects of elaborate oral feedback on the quality of participantsí reasoning and ability to solve the task are assessed. The experiment shows that the most important reason for failure in managing stock-flow problems is decision-makersí lack of familiarity with the concept of average delay time for determining the outflow of a stock. Furthermore, the oral feedback is found to be effective for creating insight in simple stock-flow problems, although use of supporting tools like a spreadsheet is essential for gaining full insight and for successful management of the stock-flow problem.