FULL REPORT

MON 2:30 PM Parallel Developmental Papers: The Future of SD / Organizational Behavior

Alan Graham distributed bullet points for his paper in development. For each of his proposed Grand Challenges, he listed the apparent mental models that currently drive decisions and the long list of interacting elements of problems and solutions that system dynamics models could address. However, in order to make these models more than just interesting ideas for discussion, several incremental evolutions of classic system dynamics are necessary:

Questions from the audience to Graham concerned the use of data, changing mental models, and developing soft variables. Graham will write several papers on the grand challenges to help focus the field's efforts on big problems.

In the second presentation, Heiko Breitsohl explained that his interest is in examining how an organization behaves after a crisis - how the system responds as a whole, not in specific financial costs or loss of life, for example. When a crisis arises, an organization reacts in order to restore legitimacy in the eyes of its stakeholders, but often those reactions undermine legitimacy and customer loyalty instead, causing even greater problems for the company. As one example, there was a good solution to the Tylenol tampering crisis.

Breitsohl is still considering how detailed a model he needs to fully capture the problem while keeping it basic enough to be useful to organizations. Discussion centered on how to test the model, since legitimacy is a construct that is difficult to measure, and whether or not a case study approach would be useful. Another question concerned the effect of delays on legitimacy and the structure and strength of information delays in the model.

Susan Howick thanked the presenters and audience for their participation in this first developmental session. In conversations after the session, Susan Howick said that the session had gone well, but that more might be done in later sessions to facilitate a greater exchange of ideas - perhaps by changing the seating away from the usual lecture arrangement and by asking presenters to specifically seek feedback on issues still under development.

Debra Lyneis

<Back to the Synopsis>