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Chapter1 - EMSE 135/235: Systems Thinking and Policy...

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Systems Thinking and Policy Modeling I 1 EMSE 135/235: Systems Thinking and Policy Modeling I
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Systems Thinking and Policy Modeling I 2 Systems, Systems Thinking, and System Dynamics Decision Making in Complex Systems – Policy Resistance – Feedback System Dynamics and Organizational Learning – Learning as a feedback process – Mental Models – Double Loop Organizations – Barriers to Learning – Learning Facilitators: the need for systems thinking and systems dynamics
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Systems Thinking and Policy Modeling I 3 System dynamics is based on (light versions of) nonlinear dynamics and feedback control. Because we apply these tools to the behavior of socio- technical systems, system dynamics draws on cognitive and social psychology, economics, and other social sciences. It involves: – Eliciting & representing dynamic systems (modeling). – Simulating Dynamic System Models. – Testing Policies.
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Systems Thinking and Policy Modeling I 4 In testing policies, SD shifts focus from the immediate (here,now) to the holistic (there, then) Focus is on understanding the far-reaching, long-term effects of decisions. Holistic: focus on the interactions of the parts, as opposed to focusing on the parts of a system. There Here Now Then
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Systems Thinking and Policy Modeling I 5 Organizations face increasingly complex environments. Making decisions involves making predictions. To cope with the process, decision makers use simplifying assumptions, which are not inspected carefully, or challenged. We call this mental models . By failing to understand key aspects of the system behavior, decision makers often miscalculate the long-term consequences of their actions. The structure of the system produces its behavior remains hidden, giving rise to policy resistance .
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6 Policy resistance arises because we often do not understand the full range of feedbacks operating in the system. Cause and effect are not close in time or space (Peter Senge) To see this, we need to understand how decisions impact system behavior. We tend to favor open loop (linear) thinking, e.g. Goal
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Chapter1 - EMSE 135/235: Systems Thinking and Policy...

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