Guidelines%20for%20Drawing%20Causal%20Loop%20Diagrams

Guidelines%20for%20Drawing%20Causal%20Loop%20Diagrams -...

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Guidelines for Drawing Causal Loop Diagrams 1 2 by Daniel H. Kim The old adage "if the only tool you have is a hammer, every-thing begins to look like a nail" can also apply to language. If our language is linear and static, we will tend to view and interact with our world as if it were linear and static. Taking a complex, dynamic, and circular world and linearizing it into a set of snapshots may make things seem simpler, but we may totally misread the very reality we were seeking to understand. Making such inappropriate simplifications "is like putting on your brakes and then looking at your speed-ometer to see how fast you were going," says Bill Isaacs of dialogos. Articulating Reality Causal loop diagrams provide a language for articulating our understanding of the dynamic, interconnected nature of our world. We can think of them as sentences which are constructed by linking together key variables and indicating the causal relationships be-----tw-een them. By stringing together several loops, we can create a coherent story about a particular problem or issue. The next page includes some suggestions on the mechanics of creating causal loop diagrams. Below are some more general guidelines that should help lead you through the process: • Theme Selection. Creating causal loop diagrams is not an end unto itself, but part of a process of articulating and communicating deeper insights about complex issues. It is pointless to begin creating a causal loop diagram without having selected a theme or issue that you wish to understand better. "To understand the implications of chang-ing from a technology-driven to a marketing-oriented strategy," for ex-ample, is a better theme than "to better understand our strategic planning process." • Time Horizon. It is also helpful to determine an appropriate time horizon for the issue-one long enough to see the dynamics play out. For a change in corporate strategy, the time horizon may span several years, while a change in advertising campaigns may be on the order of months. Time itself should not be included as a causal agent, however. After a heavy rainfall a river level steadily
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This note was uploaded on 08/18/2011 for the course ACCY 304 taught by Professor Bol during the Spring '11 term at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

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Guidelines%20for%20Drawing%20Causal%20Loop%20Diagrams -...

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