Abstract for: ACT Water Management: A System Dynamics Based Learning Intervention

Since the inception of System Dynamics aims to foster in-depth understandings of complex, dynamic problems with the aim of improving learning and decision making at the individual and organizational levels. Whilst considered by many to be a mature discipline, SD still falls short of being universally accepted as a decision making tool. Arguably wider acceptance is inhibited by; how decision makers think about complex problems, and challenges in demonstrating the validity of the developed models, and hence building confidence in those models and the strategies developed from them. Evaluative research is necessary to further investigate the ways decision makers think about complex problems and the utility of SD interventions. This research uses a two-phase methodology to test, at both holistic and feature levels, a SD intervention designed for investigating how managers and consumers make decisions which impact upon the limited water resources of a confined geographical territory. At the holistic level changes to patterns of water consumption arising from re-framing the mental models of the stakeholders will be investigated. At the feature level, an experimental study will test how model transparency affect understanding the problem structure.