Abstract for: Stakeholder Dynamics

Recent group modeling projects involving the authors have come to include eliciting stakeholder goals and the sanctions stakeholders might implement if their goals are threatened. The facilitated, computer-supported group conversations have tended to focus on discrete events (changes in system conditions that stakeholders are monitoring) and resulting stakeholder decisions (reactions intended to protect or reassert favorable conditions). The discrete character of the sequences of events and decisions emerging in these facilitated group modeling conversations creates two kinds of problems for the group modeling effort: first, they make it difficult to move to the more continuous perspective characteristic of system dynamics modeling, and second (related to the first), they tend to draw the attention of participants away from longer-term, deeper systemic issues and pressures that ought to the be the focus of strategic planning. Motivated by these concerns, this article explores stakeholder dynamics from a system dynamics perspective, with the purpose of contributing ways to facilitate group conversations at the familiar event-decision level and simultaneously to move to the level of more continuously accumulating pressures and resources underlying strategy dynamics.