Abstract for: Object use as a framework to study model use in group model building

This study presents a framework for considering group model-building focusing on the different ‘object roles’ (boundary object, epistemic object, representational object & technical object) which the model can take during the group development process based on its use in facilitating communication, enabling learning, policy evaluation, etc. The framework is applied in the evaluation of parallel modelling observations and follow-up interviews for two model-building exercises covering the same health-sector problem and decision area. While both adopted the same basic facilitated multi-meeting expert group model-building process, this paper considers the differences in the modelling and the model role which result from the difference in the expert group participation and the expected users of the resulting model. The use of the model shifted over the development cycle as well across the two observed parallel projects. Among the initial results highlighted in the paper is the locally-built model for internal-use being characterised by more of a role for knowledge sharing and knowledge creation and how the national tool-building exercise reflected the technical and representational roles for the model. This was based on two factors: intended final usage mode for the resulting model and the characteristics of the experts brought in for the two exercises.