Abstract for: Problem Structuring Methods in System Dynamics Modeling: a Cognitive Fit Perspective

The knowledge residing in the mental models of clients and stakeholders is considered as a crucial source of information by system dynamicists. Despite the importance of this knowledge, the theory of SD does not provide practical means for eliciting and recording it. Thus, several methods known as problem structuring methods (PSMs) have been developed and employed in the SD community to facilitate the problem situation conceptualization in group model building (GMB). Despite the growing body of literature on the application of the PSMs, limited work has been done on assessing and comparing the relative usefulness of PSMs in terms of their potential impact on problem-solving performance. In this paper, by invoking Cognitive Fit Theory, we develop a set of propositions for the analysis of the impact of PSMs on problem-solving performance. We then briefly look at two of widely used PSMs in GMB, through the lens of these propositions, indicating a number of improvement opportunities. Finally, we present Systemic Enterprise Architecture Method (SEAM) as a PSM that visually facilitates the problem situation conceptualization. We explore the usefulness of SEAM in terms of the theoretical findings on problem solving with cognitive fit by demonstrating a typical application example of problem situation conceptualization in a GMB effort.