Abstract for: Case study and system dynamics research: Complementarities, pluralism and evolutionary theory development

This paper explores the complementary use of system dynamics and case study research methodology for process theory development. The rationale for this is provided on the grounds of the limitations of human cognition, particularly in understanding the evolution of complex non linear systems and processes in time. This poses difficulties when attempting to arrive at causal mechanisms for phenomena of interest with some confidence. Viewing research as an evolutionary process where better explanations are continuously sought, generated, selected and retained, simulation can be of use both in increasing the range of alternatives considered and serving as a concrete background against which the selection process takes place, thus facilitating the attainment of a satisfactory level of system understanding. Modelling and simulation has the added benefit of providing a documented artifact through which conclusions are reached and consequently it allows for replication or at least a thorough review.