Abstract for: Does it work everywhere? Group Model Building as participative method in intercultural perspective

Group Model Building (GMB) is a type of facilitated modeling, in which the input of the participants to structuring a complex problem is crucial. There is a high level of participant interaction and involvement. The method focuses on open communication between participants to gain insight in complex problem and to foster consensus. Herewith the facilitators aim to create commitment to the results and proposed leverages for change. However, GMB was developed in the Netherlands and the United States, and therefore also mainly implemented there. These countries are characterized by a small power distance and a large acceptance of participative ways of working. The question is whether the GMB method also works in contexts with a large power distance and where participative ways of working are less common. This paper aims to contribute to knowledge about the role of power distance as cultural context in the efficiency of GMB, by comparing the results of GMB interventions in various countries which differ in terms of national power distance. Our results show that the GMB effects on communication, learning and consensus are comparable in different cultural contexts. Participants from countries characterized by high power distance experience strongest contributions of the intervention to commitment.