Abstract for: Irrelevance, irrationality and irresponsibility, the three curses of the organizational use of System Dynamics

The System Dynamics (SD) community seems to agree that using formal modeling and simulation approaches like SD enables understanding and insights about complex dynamical problems. Agreement extends further on to the hypothesis that most real world problems are complex dynamical problems. So logic seems to imply that SD should be useful for solving such problems. The aim of this paper is to raise serious doubts about the validity of this hypothesis in a corporate context as practical experience often tells stories that coalesce around phenomena like: irrelevance, irrationality and irresponsibility. Practitioners are therefore often ridden by deep frustrations and doubts about the moral and intellectual capacity of there clients. Therefore, a critical distanced perspective on these phenomena seems to be of great need. The paper provides such a perspective based on sociological thinking and tries to generate some recommendations that might increase chances to circumvent the above phenomena, e.g. (a) SD based interventions must be part of a bigger process, (b) systemic context awareness in SD based intervention is key, (c) a robust understanding of organizations and their inner logic is a must and (d) a clear understanding of what such interventions can contribute to this logic is without alternative.