Abstract for: We Like Each Other – Is this the Systemic Solution for the Survival of Peer Mentoring Groups?

A recurring discussion at the annual international system dynamics conference (ISDC) is about the situation when young researchers, in most cases master students or PhD. students, decide to use system dynamics (SD) for their studies, while simultaneously lacking fundamentals in system dynamics support at their institute. One option is to attend and present at the annual ISDC. An alternative is Peer Mentoring Groups (PMGs), which have gained interest during the last decade. The participation in a PMG can be valuable for presenting work to other system dynamicists and evaluating their work, building up a scientific network or expand horizons. But why is it that, even when people find PMG useful and want to participate, many groups die out? In this paper, we describe the dynamics of PMGs and investigate the system structures that create a situation where effort and commitment decrease with each meeting, resulting in a PMG to eventually fade away. We discuss potential possibilities on how to change these “undesirable” dynamics. That is, what needs to be done so that groups do not die out. Thereby, our intention is to provide support for other PMGs as a basis for discussion for future research needed in this area.