Abstract for:Understanding the value and effectiveness of participatory system dynamics interventions in cross-cultural contexts: Proposal for a realist review

Participatory system dynamics (SD) interventions can be broadly framed as a family of related methodologies that are grounded in the principles of system dynamics, with an explicit focus on engaging multiple stakeholders in a group process to understand and/or change systems. While two main systematic reviews have been undertaken thus far in analyzing the literature on effectiveness of group model building interventions (Rouwette, Vennix, & van Mullekon, 2002; Scott, Cavana & Cameron, 2016), neither had an explicit explanatory focus to develop a theory of participatory SD interventions that can explicate how stakeholder participation and model-based learning occurs in diverse, cross-cultural contexts, thus creating a research gap in the formulation of a more coherent theory of action (Kulhberg, 2017).The present study aims to use a realist review methodology to develop a more coherent theory of participatory SD interventions as applied in diverse, cross-cultural contexts. A realist review method was selected as the most appropriate technique for analyzing the heterogeneity of participatory SD practices as it is best known for its pluralist and flexible mode of enquiry to systematically explore the contextual influence on the outcomes of complex social interventions (Pawson, Greenhalgh, Harvey, & Walshe, 2005; Wong, Greenhalgh, Westhorp, Buckingham, & Pawson, 2013).