Abstract for: Strategic Workforce Planning: How do companies implement and operate system dynamics models?

Strategic workforce planning (SWP) is a process that seeks to assess the risks related to human resource (HR) required to achieve strategic goals. Such planning requires a dynamic approach due to the lagging nature of HR decisions in contrast to the fast-paced business environment. System dynamics (SD) is a method that can facilitate such a complex planning on an ongoing basis. However, it is unknown how SD models can be implemented and operated on an ongoing basis or what impacts on relating activities. This study explores how companies implement and operate SD models as integrated SD tools and whether there are any impacting factors that need to be considered when doing so. A qualitative multi-case study design was used, partnering with a SWP consultancy firm. The analysis of collected data provides a rich description of the implementation and operation process and identifies factors that impact on these processes. The main findings are that SD models can indeed be successfully anchored in organisations and be used on an ongoing basis. However, there are many factors that potentially influence the success rate of such an undertaking. A preliminary process map is introduced and forms the basis for future research and practical recommendations.