Abstract for: Mapping stakeholder’s mental models of complex systems with M-Tool

Mental models, or internal representations that structure an external environment, facilitate the interpretation of complex systems and guide individual decision-making. Understanding mental models of systems can therefore help identify barriers to effective system management. This workshop introduces a new tool to measure stakeholder’s mental models of any complex system. This tool is the first to offer a standardized approach for eliciting mental models to 1) compare mental models between stakeholders, 2) compare mental models with the true state of a system, 3) measure a change in mental models over time, or 4) simply to start a conversation between stakeholders on the functioning of a system and how to address challenges within the system. This tool therefore allows system dynamics researchers to broaden their system research by representing stakeholders’ views of the system of interest. This free and open-access tool can be tailored to the researcher’s needs to capture perceptions of any system, and allows researchers to adapt both the task and instructions. The workshop will give participants a clear idea on how the tool can benefit system dynamics research, how to use the software, and provides participants the opportunity to explore how they can use M-Tool for their own research.