Abstract for: Structural Control Analysis of System Dynamics Models
System Dynamics (SD) modelers sometimes may fail to determine to what extent the model is demonstrating effective system control when it is used in simulation; in particular, whether, and to what extent, each available policy handle (control inputs) can influence (which) model stocks. There is lacking a specific theoretical ground for modelers to systematically investigate the control properties of SD models. To address this problem, we translate the structural controllability theory to SD, and amplify the classic theory through the development of new applicational contents that concern special SD elements. These establishments help us (1) identify SD model variables that are control inputs; (2) examine each identified control input's distinct control capability, i.e., the ability to influence which system stocks; and (3) determine the controllability condition of each system stock, i.e., the likelihood of being influenced by which control inputs. This post-modeling workflow is summarized as the structural control analysis (SCA) of SD models. Benefits of SCA in modeling as well as managerial contexts are discussed in a series of examples.