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Systems 2015, 3(4), 264-286; doi:10.3390/systems3040264

The Effect of a Structured Method on Mental Model Accuracy and Performance in a Complex Task

Chair of Management Accounting, RWTH School of Business & Economics, RWTH Aachen University, Templergraben 55, Aachen 52066, Germany
Academic Editors: Andreas Größler and Hendrik Stouten
Received: 27 August 2015 / Revised: 2 November 2015 / Accepted: 10 November 2015 / Published: 13 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Decision Making in Controlled Experiments)
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Abstract

In comparison to their performance with normative standards or even simple heuristics, humans do not perform well in complex decision-making. The application of systems thinking to help people to understand and handle interdependent and complex systems is proposed as a means of improving this poor performance. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of a generic systems thinking method, i.e., a structured method, on performance. A laboratory experiment was conducted using a dynamic and complex simulation task. The results demonstrated that subjects provided with a structured method achieved a higher performance. In addition, mental model accuracy had a significant effect on performance, as already shown by several previous studies. The results of our study provide a way of teaching subjects how to improve their performance when coping with complex systems in general. This has implications for education in the fields of complex systems and system dynamics. View Full-Text
Keywords: experiment; mental model; systems thinking; complex problem making experiment; mental model; systems thinking; complex problem making
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bußwolder, P. The Effect of a Structured Method on Mental Model Accuracy and Performance in a Complex Task. Systems 2015, 3, 264-286.

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