Special Issue "Theory and Practice in System Dynamics Modelling"

A special issue of Systems (ISSN 2079-8954).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Vladimír Bureš

Faculty of Informatics and Management, University of Hradec Králové, Rokitanského 62, 50003 Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
Website | E-Mail
Interests: systems engineering; system dynamics; information management; knowledge management; theory of systems; business informatics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

System dynamics has reached its seventh decade of existence. During the previous six decades, it has helped to improve our understanding of the world around us in various domains, such as business, economics, environment, health, human behavior, information and knowledge management, public policy, security, strategic decision-making, and learning and teaching. System dynamics applies to dynamic problems arising in complex social, economic, biological, ecological, or even technical systems. Literally, any system characterized by interdependence, mutual interaction of its parts, feedbacks with embedded non-linearity, delays, or circular causality, are subjects of interest. The field developed initially from the work of Jay W. Forrester, focused on industrial dynamics. However, nowadays, system dynamics represents a methodological approach, for which tools and techniques have already been developed and applied by academicians, consultants, practitioners, educators, managers or policy makers. Together with significant results in particular fields, growing interest in system dynamics also brings challenges related to the research and application of related tools.  This Special Issue invites papers covering a broad range of topics, ranging from methodological issues to application case studies. We will accept papers for peer review in the following areas of interest:

  • Case studies from various domains based on robust and strict methodology
  • Analysis of feedback loops
  • Comparative analysis with other modelling approaches
  • Computer simulations
  • Identification of generic structures or system archetypes
  • Advances of system dynamics methods and tools for more appropriate analysis of system behavior
  • Issues related to modelling and simulation of hard or soft systems
  • Strategies and procedures applicable in modelling and simulations
  • Application of systems thinking in practice
  • Capturing of dynamics in mental models
  • Teaching and learning of system dynamics
  • Software packages for system dynamics modelling

Dr. Vladimír Bureš
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Systems is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • System dynamics
  • Simulation and modelling
  • Mental model
  • Feedback loop
  • Hard and soft systems
  • System structure and behavior
  • Stock-and-flow diagram
  • Causal-loop diagram
  • System dynamics software packages

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Utility Perception in System Dynamics Models
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 13 September 2018 / Accepted: 26 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
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Abstract
The utility perceived by individuals is believed to be different from the utility experienced by that individual. System dynamicists implicitly categorize this phenomenon as a form of bounded rationality, and traditionally employ an exponential smoothing function to capture it. We challenge this generalization
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The utility perceived by individuals is believed to be different from the utility experienced by that individual. System dynamicists implicitly categorize this phenomenon as a form of bounded rationality, and traditionally employ an exponential smoothing function to capture it. We challenge this generalization by testing it against an alternative formulation of utility perception that is suggested by modern theories of behavioral sciences. In particular, the traditional smoothing formulation is compared with the peak–end rule in a simple theoretical model as well as in a medium-size model of electronic health records implementation. Experimentation with the models reveals that the way in which utility perception is formulated is important, and is likely to affect behavior and policy implications of system dynamics models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory and Practice in System Dynamics Modelling)
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Open AccessArticle A System Dynamics Model of the Adoption of Improved Agricultural Inputs in Uganda, with Insights for Systems Approaches to Development
Received: 9 April 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 8 August 2018
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Abstract
Designing international development projects is challenging because the complexity of the systems on which they act makes it difficult to identify the best leverage points for intervention. This paper seeks to identify the best combinations of interventions to increase the availability of and
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Designing international development projects is challenging because the complexity of the systems on which they act makes it difficult to identify the best leverage points for intervention. This paper seeks to identify the best combinations of interventions to increase the availability of and demand for quality seeds in Uganda and similar markets. A system dynamics model simulates the current dynamics in Ugandan seed markets based on data gathered by ongoing development projects. The findings show that one intervention is critical to enabling growth—investing in a system for verifying the quality of seeds—and that a combination of quality verification with education-oriented interventions is more powerful than quality verification alone. The results have implications for systems approaches to development: they suggest that a combination of interventions in different parts of the value chain enables larger changes than any single intervention alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory and Practice in System Dynamics Modelling)
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Open AccessArticle Application of Emerging-State Actor Theory: Analysis of Intervention and Containment Policies
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 15 May 2018 / Published: 20 May 2018
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Abstract
Our research builds upon a theory of emerging-state actors. We look to apply the theory in analyzing intervention and containment policies to use against emerging-state actors, using the Islamic State of Syria & Iraqi (ISIS) as the case study. We show utility across
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Our research builds upon a theory of emerging-state actors. We look to apply the theory in analyzing intervention and containment policies to use against emerging-state actors, using the Islamic State of Syria & Iraqi (ISIS) as the case study. We show utility across four military applications of simulation: understanding, forecasting and responding to adversary and societal behavior; understanding enemy command and control structures; and analyzing, forecasting and planning courses-of-action (COA). To do this, we created two baseline scenarios—one replicating the historical foreign intervention against ISIS and a counter-factual where no foreign intervention occurred. We then conducted a suite of experiments on contemporary military intervention policies in isolation, combination, at different timing windows and under hypothetical “best case” conditions as well as operationally constrained. Insights of these experiments’ tests include the influence of ethnographic envelopes, timing windows, the importance of actor legitimacy and the marginally diminishing returns of combat actions. Finally, we test a policy based on emerging-state actor theory incorporating these insights against the contemporary policies, historical baseline and two falsification policies. The emerging-state actor COA performs significantly better than others. Our research contributes a simulation, called the Emerging-State Actor Model (E-SAM). This simulation includes military, economic, political, social and information aspects (known asDIME-PMESII simulations) for both researchers and military planners concerned with irregular conflict. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory and Practice in System Dynamics Modelling)
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Open AccessArticle Theory of an Emerging-State Actor: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Case
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 27 April 2018 / Published: 18 May 2018
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Abstract
This paper proposes a new theory of non-state actors who engage in irregular warfare to seize territory and govern openly, called emerging-state actors. Emerging-state actors arise in periods of irregular conflict, such as the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The
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This paper proposes a new theory of non-state actors who engage in irregular warfare to seize territory and govern openly, called emerging-state actors. Emerging-state actors arise in periods of irregular conflict, such as the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The theory tries to answer “what is/was” the Islamic State because emerging-state actors differ notably from other non-state actors and insurgencies in irregular conflict. Causal diagrams as well as key propositions present the theory. Testing occurs against a system dynamics simulation called the “Emerging-State Actor Model” (E-SAM), loaded with the ISIS historical case in Syria and Iraq. Through experiments the simulation confirms evidence of emerging-state actor behavior as well as a range of contingencies showing their applicability. The novelty of E-SAM as a simulation for irregular conflict is its ability to handle multiple forms of conflict including political grievance, terrorism, insurgencies and emerging-state actors. E-SAM can also simulate multiple actors within each conflict: domestic and foreign state actors, local conflict actors, as well as different ethnographic groups. It can be parameterized with scenarios to simulate a variety of scenarios: ISIS in Libya, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Taliban in Afghanistan and even expatriated ISIS fighters returning to pursue new conflicts such as in Indonesia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory and Practice in System Dynamics Modelling)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Reflections on Teaching System Dynamics Modeling to Secondary School Students for over 20 Years
Received: 21 February 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
This paper contains the description of a successful system dynamics (SD) modeling approach used for almost a quarter-century in secondary schools, both in algebra classes and in a year-long SD modeling course. Secondary school students have demonstrated an ability to build original models
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This paper contains the description of a successful system dynamics (SD) modeling approach used for almost a quarter-century in secondary schools, both in algebra classes and in a year-long SD modeling course. Secondary school students have demonstrated an ability to build original models from the news, write technical papers explaining their models, and present a newfound understanding of dynamic feedback behavior to an audience. The educational learning theory and instructional methods used for both the algebra and modeling courses are detailed, with examples. Successful student SD modeling experiences suggest the SD approach can expand the sophistication of topics that secondary school students can understand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory and Practice in System Dynamics Modelling)
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Open AccessArticle Veterinary Telemedicine: A System Dynamics Case Study
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 15 February 2018
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Abstract
Veterinary telemedicine has existed since the late 1990s. Various scholars have predicted its growth, others its decline. We constructed a system dynamics model of a veterinary telemedicine company providing services in one specialty in the industry. The model showed that severe shortages of
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Veterinary telemedicine has existed since the late 1990s. Various scholars have predicted its growth, others its decline. We constructed a system dynamics model of a veterinary telemedicine company providing services in one specialty in the industry. The model showed that severe shortages of specialists would limit growth in that, even with extensive marketing efforts. This limitation is likely to hold in other aspects of veterinary telemedicine. The paper concludes with recommendations for the company and the industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory and Practice in System Dynamics Modelling)
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Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper How to Disable Mortal Loops of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Implementation: A System Dynamics Analysis
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract
Successful Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation depends upon various factors known as critical success factors (CSFs). This study developed a system dynamics model of ERP implementation based on CSFs to discuss ERP implementation complexities, which identifies the effect of CSF interrelations on different
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Successful Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation depends upon various factors known as critical success factors (CSFs). This study developed a system dynamics model of ERP implementation based on CSFs to discuss ERP implementation complexities, which identifies the effect of CSF interrelations on different aspects of ERP project failure. Based on the model hypothesis, CSF interrelations include many causal loop dependencies. Some of these causal loops are called mortal loops, because they may cause the failure of risk reduction efforts to a more severe failure in effect of lack of system thinking on CSFs interrelations. This study discusses how system thinking works as a leverage point for overcoming ERP implementation challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory and Practice in System Dynamics Modelling)
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