How Managers Can Deal with Complex Issues: A Semi-Quantitative Analysis Method of Causal Loop Diagrams Based on Matrices
UZH Business Working Paper No. 323
33 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2015 Last revised: 21 Mar 2015
Date Written: November 1, 2012
The increasing complexity of the modern world creates both higher risks and new interdependencies in the socioeconomic environment. To cope with these challenges powerful new tools must be applied to find sustainable solutions. System dynamics is a field that offers potential assistance in dealing with complex issues. However, managers and politicians often lack the knowledge and necessary skills to apply quantitative methods in their decision-making process. In contrast, qualitative approaches are easily understood and handled but have limited capacities for analysis. To address this gap, we have developed a bundle of tools tailored for managers and politicians facing complex problems. These tools enable executives to recognize effective levers and assess potential consequences of specific interventions in a highly interconnected system. The approach detailed here equips decision makers with a powerful method to develop, test, and communicate strategies to find long-term sustainable solutions for complex issues in business and society.
Keywords: Causal loop diagram, semi-quantitative approach, adjacency matrix, feedback, mental model, strategic decision making
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