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Courses

System Dynamics, University of Warwick, 2nd - 4th July 2018

Outline for Day 1 

PRELIMINARY READINGS 

Software requirements

  • Vensim PLE Software Download link and brief intro to the simulation software– Please, read the document, install the software in your laptop and follow the brief exercise.
  • Selected readings from Sterman (200) Business Dynamics, McGraw Hill.

Please note that preliminary reading will be available on-line in advance of the course.

PRINCIPAL TOPICS OF STUDY

Introduction to System Dynamics
We start with a brief introduction to the main software to develop System Dynamics model: Vensim. The basic building blocks of system dynamics modelling are introduced. We then use modelling and simulation to explore common structures in System Dynamics. A workshop in the laboratory provides hands-on experience of a simulator and the software used to create it.

FOLLOW-UP READINGS

  • Gary, S, Kunc, M, Morecroft J and Rockart, S. 2008. System Dynamics and Strategy. System Dynamics Review 24: 407–430
  • Kunc, M. 2016.
  • Kunc, M. 2017.

Please note that follow-up readings will be posted on-line after the course.

Outline for Day 2

The purpose of this day is to introduce to system dynamics (SD) and illustrate its use within the field of operational research, to develop models about the strategic end of operations.  The day includes lectures, simulation workshops and a selection of applied research topics.

During the course as-a-whole students will learn enough about system dynamics to appreciate how it might apply to their own research interests. Options for follow-up courses will also be discussed.

PRELIMINARY READINGS 

  • Forrester (1995) The beginning of system dynamics, McKinsey Quarterly, 1995, 4, 4-16.

  • iThink 10.1 Software Download Link – Please, read the document and install the software in your laptop.

Please note that preliminary reading will be available on-line in advance of the course.

PRINCIPAL TOPICS OF STUDY

Introduction to System Dynamics
We start with a brief history of system dynamics and the feedback view of firms and society.  The basic building blocks of system dynamics modelling are introduced.  We then use modelling and simulation to examine long term dynamics of investment decision making.  A workshop provides hands-on experience of a simulator and the software used to create it.

System Dynamics and Differential Equations
A workshop to build and interpret a tiny system dynamics model whose cyclical dynamics are equivalent to the sinusoidal solution of a second-order linear differential equation.  The model illustrates a key idea in SD that ‘feedback structure gives rise to dynamic behaviour’.

Research Applications of System Dynamics
A glimpse of published research that applies system dynamics modelling and simulation to corporate diversification, an important topic in the strategy area.  Then there is a discussion of how to communicate model-based simulation studies to other academics.

FOLLOW-UP VIDEO

  • Video:  Morecroft (2009), Reflections on System Dynamics and Strategy, a lecture originally delivered at Worcester Polytechnic Institute WPI in Massachusetts.  The lecture is now on YouTube and can be found by Googling ‘System Dynamics and Strategy’. 

FOLLOW-UP READINGS

  • Morecroft (1999), Management attitudes, learning and scale in successful diversification, Journal of the Operational Research Society, 50, 4, 315-336.

  • Repenning (2003), Selling system dynamics to (other) social scientists, System Dynamics Review, 19, 4, 303-327.

  • Kunc and Morecroft (2010), Managerial Decision-Making and Firm Performance Under a Resource-Based Paradigm, Strategic Management Journal, 31(11), 1164-1180, 2010.

    Please note that follow-up readings will be posted on-line after the course

Outline for Day 3

A discussion of System Dynamics with respect to how to optimise System Dynamics models. There are two basic uses of optimization in System Dynamics. First, models can be optimized for the calibration of parameters against data. Second, policies can be optimized using different payoffs functions. A demonstration on how to implement optimisation will be offered.

A discussion of using System Dynamics as part of hybrid models will be offered. Hybrid models are becoming mainstream due to the existence of more flexible software. Hybrid models involve combining System Dynamics, Discrete Event Simulation and Agent Based Model. Presentation of recent works and explanation of the methods to develop hybrid models will be offered.

Finally, applications of System Dynamics in promising areas: Healthcare and Behavioural Operational Research are discussed.

PRELIMINARY READINGS   

  • Selected chapters in Rahmandad, H., Oliva, R., Osgood, N.D. and Richardson, G., 2015. Analytical Methods for Dynamic Modelers. MIT Press.
  • Selected chapters in Kunc, M., Malpass, J., White, L. (Eds.), 2016. Behavioral Operational Research: Theory, Methodology and Practice . Palgrave
  • Morgan, J.S., Howick, S. and Belton, V., 2017. A toolkit of designs for mixing Discrete Event Simulation and System Dynamics. European Journal of Operational Research, 257(3), pp.907-918.
  • Rahmandad, H. and Sterman, J., 2008. Heterogeneity and network structure in the dynamics of diffusion: Comparing agent-based and differential equation models. Management Science, 54(5), pp.998-1014.
  • Viana, J., Brailsford, S.C., Harindra, V. and Harper, P.R., 2014. Combining discrete-event simulation and system dynamics in a healthcare setting: A composite model for Chlamydia infection. European Journal of Operational Research, 237(1), pp.196-206.

PRINCIPAL TOPICS OF STUDY 

Methodological aspects of using Optimisation and System Dynamics.
Methodological aspects of using System Dynamics in hybrid models.
A brief discussion of System Dynamics use in behavioural research and healthcare.

  • Start Date: 02/07/2018
  • End Date: 04/07/2018
  • Location: University of Warwick
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