The System Dynamics Modelling Approach

The Salford team sought to understand how the construction sector works internally and as a part of a larger environment in order to produce useful insights. Hard variables (e.g., company records) and soft variables (e.g., company reputation) were modelled.

System Dynamics Models

System Dynamics is a simulation tool specially designed to address policy issues, through understanding delays, feedback and non-linear relationships between variables.

Requiring no specialist knowledge from the workshop participant, the Salford Team can build a model(s) to examine how policy decisions and system structure may affect the future dynamic performance of your firm.

Often we start by exploring collective mental models and this allows causal diagrams to be constructed.These diagrams are extended based upon interviews and discussions before formal computer-based simulations are enabled. Simulations allow you to rehearse and contemplate the possible consequences of policy interventions.

The Salford Team has built a series of models during the research project:

  1. Competing contractors in a generic contracting market
  2. Employment and skill requirements for the UK construction sector
  3. Commercial property firms liquidity and ability to succeed

In addition to these original models there have been models built during workshops to examine flexible working hours, specialist working teams, office numbers in a given region and more.

Policy decisions can be explored through the simulations to gain insight into the possible implications of these policies in both the long and short term. The chances of unexpected behaviour occurring can be minimised.

Please click here to view some more detailed examples.