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Modeling for Learning Organizations

by John D.W. Morecroft and John D. Sterman, eds., 1994, Productivity Press, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A., 400 p., US$45.

This is a collection of timely and quality articles about system dynamics, the discipline of using mathematical models to understand and predict the behavior of complex systems.

It includes articles by Jay Forrester (credited with inventing and popularizing system dynamics) and Peter Senge (author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization).

The theme is using models for individual and organizational learning. Most articles describe an application of learning laboratories or management flight simulators. They give workshop teams real-to-life experience in running a business. For example, the People's Express flight simulator lets participants set pricing, staffing, etc., in attempting to successfully manage this airline. [The real People's Express grew too quickly to maintain acceptable service quality.]

'Learning takes place when people discover for themselves contradictions between observed behavior and their perceptions of how the "world" should operate.'

--Moorecroft, p. 4

In addition to describing modeling practice, the book contains descriptions of modeling software designed for system dynamics: DYSMAP2, Dynamo, ithink!, PowerSim, STELLA and Vensim.

I highly recommend this book to persons interested in understanding the application of modeling as a learning vehicle. It is available from:

This book is part of the publisher's series about system dynamics.

Good reading! --John Schuyler June 4, 1996