This book introduces you to system dynamics modeling for the analysis of policy and strategy, with a focus on business and public policy applications. System dynamics is a perspective and set of conceptual tools that enable us to understand the structure and dynamics of complex systems. System dynamics is also a rigorous modeling method that enables us to build formal computer simulations of complex systems and use them to design more effective policies and organizations. Together, these tools allow us to create management flight simulators-microworlds where space and time can be compressed and slowed so we can experience the long-term side effects of decisions, speed learning, develop our understanding of complex systems, and design structures and strategies for greater success.
University and graduate-level texts, particularly those focused on business and public policy applications, have not kept pace with the growth of the field. This book is designed to provide thorough coverage of the field of system dynamics today, by examining
You will learn about the dynamics of complex systems, including the structures that create growth, goal-seeking behavior, oscillation and instability, S-shaped growth, overshoot and collapse, path dependence, and other nonlinear dynamics. Examples and applications include
and many others.
The goal of systems thinking and system dynamics modeling is to improve our understanding of the ways in which an organization's performance is related to its internal structure and operating policies, including those of customers, competitors, and suppliers and then to use that understanding to design high leverage policies for success. To do so this book utilizes
System dynamics is not a spectator sport. Developing systems thinking and modeling skills requires the active participation of you, the reader, via
The book can be used as a text in courses on systems thinking, simulation modeling, complexity, strategic thinking, operations, and industrial engineering, among others. It can be used in full or half-semester courses, executive education, and self-study. The book also serves as a reference for managers, engineers, consultants, and others interested in developing their systems thinking skills or using system dynamics in their organizations.
J. Spencer Standish Professor of Management
Director, MIT System Dynamics Group
MIT Sloan School of Management
30 Wadsworth Street
Cambridge, MA 02142