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Navigating towards sustainable development: A system dynamics approach

Hjorth, Peder LU and Bagheri, Ali LU (2006) In Futures 38(1). p.74-92
Abstract
Traditional fragmented and mechanistic science is unable to cope with issues about sustainability, as these are often related to complex, self-organizing systems. In the paper, sustainable development is seen as an unending process defined neither by fixed goals nor by specific means of achieving them. It is argued that, in order to understand the sources of and the solutions to modern problems, linear and mechanistic thinking must give way to non-linear and organic thinking, more commonly referred to as systems thinking. System Dynamics, which operates in a whole-system fashion, is put forward as a powerful methodology to deal with issues of sustainability. Examples of successful applications are given.



Any system in... (More)
Traditional fragmented and mechanistic science is unable to cope with issues about sustainability, as these are often related to complex, self-organizing systems. In the paper, sustainable development is seen as an unending process defined neither by fixed goals nor by specific means of achieving them. It is argued that, in order to understand the sources of and the solutions to modern problems, linear and mechanistic thinking must give way to non-linear and organic thinking, more commonly referred to as systems thinking. System Dynamics, which operates in a whole-system fashion, is put forward as a powerful methodology to deal with issues of sustainability. Examples of successful applications are given.



Any system in which humans are involved is characterized by the following essential system properties: Bounded rationality, limited certainty, limited predictability, indeterminate causality, and evolutionary change. We need to resort to an adaptive approach, where we go through a learning process and modify our decision rules and our mental models of the real world as we go along. This will enable us to improve system performance by setting dynamic improvement goals (moving targets) for it.



Finally, it is demonstrated how causal loop diagrams can be used to find the leverage points of a system. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Futures
volume
38
issue
1
pages
74 - 92
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000234289200006
  • scopus:29744467226
ISSN
0016-3287
DOI
10.1016/j.futures.2005.04.005
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a65d93fc-51aa-4f72-9d78-c6bdad4b63b9 (old id 1003241)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 16:50:21
date last changed
2020-10-11 03:02:28
@article{a65d93fc-51aa-4f72-9d78-c6bdad4b63b9,
  abstract     = {Traditional fragmented and mechanistic science is unable to cope with issues about sustainability, as these are often related to complex, self-organizing systems. In the paper, sustainable development is seen as an unending process defined neither by fixed goals nor by specific means of achieving them. It is argued that, in order to understand the sources of and the solutions to modern problems, linear and mechanistic thinking must give way to non-linear and organic thinking, more commonly referred to as systems thinking. System Dynamics, which operates in a whole-system fashion, is put forward as a powerful methodology to deal with issues of sustainability. Examples of successful applications are given.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Any system in which humans are involved is characterized by the following essential system properties: Bounded rationality, limited certainty, limited predictability, indeterminate causality, and evolutionary change. We need to resort to an adaptive approach, where we go through a learning process and modify our decision rules and our mental models of the real world as we go along. This will enable us to improve system performance by setting dynamic improvement goals (moving targets) for it.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Finally, it is demonstrated how causal loop diagrams can be used to find the leverage points of a system.},
  author       = {Hjorth, Peder and Bagheri, Ali},
  issn         = {0016-3287},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {74--92},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Futures},
  title        = {Navigating towards sustainable development: A system dynamics approach},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2005.04.005},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.futures.2005.04.005},
  volume       = {38},
  year         = {2006},
}