From Childhood Poverty to Catfish: A Conceptual Participatory Modelling Framework for Strategic Decision Making

From Childhood Poverty to Catfish: A Conceptual Participatory Modelling Framework for Strategic Decision Making

France Cheong (RMIT University, Australia) and Brian J. Corbitt (RMIT University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/jsds.2010070102
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Strategic decision makers are frequently faced with unstructured problems that cannot be solved adequately by analytical means. In such situations, a better decision-making approach is one based on stakeholders’ participation. A particular form of such an approach is known as participatory modelling, whereby participatory methods are used for knowledge elicitation while simulation modelling techniques are used to determine optimal strategies. In this paper, the authors discuss a participatory modelling framework using agent-based modelling and System Dynamics, which illustrates the use of the framework for two projects. These projects include participatory agent-based modelling of childhood poverty in Vietnam, and participatory System Dynamics modelling of the Vietnamese catfish industry.
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2. Participatory Strategic Decision Making Using Simulation Modelling

2.1 Participatory Decision Making

A participatory decision making approach is one in which members of the public and/or stakeholders of the system being investigated participate in some ways in the decision making process. There exists a variety of participatory methodologies for public participation ranging from passive participation (information about already made plans and decisions are communicated to the public) to active participation (Giupponi, Mysiak, & Sgobbi, 2008). In active participatory research, members of a community identify a problem, collect and analyse data and act upon the problem to find solutions and promote social and political transformations (Selener, 1997). The rationale for participation is that the public is more likely to accept a policy when they are consulted beforehand or when they take an active part in the definition of the policy. Since decisions are based on shared knowledge and vision as well as experiences, scientific evidence or subjective but informed judgements, participatory approaches have the potential to improve decision making (Giupponi et al., 2008). Furthermore, a participatory approach has the potential to promote the social learning (Bandura, 1977) needed for an in-depth analysis capable of accommodating the breadth and depth that characterise the scope and complexity of social and environmental systems. Information emerging from an active participatory process is constantly checked for accuracy by feeding it back to the persons who provided it and by cross-checking with other stakeholders for agreement.

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