Basic Project Description
Introduction to the Modelled System
The system to be modelled in this case involves the simulation of experience transfer within a business organisation. The system can be used in different business organisations. The reason is that the experience transfer behind this model is found in almost all business entities. However, the simulated system is more suited for the property management or construction business organisations as opposed to entities operating in other sectors of the economy.
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Experience Transfer Simulation Project: Brief Background
The proposed system focuses on experiential learning. In addition, it addresses the issue of experience transfer in business firms, especially in the engineering, architecture, and construction industry. According to Le and Law (2009), a number of factors determine the profitability of organisations operating in this industry. Some of these elements include information feedback from operations, as well as maintenance and early design stages of a given project. The issues are significant to the success of organisations in this industry.
With the help of simulation of an experience transfer system, the potential for improvements in these organisations is enhanced significantly. In addition to performance-improvement, value addition in relation to future projects can be attained through experience transfer simulations.
Justification and Basis for the Selection of the System
A number of factors informed the selection of the proposed system. The framework was selected after an extensive analysis of related literature in this field. The various aspects of the system are adequately covered in a number of literary materials. A critical review of these materials provided more information about the model.
Experience Transfer: A Brief Description of the System
The components of the system include learning and knowledge factors that are essential in relation to experience transfer. According to Maani and Cavana (2000), the experience transfer system has a number of parameters. The considerations entail the conditions inhibiting and promoting experience transfer in multi-project business organisations. Such entities are those operating in the construction industry, where the management has to deal with different stakeholders. The parties, in this case, involve the client, contractors, members of staff, and such others.
The major components of the system include openness, priority, individual competence, and time. Other features of experience transfer models include, among others, curiosity, degree of awareness, and amount of experience. In relation to interactions, the experience transfer system can be viewed as elements that are based on the learning process. The proposed simulation model focuses on the transmission of skills and other elements. In addition, it entails collaborative learning between individuals. However, it is important to note that the learning system is very critical to the success of this framework (Sterman & Sterman, 2000). The behaviours modelled in the framework include individual experiential learning, organisational learning system, and external learning model. There are other factors involved depending on the level of complexity desired for the system (Zeleny 2005).
The components of the system that will be taken into consideration in this model are time, priority, openness and trust, validation, and individual competency (Maani & Cavana 2000). The factors constitute the key elements of an experiential transfer system irrespective of the type of the multi-project organisation.
According to Le and Law (2009), stakeholders are the key actors in the real-life analysis of the system. In the experience transfer model, some of the key stakeholders include, among others, learning agents. The agents are specially made up of the employees. The stakeholders can be regarded as subsystems of the ‘system’ organisation (Le & Law 2009). Decision-makers include project managers and other senior personnel, facilitating project completion in an organisation. The stakeholders are more concerned with efficiency and effectiveness. As such, their decisions affect the subsystems in a significant manner.
Experience Transfer Model: Reasons for Analysing the System
There are numerous issues faced in relation to transfer of learning and experience between multi-project business environments, such as those in the construction companies. Consequently, developing an experience transfer simulation model becomes necessary. According to Sterman and Sterman (2000), simulation refers to the imitation of a real-world system or process over time. Generating an artificial history of the system and its observation enables inferences to be drawn regarding the operating attributes of the real system. It is one of the reasons behind the simulation of the experience transfer system.
The experience transfer model simulated can be utilised in the investigation of potential benefits. For instance, the model can be used in the investigation of potential benefits, as well as the creation of initiatives for improving learning and experience transfer process. The expected outcomes for simulating a model of such a system is that experience gained from particular projects can be effectively transferred to other projects. In addition, based on this system model, computer simulations can be further produced (Zeleny 2005). Computer simulations play a critical role in the project. They make it possible to carry out controlled experiments that help to highlight the various aspects of the proposed system (Nevis, DiBella & Gould 1995).
You are required to provide the following information, conforming to the ST&M Methodology Phase 1: Problem Structuring, as per Maani & Cavana.
Problems and Elements Concerning the Proposed Project
According to Maani and Cavana (2000), many deficiencies or failures in multi-project organisations are as a result of lack of consideration for the value of users’, owners or clients in the process. Apparently, every partaker’s primary interest is protecting their own work or business. Consequently, little interest is accorded to the improvement of the overall project improvement.
In addition, such limited behaviour results in marginal learning, as well as experience transfer (Zeleny 2005). Considering the fierce price competition in businesses today, counter-productivity in relation to cooperation becomes the norm.
According to Maani and Cavana (2000), a number of firms have in the past engaged in experience transfer. Such entities also focus on knowledge management. However, an issue arises whereby the organisations make or repeat the same mistakes, in even the standardised activities or projects.
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Preliminary Information and Data
In the contemporary business organisations, abilities of designing, analysis, experimentation, evaluation and synthesis are becoming more relevant. In addition, leadership and managerial qualities are also becoming increasingly necessary.
The following system seeks to simulate a model that can facilitate the transfer of experience between individuals and their organisations. Since the model portrays the development of a new system, preliminary data with regard to the same could not be obtained.
Causal Loop Modelling for the Project
You are required to provide the following information, conforming to the ST&M Methodology Phase 2: Causal loop modelling, as per Maani & Cavana
Experience Transfer Project: Key Variables
Key variables are reflected in the causal loop diagram of the system. The key variables for the experience transfer system include the degree of a collaborative culture. Other variables include willingness for public reflection, joint-experimentation, and insight.
Factors such as the potential for conflict, fear of failure, degree of diverse viewpoints, and conflict avoidance influence the key variables of the system. Other factors affecting the key variables include blame game or defensive behaviours, and expectations.
In order that factors involved with collaborative culture are incorporated, other parameters included here are priority and openness. Individual awareness or competence, and shortage of time are other factors facilitating this course. According to Maani and Cavana (2000), the level of complexity with regard to the key attributes identified for the system relies on the actual needs of any one particular organisation. Based on these key variables, the causal loop diagram can be drawn.
Causal Loop Diagram for the Project
Le and Law (2009) provide a working definition of these diagrams. According to Le and Law (2009), the illustrations are some of the various elements associated with systems thinking. In addition, they illustrate how different variables affect one another. The diagrams are made up of causal connections. The connections are illustrated using links between the various variables.
Causal loop diagrams show how a particular variable affects another one. The reason is that the relationship between these elements has a polarity, which is either positive or negative (Sterman & Sterman 2000; Zeleny 2005).
Experience transfer system causal loop diagram can be depicted as follows:
Source: Le and Law (2009, p. 198).
Experience Transfer Model: Loop Behaviour Over Time Analysis
Causal loops make the understanding as well as handling of the selected parameters much easier, in relation to experience transfer through decomposing complex issues. Determining the crucial parameters and deciding on their level of adequacy to the system presents a major challenge.
Noteworthy here is that the system parameters change as a result of focusing upon the model users. The model indicates that priority, time, individual competence, and openness are critical elements (Zeleny 2005). The factors affect both situational and fragmented learning in the model (Zeleny 2005).
The simulation indicates that operationalisation and maintenance of occurrences are not affected by these factors (Zeleny 2005). However, they do react in the model as envisaged. In addition, it is apparent from the simulation that increment in openness, time, individual competence and priority, positively impacts on the outcome. Total generation of experience in subsequent projects does increase as well.
Experience transfer systems can be regarded as relatively new developments. Consequently, there are no system archetypes as such.
Key Leverage Points
The simulation of the experience transfer system provides a strategic advantage whereby all the significant factors facilitating and impeding the same are identified. The key variables of the system provide organisations with critical factors that require manipulation for optimal outcomes.
Development and Analysis of Intervention Approaches
The simulated experience transfer system utilises systems dynamics in exploring the transfer of the same in multi-project organisation environments. Essentially, a collaboration between individuals, as well as organisations, is critical. Such collaborations enable aggregation of the entire organisational knowledge. Since learning barriers are many-sided, collaborative learning and experience transfer can enable overcome underperformance due to incompetence.
According to Maani and Cavana (2000), fragmented and role constrained education are significant factors. They impact significantly on experience transfer. According to Zeleny (2005), under constrained learning, individuals gain skills. However, their position in the enterprise denies them the chance to utilise this knowledge (Nevis et al. 1995). Combining the various methods of learning under the proposed experience transfer system is an ideal strategy that can be used to enhance productivity. Skills and experience among individuals and organisations are utilised for the benefit of the enterprise.
Le, M & Law, K 2009, A system dynamic approach for simulation of experience transfer in the AEC industry, Web.
Maani, K & Cavana, R 2000, Systems thinking and modelling: understanding change and complexity, Pearson Education, New Zealand.
Nevis, E, DiBella, A & Gould, J 1995, ‘Understanding organisations as learning systems’, Sloan Management Review, vol. 36 no. 2, pp. 73-85.
Sterman, J & Sterman, D 2000, Business dynamics: systems thinking and modelling for a complex world, McGraw-Hill/Irwin, Boston.
Zeleny, M 2005, Human systems management: integrating knowledge management and systems, World Scientific Publishing Company Inc., Singapore.