Group model building wins: The results of a comparative analysis

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

26th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society


System Dynamics Society


This paper presents clear evidence of the value of group model building for supporting group decision processes. It responds to Rouwette et al.’s (2002) challenge to take GMB assessments beyond unstructured single case descriptions that cannot be easily compared. This paper compares two parallel, real-world problem solving teams examining urban growth issues in Las Vegas, Nevada over the same two-year time period. One followed a system dynamics group model building process. The other used a more traditional group facilitation process. Data about the dynamics of discussions and the outcomes were collected from meeting transcripts, participant interviews, written documents and direct observations. The results reveal a marked difference in the content and timing of discussions over the life of each group project, strongly supporting the hypothesis that system dynamics provides a better foundation for structuring discussions, eliciting mental models, and generating sound decisions.


City planning; Group facilitation; Group Model Building (GMB); Nevada – Las Vegas; Political participation; Public participation; Public policy; System analysis


Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Public Policy | Urban Studies




Use Find in Your Library, contact the author, or use interlibrary loan to garner a copy of the article. Publisher copyright policy allows author to archive post-print (author’s final manuscript). When post-print is available or publisher policy changes, the article will be deposited

Search your library