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Abstract

We provide a background discussion of group support systems (GSS) research into aiding strategic management processes. GSS support for strategic management has been primarily focused on qualitative analysis and the communication processes surrounding strategic planning. While fully developed in common decision-support systems, powerful simulation modeling and quantitative analytical tools have been difficult to integrate into GSS system configurations because they require increased cognitive load and expert modeling support, a central problem now addressed by collaboration engineering. A conceptual and functional bridge is needed to integrate the qualitative and quantitative approaches, reduce cognitive load, and provide modeling support that does not require experts. Acar’s analytical causal mapping is introduced as a structured method for situational formulation and analysis of unstructured strategic problems. This form of causal mapping includes specific processes and analytical approaches offering cognitive modeling support for problem formulation. Its computational capabilities provide support for Systems Thinking approaches in a system easy to learn and use. Using the methodological template of the design science paradigm, we contribute a prototype system for the development and simulation of causal maps that uses RePast 2.0, a Java agent-based modeling (ABM) and simulation library.

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