Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1277–1318 | Cite as

Evaluating Facilitated Modelling Processes and Outcomes: An Experiment Comparing a Single and a Multimethod Approach in Group Model Building

  • Hugo J. HerreraEmail author
  • Marleen H. F. McCardle-Keurentjes
  • Nuno Videira


Facilitated modelling approaches have been suggested as helpful tools to support negotiation in strategic analysis processes due to their potential to facilitate cognitive change and enhance consensus and commitment with final decisions. In the present research, we developed an experimental framework to compare what two of these approaches, that is, group model building and a multimethod approach, contribute to the process and outcomes in the negotiation of strategies. In the multimethod approach, we combined strategic options development and analysis with computer simulations of the group model building approach. We explored the differences between these two modelling approaches in facilitating cognitive change, consensus and commitment by building an experimental research design with real clients, working on their organisation’s problem. Furthermore, we compared the type and content of participants’ contributions in the strategic conversation. The lessons from the experiment conducted are twofold. On one hand, the multimethod approach encouraged more divergent contributions and produced a higher degree of cognitive change than group model building (i.e., the single approach). On the other hand, group model building encouraged more contributions about content related to causes of the problem and enhanced more commitment to the final solution than the multimethod approach. Hence, the conducted experiment brings new insights into the benefits of using multimethods and possible losses resulting from such combinations. Accordingly, we have presented opportunities for further research regarding the combination of facilitated modelling approaches.


System dynamics Group model building Strategic options development analysis Facilitated modelling Group decision support systems Strategic consensus Experimental research Evaluation 



We appreciate the effort and support of the two organisations, participating in the experiment, in particular, of the 18 participants of the workshops. We also want to recognise the value contribution of the six students of the European Master in System Dynamics who collaborated in this research as recorders. This paper is part of the research carried out by the first author under the European Master in System Dynamics programme hosted by Bergen University, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Radboud University, and Universidad de Palermo. “Second author” was the supervisor while “Third author” was second reader to the thesis underlying the work developed for the present manuscript. The third author acknowledges the support of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology to CENSE under Pest-OE/AMB/UI4085/2013.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugo J. Herrera
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marleen H. F. McCardle-Keurentjes
    • 3
  • Nuno Videira
    • 4
  1. 1.System Dynamics Group, Geography DepartmentBergen UniversityBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department DEMSUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly
  3. 3.Institute for Management ResearchRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.CENSE – Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research, Departamento de Ciências e Engenharia do Ambiente, Faculdade de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade Nova de LisboaCaparicaPortugal

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