Neural Processing Letters

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 89–118 | Cite as

An Agent-Based Model for Simulating Environmental Behavior in an Educational Organization

  • N. Sánchez-Maroño
  • A. Alonso-BetanzosEmail author
  • O. Fontenla-Romero
  • C. Brinquis-Núñez
  • J. G. Polhill
  • T. Craig
  • A. Dumitru
  • R. García-Mira


Agent-based modeling (ABM) is an increasingly popular technique for modeling organizations or societies. In this paper, an ABM of environmental decisions in an academic organization is devised. The decision-making model for the agents and the social network have been constructed using data obtained by responses of individuals of the organization to a questionnaire. As the number of responses is relatively small while the number of variables measured is relatively high, and obtained decision rules should be explicit, decision trees were selected to generate the decision-making model after applying different techniques to properly preprocess the data set. Regarding the social network, two networks working in parallel were developed: the hierarchical relationships, or vertical network, and the relations of friendship and companionship, or horizontal network. After that, the effects of different policies derived from the scenarios obtained from backcasting workshops were tested, with the intention of investigating how to make policies more effective. The results obtained for the academic organization are presented.


Agent-based models Decision-making models Social networks  Sustainability Pro-environmental behavior 



This work was supported by the European Commission under project “LOw Carbon At Work: Modelling agents and organization to achieve transition to a low carbon Europe”, 7th Framework Programme, ENV.2010.4.3.4-1 Grant Agreement 265155, and by the Scottish Government Rural Affairs and the Environment Portfolio Strategic Research Theme 4 (Economic Adaptation).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Sánchez-Maroño
    • 1
  • A. Alonso-Betanzos
    • 1
    Email author
  • O. Fontenla-Romero
    • 1
  • C. Brinquis-Núñez
    • 1
  • J. G. Polhill
    • 2
  • T. Craig
    • 2
  • A. Dumitru
    • 3
  • R. García-Mira
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of A CoruñaLa CoruñaSpain
  2. 2.The James Hutton InstituteAberdeenUK
  3. 3.Laboratory of Social PsychologyUniversity of A CoruñaLa CoruñaSpain

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