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Combining Soft Systems Methodology with Interpretive Structural Modeling and System Dynamics for Network Orchestration: Case Study of the Formal Science and Technology Collaborative Networks in Iran

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Abstract

The orchestration of collaborative networks plays a fundamental role in shaping and configuring network cooperation and ensuring the success of a network. Despite a notable number of studies conducted, the issue of orchestrating collaborative networks and establishing a relationship among their diverse and dispersed components has not been designed and developed in the form of a coherent model. The purpose of the present study is to cast light on the process of determining the dimensions of formal science and technology collaborative networks in Iran. Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) was utilized due to its high capability to deal with the dynamic complexity of the problem, the various stakeholders and actors involved, and the conflicting interests of these stakeholders. Accordingly, in addition to investigating and interviewing the informants and obtaining a rich picture of the situation, interpretive structural modeling (ISM) was used to design a conceptual model. The results show that in order to improve the problem condition and achieve an effective output of the network, the communication processes of the founding organization, Steering Board, the network leaderboard, and the members should all be subject to proper changes at the right time. Finally, in order to facilitate the analysis of effective variables and the role of the orchestrator in the formal science and technology collaborative networks in Iran by using System Dynamics (SD), a dynamic model was proposed. According to the obtained results, the orchestrator’s ability, trust and motivation of network members, the socialization process of members, and network sustainability are among the most important factors in network orchestration.

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Correspondence to Adel Azar.

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Shahabi, A., Azar, A., Radfar, R. et al. Combining Soft Systems Methodology with Interpretive Structural Modeling and System Dynamics for Network Orchestration: Case Study of the Formal Science and Technology Collaborative Networks in Iran. Syst Pract Action Res 33, 453–478 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-019-09490-z

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