Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

System Dynamics, The Basic Elements of

  • George P. Richardson
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27737-5_536-3

Definition of the Subject

System dynamics is a computer-aided approach to theory building, policy analysis, and strategic decision support emerging from an endogenous point of view (Nicholis and Prigogine 1977; Richardson 1991a). It applies to dynamic problems arising in complex social, managerial, economic, or ecological systems – literally any dynamic systems characterized by interdependence, mutual interaction, information feedback, and circular causality.


The field of system dynamics developed initially from the work of Jay W. Forrester. His seminal book Industrial Dynamics (Forrester 1961) is still a significant statement of philosophy and methodology in the field. Within ten years of its publication, the span of applications grew from corporate and industrial problems to include the management of research and development, urban stagnation and decay, commodity cycles, and the dynamics of growth in a finite world. It is now applied in economics, public policy,...


Delivery Delay Policy Structure Feedback Structure Circular Causality Group Model Building 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and PolicyUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA