Presenter/Author Information

M. J. Kolkman
A. Van der Veen

Keywords

integrated water management, knowledge communication, decision-making, modelling

Start Date

1-7-2006 12:00 AM

Description

In order to understand why the use of model software and its results in decision making is surrounded with a diversity of problems, this paper presents a new theoretical framework. The framework is based on the notions of frame and mental model that are commonly used in social sciences and psychology. Mental models are found to guide the activities of knowledge producing scientists, DSS builders, decision makers and stakeholders. These activities are described in a modelling cycle and a decision making cycle. The model – both software and mental – functions as an intermediate for knowledge transfer. The theoretical framework, together with a new approach to frame analysis, has been tested in a case study. The case concerns the decision making process related to the environmental impact assessment procedure of a storm surge barrier in the Netherlands. The case was analysed with regard to the emerging controversies between stakeholders, on an individual level. Different representations of reality, meanings, and points of views are revealed using a mental model mapping technique. The approach, in this case, revealed knowledge barriers between stakeholders, which could not be overcome by intensive communication and participation. Technical factors were discussed extensively, but had limited effect on the final decision. Interaction within and between the institutional, legal and physical systems produced a decision outcome, which was in conflict with available physical system knowledge. The approach offers a better understanding of how data, information and knowledge are acquired and manipulated during processes of decision-making. The approach has the potential to support interactions between stakeholders, to improve communication and learning between individuals and their organisations involved in a case study.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Without a common mental model a DSS makes no sense (a new approach to frame analysis using mental models)

In order to understand why the use of model software and its results in decision making is surrounded with a diversity of problems, this paper presents a new theoretical framework. The framework is based on the notions of frame and mental model that are commonly used in social sciences and psychology. Mental models are found to guide the activities of knowledge producing scientists, DSS builders, decision makers and stakeholders. These activities are described in a modelling cycle and a decision making cycle. The model – both software and mental – functions as an intermediate for knowledge transfer. The theoretical framework, together with a new approach to frame analysis, has been tested in a case study. The case concerns the decision making process related to the environmental impact assessment procedure of a storm surge barrier in the Netherlands. The case was analysed with regard to the emerging controversies between stakeholders, on an individual level. Different representations of reality, meanings, and points of views are revealed using a mental model mapping technique. The approach, in this case, revealed knowledge barriers between stakeholders, which could not be overcome by intensive communication and participation. Technical factors were discussed extensively, but had limited effect on the final decision. Interaction within and between the institutional, legal and physical systems produced a decision outcome, which was in conflict with available physical system knowledge. The approach offers a better understanding of how data, information and knowledge are acquired and manipulated during processes of decision-making. The approach has the potential to support interactions between stakeholders, to improve communication and learning between individuals and their organisations involved in a case study.