Modeling Organizations: Methods Used by Real-World Designers

Bryan Borys

Formal, abstract computational techniques for modeling organizations imply certain approaches to certain modeling problems. Less formal techniques used by people involved in concrete design contexts in real organizations (real-world designers)face the same problems, but use different approaches. Four such problems are considered: the problems of simplification (which features to model, which to ignore), granularity (what unit of analysis to adopt), simulation (how to verify accuracy and consistency of the model), and agency (how to be certain that the agents modeled will respond to certain signals in certain ways). Approaches of computational organization design (COD) and real-world design (RWD) to each of these problems are compared and some lessons both COD and RWD are drawn.

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