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Can we have confidence in generic structures?

Lane, David C. (1998) Can we have confidence in generic structures? Journal of the Operational Research Society, 49 (9). pp. 936-947. ISSN 0160-5682

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Identification Number: 10.1057/palgrave.jors.2600605


The system dynamics concept of ‘generic structure’ is dividable into three sub-types. This paper analyses the validity of these three, using both practical and theoretical perspectives. Firstly, a new set of measures is developed for generating validity—‘confidence’—amongst a group using generic structures in a practical modelling situation. It is concluded that different confidence criteria are implicitly employed; there is an argument for trading-off model precision and analytical quality for simplicity and ease of use and future research is needed to combine these ‘process’ and ‘content’ aspects of confidence. From a theoretical stance it is shown that with two of the sub-types a scientific notion of confidence is achievable whereas the third (‘archetypes’) involves merely metaphorical thinking. It is concluded that the theoretical status of archetypes requires further development, whilst ensuring that its benefits are retained.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1998 The Operational Research Society
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2008 11:34
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2023 23:30

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