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Thursday, July 28 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Mapping the Macro-Level for Interdisciplinary Decision Making - A Visual Framework and Method

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2920 Universities are organized into disciplines, but most real world problems are interdisciplinary. Holistic conceptual models could help to overcome this fragmentation in our thinking and allow a more multi-perspective view of issues. When analyzing complex problems in business or politics, there are a wide range of micro- and macro-economic factors involved. One of the most often used concepts in business literature is the so called PESTEL framework (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal) – some variations on this are PEST and PESTLE. The PESTEL framework is used for environmental scanning of risks and trends in strategic management. Despite its worldwide distribution there are known to be a couple of flaws with this framework. The selection of categories is questionable; the categories are often discussed in separate boxes and important interconnections between variables are lost. What is needed is a more systemic approach that does not cut complex issues into fragmented pieces but provides a more coherent picture. However it must still be easy and efficient to use in business practice. The goal of this current project is to build on the tradition of PESTEL but also to suggest some adjustments that would lift the concept up to new levels of analysis, application and visual representation. The new framework is the result of a cross-comparison of several dozen category frameworks used in business, politics and sustainability. The criteria for the development process and present version were a well-balanced selection of categories, practically useful for team work in the business context and beyond, and providing a better representation of important interconnections. The result is establishing a bridge between the PESTEL tradition and systems methods such as causal loop diagrams and thus allowing a more holistic view of complex issues. It allows visualizing global risks, megatrends or other topics of interest on the global or local level. Keywords: Problem solving, management, strategy, decision making, sustainable development, visualization, causal loop diagram, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinarity

avatar for John Vodonick

John Vodonick

Principal, jvodonick@gmail.com
Systems thinking, Critical Systems, Soft Systems, Neo-pragmatism, Consensus process, flying, sailing, high altitude mountaineering, scuba diving. cooking, music.


Thursday July 28, 2016 3:30pm - 5:00pm
ECCR 245

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