A Linguistic-Based Systematic Approach to Complex System Dynamics and its Application to E-government Introduction in Zanzibar

Maryam M. Khamis, Theo P. van der Weide


System thinking has become an effective strategy when dealing with complex systems. Such systems are characterized by mutual interactions, causality and inter-dependency between system components. A typical example is the cooperation between governmental organizations and stakeholder interaction. The complexity of developing an e-government system suggests a more fundamental approach, where the roles of domain expert and system analyst are clearly separated. The main focus of this article is (1) to propose a linguistically-based systematic approach to the construction of models for the dynamics of complex systems, and (2) to propose extended causal diagrams. Our research methodology is based on Design Science. We start from a conceptual language developed for the application domain at hand and use this to define the dynamic factors. Then, we show how the resulting extended causal diagram is transformed into a framework for System Dynamics. We have demonstrated this approach by using a basic form of an e-Government as a running example. Our intention is to use this approach as a basis for a systematic step-wise introduction of e-Government in Zanzibar. Besides, this method is useful for modeling any complex system, especially for the description and evaluation of intended policies.


Complex systems; conceptual modeling; system dynamics; extended causal diagram; model transformation; e-government introduction.

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DOI: 10.7250/csimq.2017-11.05


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