This book addresses possible applications of computer simulation to theory building in management and organizational theory. The key hypothesis is that modelling and computer simulation provide an environment to develop, test and articulate theoretical propositions. In general, computer simulation provides an experimental environment where researchers are able to play with symbolic representations of phenomena by modifying the model’s structure and activating or deactivating model’s parameters. This environment allows to both generating hypotheses to ex post explain observed phenomena or to ex ante generate distributions of unrealized events thereby envisioning areas for further empirical investigations.
Under a methodological perspective, the volume investigates logics and techniques to design a research strategy grounded on computer simulation. In particular, the articles in the book concentrate on two different techniques, and philosophies, to set up a simulation study: System Dynamics, which is grounded on differential equations and feedback theory, and agent-based modeling. The book describes how computer simulation helps to look into research issues typical to strategic management and organizational theory. In this respect, such themes as firms’ diversification strategies, competitive strategy, rivalry and the impact of role dynamics on organizational performances are explored through the lenses of computer simulation models.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Why and How Using Computer Simulation for Theory Development in Social Sciences 1. The Use of Computer Simulation in Strategy and Organization Research Mollona, E. 2. Computational Modelling and Social Theory: The Dangers of Numerical Representation Edmonds, B. 3. Devices for Theory Development: Why Using Computer Simulation if Mathematical Analysis is Available Fioresi, R. and E. Mollona. 4. Mix, Chain and Replicate: Methodologies for Agent-Based Modelling of Social Systems Hales, D. Part 2: Computer Simulation for Theory Development in Strategy and Organization Theory 5. The Dynamics of Firm Growth and Resource Sharing in Corporate Diversification Gary, S. 6. Revisiting Porter’s Generic Strategies for Competitive Environments using System Dynamics Kunc, M. 7. Rivalry and Learning among Clustered and Isolated Firms Boari, C., Fioretti, G. and Odorici, V. 8. Organization and Strategy in Banks Cappellini, A. and A. Raimondi. 9. Changing Roles in Organizations: An Agent-Based Approach Lamieri, M. and D. Mangalagiu 10. Rationality Meets the Tribe: Recent Models of Cultural Group Selection Hales, D. Part 3: How to Build Agent-Based Computer Models of Firms 11. An Agent-Based Methodological Framework to Simulate Organizations or the Quest for the Enterprise: jES and jESOF, Java Enterprise Simulator and Java Enterprise Simulator Open Foundation Terna, P. 12. From Petri Nets to ABM: The Analysis of the Enterprise's Process to Model the Firm Ferraris, G.
Edoardo Mollona received a Ph.D degree in Strategic Management at the London Business School, and is currently associate professor at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Bologna. He has published articles and books on the application of modeling and simulation to strategic management and organizational theory.