Course description

Business Dynamics

Introduction

Many of the problems organizations face arise as unanticipated side effects of their own past actions. All too often the solutions they implement to solve important problems fail, make the problem worse, or create new problems. Effective decision making and learning in a world of growing complexity requires us to think differently. We need to think outside the box and develop tools to understand this growing complexity and learn how solutions sometimes create problems instead of solving them.

This course introduces students to business dynamics as a method for analyzing and modeling business problems and strategies. This method enables us to increase our understanding of business behavior. The method also enables us to simulate organizational behavior (or the behavior of parts of an organization, like a team). These simulations allow us to create “management flight simulators” that can be used to understand the past and predict the future. As pilots learn how to fly in a flight simulator, managers learn how to make better decisions by testing out different scenarios in their management flight simulator. When we understand the past and can predict the future, we can improve business performance.

This course is especially applicable for students that want to learn a new way of thinking about business processes. Furthermore, the course gives students, interested in a future career as consultant or business analyst, a competitive edge in the job market. This new way of thinking applies to all kinds of businesses and problems; therefore, the course is suitable for students from all bachelor programmes.

Course content

  • Introduction, course overview, objectives, rules of the game
  • Overview of business dynamics and interrelations of business structure and behavior, causal loop diagramming
  • Stocks and flows diagramming
  • Typical business behavior: S-shaped growth, delays & oscillations
  • Decision-making & modeling human behavior
  • Supply chains
  • Term paper introduction

Learning outcome knowledge

After completing the course, students will be able to explain what the underlying causes are of typical business’ behavior and performance. Furthermore students will be able to understand how well-meant decisions or rules often (unintended) create business performance issues, rather than solve them.

Exam organisation

  • Multiple choice: 40%
  • Written assignment: 60%