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SENSE4US Policy Modelling and Simulation Tool: Evaluation Use Case: Finland’s 2015 Asylum Seekers Crisis
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9423-2301
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences. Mid Sweden University, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Cybernetics and systems, ISSN 0196-9722, E-ISSN 1087-6553Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

A key challenge for policy planning and risk assessment in governmental institutions is to ensure that relevant information, expertise and knowledge are fully integrated and taken into account during the policy process. A systems thinking approach can help gathering and organizing the necessary policy intelligence and involving a diverse range of stakeholders. This study is done as part of a design-science research (DSR) project to build and evaluate a new systems tool for structuring of public policy problems and the design of policy options to be used by policy makers, analysts and researchers in governmental institutions and parliaments. The study aims at evaluation of the tool to establish its utility and efficacy for achieving its stated purpose and assess the end-user benefits. That is performed through application of the tool to analysis of a real public policy problem, Finnish government’s action in response to the rapidly growing numbers of asylum seekers entering Finland in recent years. The resulting simulation model allows designing a pathway for immigration policy that aims to mitigate the resulting problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Systems Thinking, Prescriptive Policy Analysis, Policy modelling and Simulation, Sense4us, Impact Assessment, Scenario Planning, Immigration, Finland
National Category
Computer Sciences Public Administration Studies
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-159435OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-159435DiVA, id: diva2:1242854
Available from: 2018-08-29 Created: 2018-08-29 Last updated: 2020-01-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Design and Investigation of a Decision Support System for Public Policy Formulation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Design and Investigation of a Decision Support System for Public Policy Formulation
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The ultimate aim of support for public policy decision making is to develop ways of facilitating policymaking that can create policies that are consistent with the preferences of policymakers and stakeholders (such as an increase in economic growth, the reduction of social inequalities, and improvements to the environment), and that are at the same time based on the available knowledge and evidential information.

Using the design science research methodology, an iterative design process was followed to build and evaluate a research artefact in the form of an analytical method that is also operationalised as a decision support system (DSS) – in order to facilitate the problem analysis, the impact assessment and the decision evaluation activities carried out at the policy formulation stage of the policymaking process. The DSS provides a web-based, user-friendly interface for two main software modules: (i) a tool for modelling and simulation of policy scenarios; and (ii) a tool for multi-criteria evaluation of policy decisions. The target end-users of the DSS tools are policymakers, the support staff of politicians, policy analysts and researchers within governmental departments and parliaments at the various institutional levels of the European Union.

The proposed model-based decision support approach integrates systems thinking, problem structuring methods and multi-criteria decision analysis, in what can be described as a ‘sense-making’ approach. A new policy-oriented quantitative problem structuring method is introduced in this research, the ‘labelled causal mapping’ method, which aims to reduce the cognitive overload involved in representing complex mental models using system dynamics simulation modelling in order to facilitate knowledge representation and system analysis. One contribution of this work is an object-oriented implementation of a prototype tool for systems modelling and simulation of policy decision situations based on the labelled causal mapping method. The method provides a basis for further computational decision analysis. We proposed criteria models and data formats for common (generic) policy appraisal, and a preference elicitation method for in-depth decision evaluation based on the results of scenario simulation and the preferences of decision makers and stakeholder groups.

The artefact evaluation clarifies how well the proposed approach and the DSS tool prototype support a solution to the problem and the extent to which the outcomes in two policy analysis use cases are useful in terms of output analysis and knowledge synthesis.

The contributions of this research to theory and practice were articulated based on the design knowledge obtained through an iterative design process, notably the emergence of the concepts of transparency and intelligibility in policymodelling, (i.e., the need for explicit and interpretable models that can provide justification of a specific decision).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 258
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 18-010
Keywords
Systems Thinking, Prescriptive Policy Analysis, Policy modelling and Simulation, ICT for governane, Sense4us, Policy Impact Assessment, Scenario Planning, Knowledge synthesis
National Category
Computer Sciences Public Administration Studies
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-159437 (URN)978-91-7797-426-0 (ISBN)978-91-7797-427-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-12, Lilla hörsalen, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, Sweden, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 8: Submitted.

Available from: 2018-09-19 Created: 2018-08-29 Last updated: 2018-09-19Bibliographically approved

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