Systems Thinking Multiple Causal Loops

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MGT 348 FC 4: Causal Loops: Studies Success

This challenge deals with causal interactions among model elements, multiple causal loops, and link and loop polarities. You should start by reviewing your own list of factors that affect your studies success (FC 1) plus whatever other factors you may have heard in class, from other students, or may have recently discovered. Your challenge is to draw NOT less than two and NOT more than three complete causal loops that:

  1. involve the key neutrally-stated, measurable variables as you see them;
  2. interact (i.e., physically interconnect) with one another at one or more elements;
  3. exhibit appropriately labeled + and – polarities of each link (i.e., each arrow) drawn between elements, with sensible causal directions throughout;
  4. exhibit appropriately labeled R (reinforcing) and B (balancing) loop polarities of each complete causal loop you’ve drawn; and
  5. are each accompanied by a nearby sentence that states the simple “story” of that loop from “start” all the way around back to “start”. Don’t stop short!

You need not include every element you listed, yet you may also include elements you didn’t originally list. Although there may be “exogenous” elements in your drawing, remember that loops loop back to produce feedback! At least one of the loops you draw must correctly be reinforcing and at least one must correctly be balancing.

Please prepare your drawings in Vensim PLE software only as discussed on the next page. Save them, then copy your drawings, and format & size them appropriately, within a properly captioned Word document, which is all you should submit.

In preparing and submitting in Word, observe the terms of the Format Requirements document in Learn!


Drawing Tools

You must use the free version of the same software that I use, and that is used behind the computer simulations, including Two Brothers Pizza. It is loaded into Vance classroom PCs and those in the student computing center.

If you have not already downloaded it to a privately-available PC, go to Then click on download/ free downloads / enter your name etc. / check the PLE radio button and (presumably) the Windows button, then: / submit info and follow instructions. Then click in order on: the venple32.exe icon / run / next / yes / top (“academic”) radio button / next / next / Vensim Program check box, at a minimum / Install / Start Vensim PLE. The application should open.

For causal loop drawings:

In the second tool bar at the top, the (a) “VAR” icon WITHOUT the rectangle and the (b) curved arrow icons are the ones you’ll need to use for causal loop drawings. Don’t forget to click on arrow heads to label their polarities, and to use the Comments icon to label your complete loops with clockwise or counter-clockwise symbols and “R” or “B” polarities. You can name your drawings and then save them.

Later in the semester, but ONLY when you draw Stocks and Flows diagrams, you’ll need to click on and use the (c) rectangle VAR icon (“box variable” / stock) and (d) arrow-with-valve icon (“rate” / flow), too. Do NOT use those two icons (c) and (d) until after the midterm!

THIS assignment needs to include factors from previous assignment below

Model Elements: Students keeping up with school work

  • The number of classes a student is taking is a big factor in influencing their ability to keep up with school.
  • The more classes you have the less time to devote to each class
  • And the less time to spend with family and friends
  • Family and friends are a big influence if they concern themselves with the students’ academic well-being and become positive influences.
  • If the student has children, the children can be positive influences knowing that the student is setting a good example and being a good role model for having positive goals to reach and receiving good grades.
  • Receiving good grades shows a sign of discipline which is needed to keep up with school work and being disciplined can be achieved by having friends that have the same goals as you and are like minded
  • The students in the class are like minded and can possibly be an important influence during the course of the semester.

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