Sun Yat-Sen Management Review

  Journal Fullview

Sun Yat-Sen Management Review  1994/9

Vol. 2, No.3  p.93-118

A Prescriptive Experiment in Dynamic Complexity Task: Learning Laboratory, Systems Thinking, and Dissociation Between Performance and Learning
(633621960963750000.pdf 1,185KB)

Sy-Feng Wang/

Institute of Business Management National Sun Yat-sen University



(633621960963125000.pdf 36KB)




Studies conducted in recent years have shown that humanbeings are poor problem solver in dynamic complexity task. However, little prescriptive research was done by experimental method. This study examines the feasibility of improving performance and learning in dynamic complexity task by providing the learning aids of “system boundary of mental model” and “attribution of system’s dynamic behavior”. This paper reports a laboratory experiment in which subjects managed a set of reversible trials with a computerized Beer Game task, where the conditions for learning are excellent. Results indicate that the manipulations only worked in the 1st and 2nd trials. However, subjects’ performance was still significantly improved through practice, but little deeper learning was detected in final. After carefully examining the cognitive strategies used by subjects, it is found that the effects of manipulation were eliminated after 3rd trial, wherein the mental model simulations strategy was replaced by the feedforward control strategy. The feedforward control strategy then caused the dissociation between performance and learning. Phenomenon of the dissociation is generalized. Methods to overcoming the dissociation are discussed.

(633621960963125000.pdf 36KB)


Dynamic complexity task, Learning laboratory, Systems thinking, Dissociation between performance and learning, System dynamics

Policy and management implications
(Available only in Chinese)