Call for papers: Systemic Approaches


The Challenge of Sustainable Development for organisations: the role of Model-based frameworks through systemic approaches

Guest Editors:

- Ing. Stefano Armenia - Link Campus University, Rome, Italy,

- Dr. Francesca Iandolo - Università degli Studi di Roma “Sapienza", Rome, Italy,

- Dr. Elena Claire Ricci - Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy,


In recent years, organisations are faced with a growing complexity of their internal and external environment. This poses evident challenges but may also provide interesting opportunities for organisations to develop competitive advantages in an extremely interconnected context. Often organisations try to respond to this by recurring to the analysis of large quantities of data, often aimed at guiding strategic decisions. However, the availability of such often overabundant amounts of data makes it quite difficult to evaluate the results emerging from them: the issue is to transform an often overwhelming amount of information in actual knowledge for the organisation, so that this can provide insights for present and future organisational models and strategies with a view to the sustainability of the organisation itself.


The main topic on which this Special Issue (SI) is based on is the concept of Model-based Sustainable Development, that is the development of organizational models that allow complex organizations to identify, study and evaluate strategies which may guide the main dynamical behavior of the organization over time, and which allow organizations to become "smart", to learn, and eventually change, their internal processes, in order to improve their chances of achieving their strategic goals.


Modeling the processes that characterize complex organizations is not an easy task, so this SI aims to attract contributions displaying various systemic methodologies, especially those ones capable of accounting for non-linearity, path-dependency and time lags, and that may allow also for organisational and social learning (i.e.: Systems Thinking, System Dynamics, ABM, etc.).

The focus will hence be on how such methodologies, by also making use of modelling and simulation, might provide advantages in finding new ways of reaching good governance and sustainability.


Indeed, sustainable development requires organisations to rethink their goals and/or business models, with effects on their day-to-day activities. Pursuing to become more sustainable is not only a need for marketing reasons but also an opportunity of growth and of alignment with emerging trends. However, managing the complexity of sustainability is not straightforward and requires tools that are able to capture and jointly take into account a wide variety of interrelated factors.


This Special Issue (SI) aims at exploring how a Model-based Sustainable Development approach can guide organisations in tackling such complex issues. Contributions discussing possible organisational models for sustainable transitions are particularly welcome. Moreover, the SI aims at shedding light on how to balance the knowledge coming from managers, operators and working groups with data-driven information and guide their decision-making processes, at the same time providing insights on how to tackle the new challenges and identify possible pathways that go far beyond the simple optimisation of past models, taking advantage of classical and newly developed tools. Last but not least, contributions will help readers evaluate how through a Model-based Sustainable Development approach, the management of organisational knowledge and strategic learning, as well as the dynamic evaluations of strategies and performance, can be fostered and hence broader perspectives on how to integrate the multilevel dimensions of the issues at stake can be achieved.


More in detail, contributions are expected to tackle one or more of the following themes:

  • Smart, Intelligent and Resilient organizations
  • Decision making processes
  • Sustainable organizational change
  • Sustainable Development in various domains (social, environmental, economic, industrial, etc.)
  • Model-based strategy development
  • Policy impact assessment through systemic models


The SI aims at reaching out to both academics and practitioners interested in addressing such topics. Therefore, the SI is oriented to academic-based articles as well as to rigorous practice-based contributions.


Full paper submission deadline:  31st May 2019


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