Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

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Volume 85 Issue 3 (September 2012), Pages 433-538

Agent‐based modelling and simulation: The potential contribution to organizational psychology (pages 487-502)

Agent‐based modelling and simulation (ABMS) has been used by researchers from a variety of disciplines to study a range of phenomena. At present, ABMS is vastly underutilized in organizational psychology, yet we believe it offers a range of potential benefits that are currently not well catered for by existing tools. In this paper, we introduce ABMS and explain how it differs from current approaches. We illustrate the potential advantages of the approach through a range of examples and through the identification of opportunities in the field of organizational psychology. We also highlight potential limitations of the ABMS approach, and discuss the circumstances under which it may make a worthwhile contribution.

Practitioner Points

This paper outlines ABMS and explains how it adds to the existing toolset of the organizational psychologist. Practitioners will find ABMS and this paper particularly useful:

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    When they are working in high‐risk environments, where getting it wrong is costly.
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    Where there are practical or ethical difficulties in conducting real‐world research.
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    Where they want to develop and test more holistic interpretations of complex systems and problems.
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    Where they wish to examine feedback loops and/or the impact of time on behaviour.

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