Factors of Institutionalization. A Case Study of System Dynamics Capacity Building in National Planning Organizations

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capacities to effectively develop and implement strategic policies. Through capacity building projects, the Millennium Institute supports governments to improve the analysis and formulation processes of policy to successfully reach development goals using a national system dynamics model. Unfortunately, not all governments are equally able to sustain capacities built throughout the project. The difficulty of institutionalizing novel capacities is observed in project interventions employing system dynamics and the wider setting of capacity building projects. Behavioral components which influence the success of projects have been investigated, however a framework which links this with sustaining practice has not been identified. Analyzing past projects of the Millennium Institute, this study develops a dynamic hypothesis of institutionalization to understand why successful intermediate outcomes of system dynamics projects do not always lead to sustained capacities. The research follows an inductive, explanatory research approach by conducting three case studies, and converges insights from project reports, interviews, and relevant literature into a single system dynamics model. Based upon the theoretical foundation of structuration theory, the knowledge-based theory of the firm, and the theory of planned behavior, the model emphasizes the recursive dynamics between structure and behavior, the importance of knowledge coordination as well as the motivational factors which influence sustaining practice. Simulating the case studies, the model stresses the importance of facilitating and integrating routines around system dynamics to enable the client to continue the utilization of the tool and maintain developed knowledge. Balancing technical training with the development of routines can support the integration of new methods into current processes allowing the client to understand how the tool contributes to fulfill the functional requirements of stakeholders. Refining the evaluation process by conducting further in-depth case studies and simulating the implementation of other capacities could further enhance the validity and generalizability of the framework.
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