A system dynamics-based simulation model to analyze consumers' behavior based on participatory systems mapping - a "last mile" perspective

Gustavo De La Torre, Tim Gruchmann, Vasanth Kamath, Ani Melkonyan, Klaus Krumme

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


The complexity of the term sustainability is encouraging both policy makers and industry, to expand their methodology of solving environmental, social, and economic issues. In the field of applied science, sustainability-related research is thematic and policy driven; therefore involving the widest possible range of stakeholders is of importance. High uncertainty problems and high-risk decisions such as sustainability-related topics are difficult to analyze and solve with conventional scientific approaches and tools. Accordingly, discrete, simple, and short-term systems regarding one specific problem are increasingly being replaced by dynamic, complex, long-term, real-time, interdisciplinary models. This peculiarity requires decision-makers to have a system thinking approach. Participatory systems mapping (PSM) is, in this context, a methodology in which a structured process is used to design cause-and-effect relationships between different factors and elements in a defined system. It provides a multi-perspectival understanding of problems and can help to formulate effective policies for complex sustainability issues. This will be represented, in a first instance, as a causal loop diagram (CLD) and, subsequently, as a stock and flow diagram (SFD) which is an equation-based system dynamics (SD) modeling technique. This will be of assistance in developing strategies and recommendations for the food industry, where consumers are creating a dynamic environment through quickly adapting their consumption habits which are currently characterized by a growing demand for sustainable food production. As a result, this increasing importance of local and organic food logistics networks has a direct impact on the last mile and its sustainability performance. Therefore, the present study intends to contribute to the understanding of the system dynamics in local food logistics networks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovative Logistics Services and Sustainable Lifestyles
Subtitle of host publicationInterdependencies, Transformation Strategies and Decision Making
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9783319984674
ISBN (Print)9783319984667
Publication statusPublished - 26-02-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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