John Morecroft is Associate Professor of Strategic Management at London Business School and was previously a faculty member of MIT's Sloan School, where he received his PhD. His research interests lie at the interface of system dynamics and strategy, and he has applied his ideas as consultant to a number of prominent international firms.
The dynamics of resource sharing: A metaphorical model
Article first published online: 26 DEC 2006
Copyright © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
System Dynamics Review
Volume 11, Issue 4, pages 289–309, Winter 1995
How to Cite
Morecroft, J. D. W., Larsen, E. R., Lomi, A. and Ginsberg, A. (1995), The dynamics of resource sharing: A metaphorical model. Syst. Dyn. Rev., 11: 289–309. doi: 10.1002/sdr.4260110404
- Issue published online: 26 DEC 2006
- Article first published online: 26 DEC 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: JUN 1995
- Manuscript Received: OCT 1994
Most system dynamicists have used the example of a simple shower to explain feedback and to introduce the cyclical dynamic behaviour characteristic of a balancing loop. The damped system's temperature is relatively easy to manage. But with two showers sharing the same limited supply of hot water it is much harder to control the water temperature, because a person “managing” one shower is unaware of the other, yet must react to the aggregate temperature outcome resulting from “joint management” effort. A system dynamics model of a two shower system is presented and is simulated to illustrate the causes and consequences of interdependence in resource allocation, and to explore changes that can improve the coordination of decision-makers. Insights from the two shower model are then applied to understanding coordination in multinational subsidiaries with overlapping geographical markets. The article ends with some reflections on the value and limits of a metaphorical model.