Exploring the potential of participatory systems thinking techniques in progressing SLCA

McCabe, Annie and Halog, Anthony (2016) Exploring the potential of participatory systems thinking techniques in progressing SLCA. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, . doi:10.1007/s11367-016-1143-4


Author McCabe, Annie
Halog, Anthony
Title Exploring the potential of participatory systems thinking techniques in progressing SLCA
Journal name International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1614-7502
0948-3349
Publication date 2016-06-20
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11367-016-1143-4
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Total pages 12
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose: There are a range of systems thinking-based methods well established for participatory actions that allow for greater integration of various mental models and understanding of systems that should be considered in advancing engagement methods in SLCA. This paper highlights the potential application of participatory modelling approaches based in systems thinking theory as a potential entry point in stakeholder inclusion and understanding impact pathways and system behaviour in social life cycle assessment (SLCA).

Methods: We discuss the application of various systems thinking methodologies to SLCA, along with pertinent examples from literature, and develop a framework that integrates both methodologies.

Results and discussion: Here we propose three distinct benefits of group modelling approaches; (1) procedural benefits through the ability to be inclusive of mental models, various perspectives and enhance stakeholder conceptualisation of a system; and the ability to combine both (2) qualitative and (3) quantitative analysis techniques under a cohesive framework. We propose the specific merits of combining the use of agent-based (AB) and system dynamic (SD) modelling in SLCA due to the emphasis upon consumer decisions and behaviour and the inherently dynamic non-linear cause-effect chains that are common in social systems.

Conclusions: We conclude that many facets of participatory modelling techniques can align with SLCA across the methodology, particularly if enhanced consideration of stakeholders and their various values is desired. We recommend the further development and inclusion of participatory systems thinking-based frameworks to advance the SLCA methodology with specific reference to the ability to enhance interpretation through the analysis of feedbacks that may not be addressed in current approaches.
Keyword Group modelling
Mental models
Participatory modelling
Social life cycle assessment
System dynamics
Systems thinking
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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Created: Tue, 26 Jul 2016, 03:06:51 EST by System User on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)