Institut für Strategie, Technologie und Organisation (ISTO)

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Formal Modeling Methods: Computational Models in Management & Business Research

Archive StampMBR Core Course

Dr. Nils Stieglitz

Course Overview

Computational modeling is an increasingly significant approach to theory development in management and economics. In general, simulations are commonly used for studying adaptive and evolutionary dynamics. However, they also have proven useful for the study of discrete dynamics as approximations to closed-form solutions. Simulations are also valuable for the numerical analysis of intractable analytical problems.

The Ph.D. course offers an introduction to computational methods and simulation models in management. It aims to introduce students to the basics of computational modeling, to give an overview of canonical simulation models and to discuss the potential and limitations of simulation models for management research. The main focus is on the discussion of original research. No prior programming experience is required for the course.

Course Structure

The course starts off with an introduction to formal models in the social sciences in general and computational modeling in particular (Day 1). Day 2 analyses and discusses learning and adaptation under uncertainty. Day 3 introduces social dynamics and agent-based modeling. Day 4 extends the analysis to adaptation in complex task environments. Day 5 discusses the modeling of evolutionary processes.

Note: A detailed syllabus will be distributed two weeks before the start of the course.

Organizational Issues

Your assignment for the course is to write a paper in your area that applies the concepts developed in the class. The paper should formulate a clear research question, provide a concise discussion of relevant prior models and outline a possible model structure and its intuition. The paper should be around ten pages and formatted according to Academy of Management guidelines. The deadline will be announced in class.


  • The course is taught in English
  • Max. number of participants: 20
  • The preliminary syllabus can be downloaded here (PDF - 246 kB)


  • You will be evaluated on class participation (30%) and a written assignment (70%)
  • 2 SWS in module A/I (Methods Course)


A comprehensive list of reading material will be provided in the final course syllabus.

Venues: Thursday, 06.10.2011, 9:00 am-6:00 pm, Schackstr. 4/III, Room 307
Friday, 07.10.2011, 9:00 am-6:00 pm, Schackstr. 4/III, Room 307
Saturday, 08.10.2011, 9:00 am-6:00 pm, Schackstr. 4/III, Room 307
Monday, 10.10.2011, 9:00 am-6:00 pm, Schackstr. 4/III, Room 307
Tuesday, 11.10.2011, 9:00 am-6:00 pm, Schackstr. 4/III, Room 307