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The Influence of Mental Models on Decision-Making Around Social and Environmental Aspects: Insights from Ontario SMEs

Read, Laura (2014) The Influence of Mental Models on Decision-Making Around Social and Environmental Aspects: Insights from Ontario SMEs. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Read, Laura
Abstract:

This study explores the influence of mental models on decision-­‐making around social and environmental aspects within Ontario SMEs. The research covers areas of design, foresight and innovation as well as sustainability and strongly sustainable business models. Through exploring how business leaders consider and prepare for the future, this project engages foresight and innovation. Business leaders use mental-­‐models to reach decisions by trying to imagine the possibilities compatible with what they know or believe (Johnson-­‐Laird, 2012).
Ontario SMEs are a significant employment and economic contributor in Canada (Industry Canada, 2012). Progress towards greater sustainability by Ontario SME leaders would have a significant impact on the resiliency of our communities and the sustainability of our economy. While business leaders have access to information on social and environmental implications of their work, these items compete with others for priority and businesses continue to face a number of barriers to transitioning towards greater sustainability. The Design Probe method has been used to collect primary data from thirteen decision-­‐makers within Ontario SMEs. The insights collected will serve managers who are interested in transitioning their businesses towards more sustainable behaviours by understanding common biases and errors as well as potential blindspots in their decisions. These insights are also useful for policy makers, NGOs and social entrepreneurs looking at accelerating the sustainability and resiliency of SMEs in Ontario and beyond. In addition, this research will inform the design brief of a range of tools such as those being developed by the Strongly Sustainable Business Model group (SSBMG) with insights into the most appropriate designs to support a shift towards strong sustainability. Further research can then identify how it may be possible to bring more SMEs to the level of sustainability leaders.

Date: September 2014
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mental models, decision making, Ontario SMEs, design, sustainability, business models, business leaders
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2015 13:28
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2015 15:17
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/330

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