Structural Modeling (ISM)
wonder, would the inventor of ISM would agree with these criticisms? John
Warfield has written extensively on ISM; he invented it during 1970 - 1973.
He distributes free DOS software to facilitate its use at the following
Interpretive Structural Modeling is a “directed
graphic representation of a particular relationship among all pairs of
elements in a set to aid in structuring a complex issue area” (Porter,
et al., 1980.)
Step 1. ISM Begins with an issue or problem.
Step 2. The elements that comprise the issue
context are listed.
Step 3. Pairs of elements are compared graphically
or in a matrix, using an arrow to indicate "This element contributes more
than that element." Draw a graphic representation.
Natural global climatic changes
For example, let's say we believe
that Industrialization (I) is felt to contribute more to global warming
than Desertification (D) or Natural global changes (N), and D were believed
to contribute more than N. But Population (P) were believed to contribute
more than any of the other three. The diagram would look like this:
According to Porter, et al., (1980), ISM is
but its weaknesses include:
problem definition and bounding
identifying relationships among policy sectors
It identifies static relationships (i.e.,
structural rather than dynamic relationships).
It is qualitative, not quantitative.
It is simplistic, and not very powerful.
This software is not very user friendly,
and only those looking for a challenge should attempt to use it.
The course electronic reserve from
et al., (1980) discusses ISM on pages 71 to 73 (optional):
However, the above procedure is rather simplistic. For a
more detailed discussion, see David Malone's (1975) chapter
on "An introduction to the application of interpretive structural modeling" at
Malone, D. (1975). An
introduction to the application of Interpretive Structural Modeling”,
Chapter 14 in Baldwin, Ed.,
Portraits of Complexity.
Columbus, OH: Batelle
Memorial Institute Monograph No. 9. Retrieved from
Porter, A. L.,
Rossinni, F., Carpenter, S. R, Roper, A. T., Larson, R. W., and Tiller, J.
S. (1980).A guidebook for technology assessment and impact analysis.
New York: North Holland.