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The analysis of cause maps

Eden, C. and Ackermann, F. and Cropper, S. (1992) The analysis of cause maps. Journal of Management Studies, 29 (3). pp. 309-324. ISSN 0022-2380

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Abstract

Cause maps are coded following many different conventions. It is therefore arguable that there can be no general approach to their analysis. Indeed the interpretation and meaning of the analysis can only be undertaken in relation to both the purpose of the research and the theoretical basis of the form of representation to be analysed, be it a cause map, network, or any other graphical picture. Given these reservations, this article outlines a number of techniques for the analysis of cause maps. In order to make the arguments about cause-map analyses concrete, the article suggests what the various analyses described might imply for an understanding and evaluation of cognitive complexity. It does not address the difficult issue relating to the status of cognitive complexity as measured in these ways but rather simply notes that they are each as plausible or more plausible than many others that are often used. Ultimately- the measures are to be taken as a portfolio of indicators of the complexity of the map itself.