Benefits of Qualitative Simulation for Managing Fluctuating Staffing Needs

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Management of the High Level Waste Program Office at the Idaho National Environmental and Engineering Laboratory has projected oscillating future employment levels. A simple computer model was created to help convince management that qualitative modeling of "soft" variables can provide appreciable insight into the consequences and performance of alternative staffing policies. Advocacy of the model underlying the simulation or a particular strategy did not motivate the study, but rather a desire to instill enthusiasm and elicit new and improved conceptual models from management. Six qualitative and three quantitative generic insights to managing staffing levels are gained from the simulations. These ... continued below

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Nichols, Todd Travis July 1, 2001.

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Management of the High Level Waste Program Office at the Idaho National Environmental and Engineering Laboratory has projected oscillating future employment levels. A simple computer model was created to help convince management that qualitative modeling of "soft" variables can provide appreciable insight into the consequences and performance of alternative staffing policies. Advocacy of the model underlying the simulation or a particular strategy did not motivate the study, but rather a desire to instill enthusiasm and elicit new and improved conceptual models from management. Six qualitative and three quantitative generic insights to managing staffing levels are gained from the simulations. These insights in their generic form should be familiar to those knowledgeable of system dynamics or computer/instrument process control. Their potential usefulness to developing staffing strategies is stressed. The two primary overarching assertions that flow from the simulation results are: 1) the presence of multiple feedbacks, time delays, and continuous flows introduce instability into a personnel system that complicates the management of staffing levels. Many times "soft" variables, such as morale, productivity, and efficiency are the sources of such influences; and 2) such influences can be successfully modeled. In the case of the simple model used in these simulations, for example, the qualitative impact of a strategy using hiring and laying off as the sole managerial interventions is assessed.

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  • Report No.: INEEL/EXT-01-00898
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/911459 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 911459
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc877115

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • July 1, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Nov. 22, 2016, 9:18 p.m.

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Nichols, Todd Travis. Benefits of Qualitative Simulation for Managing Fluctuating Staffing Needs, report, July 1, 2001; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc877115/: accessed December 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.