ABSTRACT

Individuals differ in the way they interpret a situation. When developing a joint reaction to a complex issue, eliciting and integrating these interpretations is crucial to arriving at a rich and shared understanding of the situation. Group causal mapping captures interpretations of a problematic situation in means–ends maps. This allows views to be represented as individual cognitive maps or group causal maps that capture how people construe a given situation by showing the interrelated issues, goals, and possible actions they associate with that situation. Maps show how certain actions are perceived to help resolve some issues, which in turn might help to achieve particular goals. Creating and discussing these maps in a facilitated environment helps a team arrive at a negotiated agreement on how to improve the problematic situation of concern. Group causal mapping has been used in a large number of case studies across different countries and in multi-national organisations such as Shell and British Airways as well as public-sector bodies such as the UK Department of Health.