Interactive simulations for promoting transdisciplinary understanding: a case study of the Western Cape fisheries, South Africa

14 August 2012

Simulations have proven beneficial in enabling participants from various backgrounds to meaningfully engage in learning from experience. The aim of this paper is to investigate how interactive simulations can play a role in navigating the changes faced in a multistakeholder setting, characterised by users dependent on marine resources and an authorising institution. Relevant literature in the areas of simulation and gaming, change management, systems thinking, and complexity theory was examined. A qualitative research approach and purposive sampling were employed. Interviews were first conducted with diverse stakeholders in the Western Cape fisheries of South Africa to determine the issues. A simulation was thereafter designed. The main findings from this study indicate that simulation use illustrates how the various stakeholders in a system interact, and how their actions and decisions influence each other. The simulation may be used in other areas of natural resource management, as well as in other kinds of multistakeholder scenarios.