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Mapping Railway Development Prospects in Brazil

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This paper reports on what appears to be the first attempt to map the perceived holistic dynamics at work in contemporary Brazilian railway development. The published perspectives of recognized experts in the Brazilian railway industry were mapped using the problem structuring methodology known as Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA). SODA is essentially a cognitive mapping approach and, in this case, it enabled a classification of the issues involved in railway development, as well as the detailed analysis of particular causes and effects acting upon the issues. Two particularly disturbing results are discussed in some length: the detrimental effects of the alleged misappropriations of public funds, and the identification of a degenerative feedback loop system at the heart of railway decision-making. Overall, the paper shows that the situation faced by railway development in Brazil is constituted by a dynamic interaction of non-independent problems, indicating the presence of a complex problem-system requiring conceptual structure in a manner that permits analysis without ignoring systemic integrity. As such, the paper serves as a platform from which further use of SODA in this context might be considered as a decision support tool.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Sao Paulo Brasil,ESC Rennes School of Business, Cedex, France

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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