Integrating a rich picture diagram and causal loop diagram to model stakeholder engagement in building refurbishment projects

Yuri Seki, Ayokunle Olubunmi Olanipekun*, Monty Sutrisna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The more contemporary views on managing projects recommend stakeholder engagement as an important part of the process. Challenges have been reported when attempting to involve project stakeholders in a construction project due to the complexity of the processes. In projects such as refurbishment projects, the efforts to incorporate end users' needs and preferences into spatial environmental functions increase the complexity of stakeholder engagement during the journey of the project. This paper presents a unique technique used to integrate different tools within the system enquiry methodology in modelling the project stakeholder engagement process for refurbishment projects.

Design/methodology/approach: Aiming to address the problem, system dynamics (SD) has been selected as the most suitable method for modelling the dynamic behaviour of this complex system over time. A tool known as a rich picture diagram (RPD) is proposed as the precursor of the development of a causal loop diagram (CLD) to facilitate a more holistic abstraction for applicable solutions. An example of a single case study involving the refurbishment of a higher education building project is presented to explain the analysis undertaken in the process of developing the CLD that models the dynamic behaviour within end-user stakeholder engagement.

Findings: This paper demonstrates the complementarity capabilities of the soft and hard systems of enquiry in modelling stakeholder's dynamics within the refurbishment construction contexts. The RPD soft system tool was found useful to congregate diverse stakeholder expressions and experiences of a complex system in a holistic manner. Subsequently, the development of the CLD was fully guided by the information and relationship captured and presented in the RPD to yield a representative system model. Furthermore, this paper also reports the dynamics of the actors, situations, events and their inter-relationship found in the presented refurbishment project.

Originality/value: This paper enriches the techniques within the system enquiry methodology by integrating hard and soft system tools for dynamic process modelling purposes. This is particularly achieved by utilizing the RPD as the precursor of SD that provides a useful way for researchers and stakeholders to fully understand the dynamics and develop robust systemic interventions to optimize end-user stakeholder engagement during the journey of refurbishment projects, particularly of higher education buildings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1929-1951
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number7
Early online date28 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2021


  • Building refurbishment
  • Causal loop
  • Higher education
  • End user
  • Rich picture diagram
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • System dynamics

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