Subjective Transfer Function Approach to Complex System Analysis

by Clairice T. Veit, Monti D. Callero

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The subjective transfer function (STF) approach, a new procedure for analyzing complex systems that involve numerous cause and effect relationships among the system components, is described. A tactical air command and control and force employment system is used to illustrate measurement problems found with other procedures commonly used in complex system analyses and their resolutions in the STF approach. In the STF approach, system "experts" are involved in defining the complex system components and constructing their network of cause and effect relationships. Each hypothesized relationship is transformed into an STF that specifies how described components affect judged outcomes. The STFs are tested by using proper experimental designs in generating questionnaires that are given to "experts." Decisions are then made about the appropriateness of the initially hypothesized system components and the form of the STF. Appropriate STFs are used to assess how changes in the system affect system outcomes.

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