School of Management

AProf Robert Cavana

Reader in Management Systems
School of Management

Phone: 04 463 5137
Location: Room 904, Rutherford House 23 Lambton Quay, Pipitea Campus

AProf Robert Cavana

Teaching in 2015

MGMT 206 - Systems Thinking and Decision Making
Course Coordinator

MGMT 312 - Sustainable Operations
Course Coordinator


A/Prof Bob Cavana is a Reader in Management Systems and Research Convenor in the School of Management, Victoria Business School, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He holds a PhD in Management (System Dynamics) from the University of Bradford, UK, and a MCom in Economics from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. 

Previously he was Corporate Economist with the NZ Railways Corporation and has consulted to various NZ organisations on economic, strategic, systems and business research projects. He is a past President of the NZ Operational Research Society, a past Vice-President for the International System Dynamics Society and a former Managing Editor of System Dynamics Review (2005-12). He has been a New Zealand representative on the Executive Board of the Australia & New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) and is currently a Fellow of ANZAM. He has published in a wide range of international journals, and he is a co-author of Systems Thinking, System Dynamics: Managing Change and Complexity 2nd ed (Pearson Education, Auckland, 2007) and Applied Business Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods (Wiley, Brisbane, 2001; Chinese edition 2004).


  • 1983, PhD, Management (System Dynamics), University of Bradford.
  • 1975, MCom (Econ), University of Auckland.
  • 1971, BCom in Economics, University of Auckland.

Selected Publications

Selected Articles

Scott RJ, Cavana RY, Cameron D. 2014. Interpersonal success factors for strategy implementation: a case study using group model building. Journal of the Operational Research Society, advance online publication, 9 July 2014; doi:10.1057/jors.2014.70

Midgley G, Cavana RY, Brocklesby J, Foote JL, Wood DRR, Ahuriri-Driscoll A, 2013. Towards a New Framework for Evaluating Systemic Problem Structuring Methods, European Journal of Operational Research, 229: 143-154. doi:

Retna KS, Cavana RY. 2013. Undergraduate management students’ perceptions of feedback in a New Zealand university. Journal of Management & Organization, 19, pp 224-237.

Scott RJ, Cavana RY, Cameron D. 2013. Evaluating immediate and long-term impacts of qualitative group model building workshops on participants’ mental models. System Dynamics Review 4: 216-236.

Murad RSA, Cavana RY. 2012. ‘Applying the viable system model to ICT project management’, International Journal of Applied Systemic Studies 4(3): 186–205. [Special issue on project management].

Tobias M, Cavana RY, Bloomfield A, 2010. Application of a system dynamics model to inform investment in smoking cessation services in New Zealand. American Journal of Public Health 100(7): 1274-1281. [Special issue on tobacco control].

Retna KS, Chong E, Cavana RY. 2009. Tutors and tutorials: students' perceptions in a New Zealand university. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 31(3): 251-260.

Cavana RY, Tobias M. 2008. Integrative system dynamics: analysis of policy options for tobacco control in New Zealand. Systems Research & Behavioral Science 25(5): 675-694.

Cavana RY, Boyd D, Taylor R. 2007. A systems thinking study of retention and recruitment issues for the New Zealand Army electronic technician trade group, Systems Research & Behavioral Science 24(2): 201-216.

Cavana RY, Corbett LM, Lo YL (Glenda).  2007. Developing zones of tolerance for managing passenger rail service quality, International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 24(1): 7-31.

Cavana RY, Clifford LV. 2006. Demonstrating the utility of system dynamics for public policy analysis in New Zealand: the case of excise tax policy on tobacco. System Dynamics Review, 22(4): 321-348.

Woog R, Cavana RY, Roberts R, Packham R. 2006. Working at the interface between systems and complexity thinking: insights from a market access design project for poor livestock producers. Systems Research & Behavioral Science 23(6): 727-741.

Cavana RY, Mares ED. 2004. Integrating critical thinking and systems thinking: From premises to causal loops. System Dynamics Review 20(3): 223-235.

Cavana RY. 2004. A qualitative analysis of reintroducing cabotage onto New Zealand's coasts. Maritime Policy and Management: An International Journal of Shipping and Port Research 31(3): 179-198.

Meimand M, Cavana RY, Laking R. 2002.  Using DEA and survival analysis for measuring performance of branches in New Zealand's Accident Compensation Corporation. Journal of the Operational Research Society 53(3): 303-313.

Elias AA, Cavana RY, Jackson LS. 2002.  Stakeholder analysis for R&D project management.  R&D Management 32(4): 301-310.

Cavana RY, Davies PK, Robson RM, Wilson KJ. 1999.  Drivers of quality in health services: different worldviews of clinicians and policy managers revealed. System Dynamics Review 15(3): 331-340.

Selected Books and Edited Collections

Uchino A, Cavana RY, Martinez‐Moyano I, Fukuda A, Eberlein RL, Yamaguchi K, Takahashi Y (eds) (2014). Proceedings of the Asia-Pacific System Dynamics Conference, 22-24 February, Senshu University, Tokyo, Japan. Japan Chapter of System Dynamics Society. (Program Schedule and Abstract Book; and online proceedings, ) [ISSN 1347‐0949].

Bosch O, Cavana RY. Special Issue: Systems Education for a Sustainable Planet. Systems. 2013; 1(2):27-28.  doi:10.3390/systems1020027

Voges K & Cavana RY. (eds). 2011. The Future of Work and Organisations. Proceedings of the 25th Annual Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) Conference. Wellington, NZ, 7-9 December, 2011 (Conference Program and Abstract Book; and CD-Rom).

Maani KE, Cavana RY. 2009. Introduction to Systems Thinking. Pearson Education NZ (Prentice Hall): Auckland. []

Maani KE, Cavana RY. 2007. Systems Thinking, System Dynamics: Managing Change and Complexity. (2nd ed). Pearson Education NZ (Prentice Hall): Auckland. []

Cavana RY, Hutchinson WE (eds). 2007. Special Issue on Australia and New Zealand Systems (ANZSYS). Systems Research and Behavioral Science 24(2).

Ford A, Cavana RY (eds). 2004. Special Issue on Environmental and Resource Systems. System Dynamics Review 20(2).

Cavana RY, Delahaye BL, Sekaran U. 2001. Applied Business Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods. Wiley: Brisbane. [$isbn13=9780471341260] [Chinese translation, 2004, Wiley and Yeh Yeh Book Gallery: Taiwan]

Maani KE, Cavana RY. 2000. Systems Thinking and Modelling: Understanding Change and Complexity. Pearson Education NZ (Prentice Hall): Auckland. (262 pp + CD-Rom).

Cavana RY, Vennix JAM, Rouwette EAJA, Stevenson-Wright M, Candlish J (eds). 1999. Systems Thinking for the Next Millennium. Proceedings of the 17th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society and the 5th Australian and New Zealand Systems Conference. Held in Wellington, New Zealand, 20-23 July. System Dynamics Society, Albany, USA.


* Elected Fellow of Australia & New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM), 2012.

* Hellenic Society for Systemic Studies (HSSS) Honorary Award as "Distinguished Scientist in the Scientific area of Systems Approach" awarded during the its 5th National and International Conference in Xanthi, Greece, 24th June 2009.

* Emerald Group Publishers Highly Commended Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2008 (for a paper published in the International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management).

* Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in New Zealand Journalists Award for the best paper in transport, logistics and supply chain management for the year ended 30 June 2005.

* Best Paper in University Contributions and Systems Methodology Stream of the 9th Australia New Zealand Systems Conference: Systems in Action, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 2003.