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What is a Model?

It is very difficult to represent the exact real life situations on a piece of paper. A model attempts to represent reality of the situation by identifying all factors of situation and by establishing some relationship between them. In real life situations, there are so many uncertainties and complexities, which cannot be exactly reproduced. Model helps in identifying such uncertainties and complexities in terms of different factors.

1.   Symbolic or Mathematical Model

This is the most important type of model. Mathematical modeling focuses on creating a mathematical representation of management problems in organisations. All the variables in a particular-problem: are-expressed mathematically. The model then provides different outcomes, which will result from the different choices the management wishes to use. The best outcome in a particular situation will help the management in decision-making. These models use set of mathematical symbols and hence are also called symbolic models.

The variables in many business and industry situations can be related together by mathematical equations. To understand the concepts of symbolic or mathematical model, visualise a balance sheet or profit and loss account as a symbolic representation of the budget. Similarly, the demand curve in economics can be seen as symbolic representation of the buyers behaviour at varying price levels.

2.   Simulation Models

In Simulation model, the behaviour of the system under study is ‘initiated’ over a period of time. Simulation models do not need mathematical variables’ to be related in the form of equations, normally, these models are used for solving such problems that cannot be solved mathematically. Simulation is a general technique, which helps us in developing dynamic models, which are similar to the real process. Developing good simulation models is difficult because ‘creating’ a real life situation to perfection is extremely difficult.

3.    Iconic Models

These models represent the physical simulations to the real life system under study. Physical dimensions are scaled up or down to simplify the actual characteristics and specifications of the system. Preparation of prototype models for sayan automobile or 3-D plant layout are some examples of iconic models.

These are the physical replica of a system and are based on a smaller scale than the original. The models have all the operating features of the actual system. Flight simulators, missile firing simulators etc are also examples of iconic models.

4.   Analog Model

They are not the exact replica. Like the iconic models these are smaller, simple physical system as compared to the real life system which are complex. These models are used to explain an actual system by analogy.

5.   Deterministic Models

When the change of one variable has a certain or definite change in the outcome, the model is called a deterministic model. In fact, everything is absolutely clearly defined and the results are known. Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) is a deterministic model, as economic lot size can be exactly known, with change in one of the variables in the EOQ formula.