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Abstract: Multi-agent systems offer a new and exciting way of understanding the worldof work. We apply agent-based modeling and simulation to investigate a set ofproblems in a retail context. Specifically, we are working to understand therelationship between people management practices on the shop-floor and retailperformance. Despite the fact we are working within a relatively novel andcomplex domain, it is clear that using an agent-based approach offers greatpotential for improving organizational capabilities in the future. Ourmulti-disciplinary research team has worked closely with one of the UK-s topten retailers to collect data and build an understanding of shop-flooroperations and the key actors in a department customers, staff, and managers.Based on this case study we have built and tested our first version of a retailbranch agent-based simulation model where we have focused on how we cansimulate the effects of people management practices on customer satisfactionand sales. In our experiments we have looked at employee development andcashier empowerment as two examples of shop floor management practices. In thispaper we describe the underlying conceptual ideas and the features of oursimulation model. We present a selection of experiments we have conducted inorder to validate our simulation model and to show its potential for answering-what-if- questions in a retail context. We also introduce a novel performancemeasure which we have created to quantify customers- satisfaction with service,based on their individual shopping experiences.

Autor: Peer-Olaf Siebers, Uwe Aickelin, Helen Celia, Chris Clegg


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