Join the use of the COMPRAM methodology on the web

Problem handling process of methodology of societal complexity; the  Asian Tsunami of December 26th 2004 as an example

The website is structured based on the Theory of Societal Complexity and the ideas of the Compram methdology .


Short introduction to the Theory of Societal Complexity and the COMPRAM method. 

The goal of the COMPRAM methodology (DeTombe, 1994) is to support all phases of the handling process of a complex societal problem. The Theory of Societal Complexity states that each complex societal problem contains three basic elements: knowledge, power and emotion. The knowledge can vary from theoretically proved knowledge to uncertain data. Power refers to the power differences of the (international) organizations, countries, groups and people involved, the so-called actors or stakeholders. Emotions indicate the emotions people have by being effected by the problem or during the problem handling process; emotions like fear, desires, values.


The COMPRAM methodology is a framework methodology for handling complex societal problems and issues. The methodology is developed by DeTombe (1994)

The COMPRAM methodology handles complex societal problems in a transparent and democratic way. The methodology emphasizes defining the problem carefully and in this way avoiding jumping to conclusions. A too shallow problem definition might lead to handling the wrong problem.

The COMPRAM methodology is based on the idea of shared knowledge and participation of power groups. The methodology consists of 6 + 1 steps. In the first step of the COMPRAM methodology experts from different fields define the problem together by making a system dynamic mode of the problem. The experts do this by answering questions like: what happened, which groups are involved, who is effected etc. In step two of the COMPRAM methodology the actors are invited to give their definition of the problem. In the third step the different definitions of problem are discussed and the actors will try to come to an agreement how interfere the problem. The fourth step is reflecting the societal reactions. The fifth step is implementation of the interventions. The sixth step is evaluation of the problem handling process and of the interventions. A facilitator will guide the problem handing process.

In case of a disaster like the Tsunami the COMPRAM methodology adds one step to the process: the step zero. In this step emphasizes direct and fast handling in case lives or goods are directly threatened. This is done because step one to six takes too much time in case of life threatening situations.


The problem handling process distinguishes 12 phases: from awareness to evaluation of the interventions and the problem handling process. Each step of the COMPRAM methodology contains a part or all the phases of the problem handling process.


In real life the problem handling process is now in step zero of the COMPRAM methodology. Giving the first add to save the people, recognize and identify the deaths, support the survivors to start life again, and to clear the damage.


We invite you to join step one of the COMPRAM methodology. 


You can join the discussion by giving your view on the problem from your expertise. Each person has different knowledge about the problem based on his or her own expertise. Together we can give an enriched picture of the problem, a problem definition. In this way the seven layer model will be filled.

The goal of this discussion is not only scientific but also to make our knowledge available for the real life problem handling of the Asian Tsunami and in this way support the victims of the Tsunami. Please invite colleagues who also have content knowledge on this issue too to join the discussion.


What to do:

Please reflect on the problem handling phases and decide to what phase of the problem handling process your contribution belongs.

By doing this it is important to know what the status of your knowledge is. How do you know this? Is the knowledge based on a theory, is it a hypothesis, is it based on experience, is it your intuition or an assumption. Please mention the source if possible.

All contributions are welcome. We need contributions from different fields, however, for the discussion it is important to know what the status of the knowledge is (see seven layer model).





effected area




damages to people, houses and goods                                first aid


Prof. Dr. Dorien J. DeTombe
Founder and Chair International - , Euro - , West-Euro- & Dutch Operational Research Research Group Methodology of Societal Complexity
Sichuan University, Chengdu, P.R. China
Chair International Research Society on Methodology of Societal Complexity
多莉恩德通教授 华人民共和国四川省成都市 一环南路一段24 四川大学
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, EuropeTel: +31 20 6927526