Studies in Personnel and Industrial Psychology

By Edwin A. Fleishman | Go to book overview

23. Management Games for Training Decision Makers*

William R. Dill

MANAGEMENT GAMES are a recent innovation in business school teaching and research programs. The excitement and confusion that they have generated is evident in recent articles in Business Week,1 and a symposium held at the University of Kansas in December, 1958.2 It already seems apparent that when the dust settles, gaming will bring the same kind of basic changes to our methods for training managers that the "case method" and renewed emphasis on fundamental subjects like economics, statistics and the behavioral sciences have brought.


THE CONCEPT OF "GAMING"

Gaming is not a new concept. Management games are close cousins to the "war games" that military groups pioneered many years ago. Businesses and business schools cannot even claim credit for the first games that involved the use of electronic computers to simulate the actions of the environment. Here the Air Force had a head start in setting up elaborate man-machine simulations of the military environ­ment to design logistics organizations and to train personnel for air defense work.3

The concept of a management decision game is simple. One or more teams, each representing a "firm," make a series of decisions governing their firms' operations during the next period of play. Then a "model" of how the industry or the economy operates is used to figure out for each team the outcomes of their decisions. If the "model" is simple, calculations can be made by a human referee; otherwise, they are made by computer. The teams get partial or complete information about the

____________________
*
From "A New Environment for Training Decision Makers--The Carnegie Management Game" (Unpublished report, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, 1960).
1
"The Gentle Art of Simulation," Business Week, Nov. 29, 1958; "In Business Education, the Game's the Thing," Business Week, July 25, 1959.
2
Proceedings of the First National Symposium on Management Games (Lawrence, Kans.: University of Kansas, Bureau of Business Research, Dec., 1958).
3
R. M. Bauner, "Laboratory Evaluation of Supply and Procurement Procedures," Rand Paper R-323, July, 1958; S. Enke, "On the Economic Management of Large Organizations," Journal of Business, Oct., 1958.

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