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Expanded strategy simulations: developing better managers

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of simulations in strategy teaching. The authors' conceptualization is built upon the benefits and limitations of simulations by establishing a link between the skills required to be a competent manager and the capacity of simulations to develop them. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Using deductive theory building, the authors pinpoint the shortcomings of simulations, and offer a framework categorizing managerial skill development using simulations to teach strategic management. Findings ‐ The authors propose a new perspective on the use of simulations to teach strategic management by elaborating on their effectiveness in developing soft skills related to social issues often overlooked in simulations' learning outcomes. The framework provides propositions concerning the ability of simulations to develop both soft (societal and human) and hard skills (technical and conceptual) needed by managers. Research limitations/implications ‐ Literature shows that computer-based platforms significantly increase the learning process. While such tools are widely used in teaching hard skills for decision making, they are relatively absent from teaching soft skills for decision making. Future studies should empirically explore the extent to which computer-based platforms help cultivate soft skills. Practical implications ‐ Simulations are one of the most praised learning tools by management students. MBA administrators and strategy instructors would benefit from improved simulations that take into account the social environment surrounding managers. Expanded simulations, then, might lead to better preparation of management candidates for their tasks. In addition, simulation developers may find guidance in the authors' conceptualizations to construct more effective teaching aids. Originality/value ‐ Contrary to the mainstream literature that focuses on hard-skill development through simulations, this study calls attention to simulations' capacity to foster the soft-skills required to be a competent manager.
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Keywords: Experiential learning; Management education; Managerial skills; Managers skills; Simulation; Simulation-based learning; Strategic management teaching

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-03-16

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