The Effects of Different Team Sizes on Business Game Performance

Joseph Wolfe, Thomas I. Chacko


"The effects of four different team sizes in a complex business game were studied. Firm size was associated with non-linear performance results and different learning outcomes, learning sources, attrition rates and decision-making behaviors. 3-member firms obtained the highest learning levels while 2-member firms experienced marginal knowledge increases. Single- member firms experienced the most bankruptcies and drop-outs. The impact of cumulative gaming research has provided the material for a contingency view of business game effectiveness. This view recognizes that a game’s outcome effects are a function of a wide variety of factors including the classroom’s atmosphere, procedural matters, the material being taught, student involvement, and the administrator’s teaching skills and perceived demeanor. Research has been conducted on the game’s complexity, instructor involvement, prior student associations, game pacing, learning objectives, and student preparation, aptitude and cognitive structure. Missing from this contingency array is empirical and controlled research on the effects of team size on game performance, playing behavior, and student learning. The firm’s size should affect the number and nature of the learning cues available per member which in turn should influence the quality of the learning cycle’s participative aspect. It is apparent, given other contingency factors, that an optimal team size might exist for maximum student learning and that different team sizes may produce unique learning environments and results. "

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