Emergent Simulations in Administration Courses

Claude T. Wynn, George E. Crawford

Abstract


" The concepts of simulation and experiential learning provide opportunities and results that are difficult to obtain using traditional lecture methodology. The manipulation of a simulation model, through trial and error, to yield optimal solutions is considered as an intermediate step between proposed problem solutions and real life experimentation. Could a better operational definition be stated for higher education, particularly in business? Often business professors overlook the most readily available and perhaps potentially most parsimonious simulation regarding organizations and human interactions in those organizations. When we do recognize the fact that our instruction takes place in an organization setting and our class itself is a potential work group, or set of work groups, we often limit the utilization of these givens, to the more obvious areas of human relations, principles of administration, and maybe organization theory. This paper describes a general simulation framework which the authors have applied to a broad spectrum of business courses. Based on this experience, we have come to the position, that with a degree of effort and creativity this approach has potential for most areas in the business curriculum. We started from the premise that the objective of a college of business was to train students to be professional managers. This goal was translated into activities that result in experience in making decisions in situations where all the facts are not known. In addition, those facts that are known are continually changing. This appeared to be an accurate description of a rather broad range of business areas. Due to the involvement of the authors in the Business Policy course area, we were aware of the need to encourage students to recognize that many business functions cut across all the operational activities of a firm. A benefit of the structure described in this paper is the creation of opportunities for the student to see parallels and make syntheses. It is our feeling that, this process is necessary for true wisdom to be gained in all areas of administrative problem solving. "

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