SIMULATIONS FOR STRATEGY COURSES: Difficulty vs. Realism – preliminary findings

Larry Chasteen, Jim Szot, Richard Teach


Simulations are an important part of capstone strategy courses - they facilitate the transfer of knowledge, skills and ability by providing “learning-by-doing” opportunities to the students. They also allow instructors to provide authentic activities situated amidst relevant context, enable learners to grasp not just ‘how’ to do an activity, but the ‘why’ the ‘what, and the ‘with whom.’ Simulations have become an accepted part of strategy classes both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. To be explored is the impact of difficulty versus realism on simulation.  Professors using simulations believe anecdotally what the literature on simulation has suggested for decades: that the simulation should be as realistic as possible, but not too complex that students lose interest and give up. However, detailed measurements are lacking. Previous investigations have shown that this is a complex issue - sometimes simple simulations lead to good team success, but sometimes they don’t. There are many influencing factors. This paper uses a recent dataset collected at a US university in an exploratory study to see the relationship between difficulty, realism, and team results.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Larry Chasteen, Jim Szot, Richard Teach

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