Abstract and Figures

This article examines developments in business simulation gaming during the past 40 years. Covered in this article are a brief history of business games, the changing technology employed in the development and use of business games, changes in why business games are adopted and used, changes in how business games are administered, and the current state of business gaming. Readers interested in developments in other areas of simulation gaming (urban planning, social studies, ecology, economics, geography, health, etc.) are encouraged to look at other articles appearing during the 40th anniversary year of Simulation & Gaming and at the many fine articles that appeared in the silver anniversary issue of Simulation & Gaming (December 1995).
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Simulation & Gaming
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DOI: 10.1177/1046878108327585
2009 40: 464 originally published online 22 December 2008Simulation Gaming
A.J. Faria, David Hutchinson, William J. Wellington and Steven Gold
Developments in Business Gaming : A Review of the Past 40 Years
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464
Developments in Business
Gaming
A Review of the Past 40 Years
A. J. Faria
David Hutchinson
William J. Wellington
University of Windsor, Canada
Steven Gold
Rochester Institute of Technology, USA
This article examines developments in business simulation gaming during the past 40
years. Covered in this article are a brief history of business games, the changing tech-
nology employed in the development and use of business games, changes in why busi-
ness games are adopted and used, changes in how business games are administered, and
the current state of business gaming. Readers interested in developments in other areas
of simulation gaming (urban planning, social studies, ecology, economics, geography,
health, etc.) are encouraged to look at other articles appearing during the 40th anniver-
sary year of Simulation & Gaming and at the many fine articles that appeared in the sil-
ver anniversary issue of Simulation & Gaming (December 1995).
Keywords: business simulation games; debriefing; game adoption; gaming history;
gaming technology; gaming usage; hand-scored games; mainframe
games; PC games
A
s Simulation & Gaming celebrates its 40th anniversary, we are also marking the
50th anniversary of the first use of a business simulation game in a university
course in North America. Over the 40-year life of Simulation & Gaming, the use of
business games has grown dramatically as noted by Wolfe (1993),
Once a novel and cutting-edge teaching technology, this method’s use has reached the
point of relative saturation in various American business course applications. (p. 446)
As is discussed, business gaming usage has grown globally and has a long and var-
ied history. Simulation & Gaming, which has been around for much of the history of
business game usage, has contributed significantly to current business gaming usage
Simulation & Gaming
Volume 40 Number 4
August 2009 464-487
© 2009 SAGE Publications
10.1177/1046878108327585
http://sg.sagepub.com
hosted at
http://online.sagepub.com
Authors’ Note: We would like to thank Dr. Bill Biggs and Dr. Dave Fritzsche for their very thoughtful
comments on an earlier draft of this article.
by Claudia Ribeiro on October 14, 2010sag.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Faria et al. / Business Gaming Developments 465
levels, the advancing technology of business games, how business games are admin-
istered, and the current nature of business simulation games.
A Brief History of Business Games
Both Wolfe (1993) and Hodgetts (1970) contend that the history of business
games can be traced back nearly 5,000 years to the development of board games and
war games. Wolfe, in particular, presents an extremely interesting history of board
and war games from their beginnings in China in 3,000 B.C. and their development
through modern war games. Campion (1995) discusses the computerization of war
games in the mid-1950s.
The direct predecessors of the modern business simulation game can be dated
back to 1932 in Europe and 1955 in North America. In 1929, Mary Birshstein was a
high-ranking manager in the Bureau for the Scientific Organization of Work
(Leningrad, Russia) when it was merged into the Leningrad Institute of Engineering
and Economics. While teaching at the Leningrad Institute, Mary Birshstein got the
idea to adapt the concept of war games to the business environment.
Mary Birshstein developed her first business simulation in 1932. This exercise
simulated the assembly process at the Ligovo typewriter factory and was used to
train managers on how to handle production problems (Gagnon, 1987). From 1932
to 1940, more than 40 similar exercises, simulating the production and distribution
processes at a number of different types of businesses, were developed by Mary and
her team in Leningrad. This promising early work at the Leningrad Institute was then
interrupted for a number of years by World War II. A very interesting overview of
the career of Mary Birshstein, a true pioneer in business gaming development, can
be found in Wolfe and Crookall (1993).
In North America, the modern business simulation game dates back to 1955. In
that year, RAND Corporation developed a simulation exercise that focused on the
U.S. Air Force logistics system. The simulation, called MONOPOLOGS, required
its participants to perform as inventory managers in a simulation of the Air Force
supply system in the same fashion as current business simulations place the partici-
pants into the roles of business managers (Jackson, 1959).
In 1956, the first widely known business game, TOP MANAGEMENT DECI-
SION SIMULATION, was developed by the American Management Association for
use in management seminars (Hodgetts, 1970). This was followed in 1957 by the
development of the BUSINESS MANAGEMENT GAME by Greene and Andlinger
for the consulting firm of McKinsey & Company (Andlinger, 1958) and the first
known use of a business simulation game in a university course, the TOP MAN-
AGEMENT DECISION GAME, in a business policy course at the University of
Washington in 1957 (Watson, 1981).
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From this point, the number of business simulation games in use grew rapidly. In
1961, it was estimated that more than 100 business games were in existence in the
United States alone and had been used by more than 30,000 business executives and
countless students (Kibbee, Craft, & Nanus, 1961). The Business Games Handbook,
published in 1969 (Graham & Gray, 1969), listed nearly 190 business simulation
games. The Guide to Simulation/Games for Education and Training (Horn &
Cleaves, 1980) described 228 business simulation games then in use.
In 1962, a survey of 107 American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business
member universities reported that business simulation games were in use at 71.1% of
the schools surveyed (Dale & Klasson, 1962). Klabbers (1994) reports that the NEW
YORK UNIVERSITY BUSINESS GAME was in wide use in the Netherlands, Israel,
Poland, and Hungary by the early 1970s. A survey of universities in Eastern Europe
in 1980 listed more than 30 business simulations in use in 22 separate universities
(Assa, 1982). The German Survey of Management Games reported that approxi-
mately 200 business games (80 hand scored and 120 computer scored) were in use in
German-speaking countries in 1985 (Rohn, 1986). A 2004 e-mail survey of univer-
sity business school professors in North America reported that 30.6% of 1,085 survey
respondents were current business simulation users, while another 17.1% of the
respondents were former business game users (Faria & Wellington, 2004).
Types of Business Games
Early business games were simplistic with respect to the number of decision vari-
ables included, the number of participants who could be accommodated, the number
of products and markets, and the amount of feedback available to the participants.
This was necessary as the models supporting the early business games were uncom-
plicated and the simulation games were hand scored (Fritzsche & Burns, 2001). As
business schools acquired access to mainframe computers, business games migrated
to this platform, and the complexity of the games increased enormously. Presently,
of course, business games are run on personal computers, allowing for quick and
easy input, easily changeable business environments, and graphical display of
results. Interestingly, many of the early hand-scored business games did not make
the transition to the mainframe era and many mainframe games did not make the
transition to the PC era. Instead, many new business simulation games appeared at
the start of each new era (Fritzsche & Burns, 2001).
Wolfe (1993) described the movement of business games from hand scored to
personal computers in terms of four phases. To Wolfe’s four phases, we’ve added a
fifth—see Table (1).
Business simulation games can be divided into top management games, func-
tional games, and concept simulations (Wolfe, 1993). In top management simula-
tions, participants take on the role of the top executives of a company and are
responsible for the operation of the entire organization. A functional simulation
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Faria et al. / Business Gaming Developments 467
game emphasizes one area of business operation such as marketing, production, or
finance. A concept simulation focuses on one small area of business operation. The
concept game might concentrate on traffic management, advertising management,
sales management, or personnel, as examples. Interestingly, all three types of busi-
ness games date back to the origins of business gaming in the 1932 to 1956 period.
Gaming Organizations
As business games grew in number and usage, organizations supporting the
development and use of business games came into existence. ABSEL, the
Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning, an organization
devoted exclusively to business gaming, was formed in 1974. The first ABSEL con-
ference was held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1974. The first ABSEL meeting
included the presentation of 47 papers and an attendance of 101 interested business
game users who became the original ABSEL membership. The Bernie Keys Library,
named after the founder of ABSEL, contains all papers presented at all ABSEL con-
ferences from 1974 through 2009, as well as the Guide to Business Gaming and
Experiential Learning (Gentry, 1990) and all issues of the Journal of Experiential
Learning. The Bernie Keys Library now contains in excess of 2,100 papers and is
available on a CD by contacting ABSEL or online at www.absel.org.
The North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA) dates back
to 1962. Originally founded as the East Coast War Games Council, the original orga-
nization was devoted to war games. The name of the organization was changed to
the National Gaming Council in 1968 as the emphasis of the organization had shifted
toward business and economic gaming. The name was changed again in 1975 to the
Table 1
Phases in the Development of Business Gaming
Phase Period Developments
I 1955 to 1963 Creation and growth of hand-scored games
II 1962 to 1968 Creation of mainframe business games and growth of
commercially published games
III 1966 to 1985 Period of fastest growth of mainframe games and
significant growth in business game complexity
IV 1984 to 2000 Growth of PC-based games and development of decision
making aides to accompany business games
V 1998 to present The growth of business game availability on the Internet
and run through central servers (e.g., CAPSIM and the
CAPSTONE series of business games and INNOVATIVE
LEARNING SOLUTIONS and the MARKETPLACE
simulations)
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North American Simulation and Gaming Association, and the organization contin-
ues to meet under this name today. The 2008 NASAGA conference, held in
Indianapolis, Indiana, was billed as its 40th anniversary meeting, which dates back
to the organization becoming the National Gaming Council in 1968.
ISAGA, the International Simulation and Gaming Association, was founded in
Birmingham, England, in 1969 and held its first conference in Bad Godesburg,
Germany, in 1970 (Klabbers, 1994). ISAGA is a global organization but is primar-
ily Europe based. ISAGA covers a range of disciplines in which simulation games
are used, and business represents only a small part of each ISAGA conference. The
40th annual ISAGA conference will be held in Singapore in 2009.
Other simulation and gaming organizations that devote part of their programs
each year to business simulation games include SAGSET (the Society for the
Advancement of Games and Simulations in Education and Training) founded in
1969 and JASAG (the Japanese Association for Simulation and Gaming) founded in
1989. Additional organizations that are associated with ISAGA, and often meet
along with ISAGA, include SAGANET (the Simulation and Gaming Association of
the Netherlands), SAGSAGA (Swiss, Austrian and German Simulation and Gaming
Association), OzSAGA (Australian Simulation and Gaming Association), and
SSAGSg (Society of Simulation and Gaming of Singapore).
Adding to the number of simulation organizations, the European Conference of
Games Based Learning (ECGBL) was formed in Scotland in 2007 and held its first
meeting in Paisley, Scotland, at which 33 papers were presented. Only one session
at the first ECGBL conference was devoted to business gaming. The second ECGBL
Conference was held in Barcelona, Spain, in October 2008. Finally, the two newest
simulation organizations to appear, both formed in 2008, are the Indian Simulation
and Gaming Association (INDSAGA) and the Thai Association for Simulation and
Gaming (ThaiSim).
The Changing Technology of Business Games
The first technological advance in business games was the transition from the
hand-scored games of the 1930s to 1950s to mainframe computer–based games in
the late 1950s. The TOP MANAGEMENT DECISION SIMULATION, developed
by the American Management Association, and the TOP MANAGEMENT GAME,
developed by Schreiber, were both available in mainframe versions by 1957.
Although the transition to mainframe games allowed for the development of more
complex games, the more important issue is whether technological improvements
resulted in business games that are better teaching and learning tools. Wolfe (1994)
stated that “business gaming has progressed far more in a hardware technological
sense than it has progressed either as a teaching method or as a field of research”
(p. 276). Fritzsche and Burns (2001) and Adobor and Daneshfar (2006), however,
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Faria et al. / Business Gaming Developments 469
argue that technological advancements in business games have contributed to
improving the teaching and learning aspects of current business games.
Noncomputerized business games were burdensome to use as they required hand
scoring, which was time-consuming and subject to error and limited the games in
terms of complexity of decisions and amount of feedback. Most hand-scored business
games allowed for only a small number of competing participants, one or two prod-
ucts to be sold in only one or two markets, and very simple decision inputs. As main-
frame computer–based games grew in the 1960s, the complexity of the games grew.
Mainframe games allowed for greater numbers of competing companies, more prod-
ucts being sold in more markets, more and more complex decision inputs, and greater
and more detailed amounts of feedback to the participants. According to Fritzsche and
Burns (2001), the 1970s could be designated as the height of mainframe computer
games. Although mainframe business games represented a major improvement over
hand-scored games, the technology was still cumbersome. Participant decisions were
typically submitted on paper to the game administrator, who then typed the decisions
onto key punch cards for entry into the mainframe computer. Errors in reading stu-
dent writing and simple data-entry errors created problems as the results from incor-
rectly entered decisions did not correctly reflect the participants’ performance.
The next significant technology advancement in business games occurred with
the movement to the personal computer in 1984 when IBM launched its first model
and with the introduction of the Windows operating system in 1985, which offered
enhanced graphical user interface (GUI). With this jump in technology, many new
business game authors were able to develop simulation games as personal comput-
ers were more accessible, less expensive, and more user-friendly than mainframe
computers. Although a number of mainframe business games were converted to PC
versions, many new business games were developed over the 1985 to 2000 period.
For business game users, the significantly improved GUI made it much easier to
install and administer business games. Furthermore, as students could now enter
their own decisions and submit them on a disk, a source of potential error was elim-
inated. Because of these advances, there was a significant growth in business gam-
ing usage after 1985 (Faria & Wellington, 2004).
A seminal event in business gaming was the invention of the World Wide Web by
Timothy Burns Lee in 1991. The World Wide Web allows text, images, and media to
be carried over the Internet. Given the heavy usage of the Internet by academics and
business, many business games were converted to allow for Web access. Prior to
2003, however, most Web-based simulations were not yet fully online, which caused
some technical problems (Schmidt, 2003). Specifically, with these simulations, data
needed to be downloaded to local computers and then uploaded to the server pro-
gram. This resulted in security problems that persist with a number of business
games today. The most recent generation of Web-based business simulations, how-
ever, is completely run through central servers with administrator-selected parame-
ters and participant decisions entered to the server, results retrieved directly from the
server, and all data files stored on the central server.
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Emerging Technologies
New technologies that offer a paradigm shift in the way business simulations are being
modeled are currently emerging. Intelligent software agents, called avatars or virtual char-
acters, are now being embodied in simulation games. Intelligent software agents are an
outgrowth of research in the field of artificial intelligence. As stated by Summers (2004),
Virtual characters can interact with each other and their environment producing new
states, information and events. Under these conditions, learners must query the simu-
lation to keep abreast of where it is in the evolutionary process. (p. 223)
The virtual characters (avatars) not only provide information but also may affect the
environment and direction of the simulation. The avatar may take the form of an ani-
mated character, representing a human player, thus creating an emotional engage-
ment for the game participant (particularly because some avatars can show emotion).
Given the capabilities offered by artificial intelligence and “agent-based simulation
games (games that use avatars), the potential exists to capture the pedagogical benefits
embodied within video games with the recent development of “pervasive learning
games. Pervasive learning games build on the framework provided by commercial
video games and the pedagogical design and practice as developed over the years for
educational simulation games (Thomas, 2006). Pervasive games use multiple media
platforms such as mobile phones, PDAs, computers, faxes, television, and newspapers
to deliver real-time game content. As described by Thomas (2006), pervasive games
offer the advantages of being continuous (they are available 24 hours a day, offering
dynamically changing conditions), the game has no set state but is always in a state of
flux, the game emphasis is on the journey rather than the end outcome, and the games
can be played anywhere, at any time, using PDAs and Java-enabled mobile phones.
Virtual reality technologies and “Serious Games” are also on the horizon. A study
by Vogel, Greenwood-Ericksen, Cannon-Bowers, and Bowers (2006) utilized three-
dimensional images with movement on the computer screen in an educational sim-
ulation. The study showed that using a virtual reality program can be a significant
aid in helping to understand complex ideas. “Serious Games” attempt to capture and
combine the engaging components of video games and educational games. Bringing
the massive size, resource, and technology of the video games industry to the devel-
opment of business, educational, health, and public policy games could offer explo-
sive business gaming growth potential (Yilmaz, Oren, & Aghaee, 2006).
A Framework to Assess Technological Change
The impact of 40 years of technological changes on the use and effectiveness of
business games is measured across seven key dimensions. These dimensions are
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realism, accessibility, compatibility, flexibility and scale, simplicity of use, decision
support systems, and communication.
Realism
In a study by Adobor and Daneshfar (2006), realism was defined as the extent to
which game users perceive the simulation to be reflective of life situations. Adobor and
Daneshfar demonstrated that there is a positive relationship between realism and the
degree of learning from the simulation. The authors conclude that a simulation that is
viewed as either too trivial or too complex reduces its pedagogical effectiveness as the
participants find it difficult to see the linkages between the game and reality.
Fritzsche and Burns (2001) noted that the shift of business games to personal
computers with a Windows operating system led to more sophisticated games with
increased numbers of products, markets, decision variables, and vastly increased
feedback as one would find in real companies. Martin and McEvoy (2003) also
demonstrated how the development of computer technology and the rapid improve-
ments in the versatility of programming languages have increased the realism of
business games. Summers (2004) showed that new technologies have allowed com-
puter-based behavioral simulations to embody decision trees and agents, represented
by avatars. Player avatars could take on the role of the company CEO, an executive
or salesperson from a supplier firm, a union leader, or any other role relevant to the
simulation exercise. Yilmaz et al. (2006) stated that
artificial intelligence and intelligent agents are sources of synergy for simulation and
computer-based games. They support a striking realism of the physical environment
and provide unique opportunities for learning. (p. 339)
The realism, and presumably learning value, of business games will continue to
grow. An excellent example of a widely used pervasive business simulation is
INDUSTRYPLAYER, published by Tycoon Systems. The simulation is described
on its Web site as follows:
In real time, you compete against hundreds of players from around the globe for profits
and market share. You experience real competition within a simulation with real market
forces. Your objective is to achieve market leadership. Your success depends entirely on
your business skills and your competitive strategy. (www.industryplayer.com/home.php).
Accessibility
The Internet and World Wide Web have revolutionized the use of business simu-
lations in at least two critical ways according to Dasgupta and Garson (1999): (a) by
providing easy access to a wide variety of simulation games and (b) by providing
Faria et al. / Business Gaming Developments 471
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availability to worldwide, mass audiences, including remote participation by play-
ers. Prior to the Internet and World Wide Web, accessibility to business games and
participation in the games were more cumbersome as business games were often
restricted to one computer at one location. Participation over wider geographic areas
created problems with decision submission and the return of results, with snail mail,
e-mail, or fax often used.
More recent developments in the technology of business games allow for
“learner-controlled learning.” As explained by Summers (2004), the new technolo-
gies can deliver simulation games to any computer with a Web browser, and the busi-
ness games can be played individually or as part of a team. This capability allows for
asynchronous learning. Participants can work through the simulation when they
wish and at their own pace. The development of simulations with access via portable
mobile devices further enhances the accessibility of games (Thomas, 2006).
Compatibility
From the time that business games moved from hand scored to mainframe and then
to PC based, the compatibility of different machines, software programs, and operat-
ing systems was a major concern. As technology changed, problems with respect to the
compatibility of old versus new technologies occurred. Thorelli (2001) discussed a
typical situation with the conversion of a mainframe game to personal computer:
A great challenge in the technology environment relates to PC operating systems.
Beginning with Windows95, Microsoft’s DOS prompt was woefully inadequate to be
compatible with DOS programs of any complexity. The mix of languages embodying
the master program aggravated the problem. (p. 497)
Typical problems with PC-based games during the 1990s were further discussed by
Darbandi (2000).
Like all games that have moved into a Windows95 environment, computers freeze and
error messages still halt the game from time to time. Six sources can cause error mes-
sages and frozen computers: student errors, administrator errors, designer errors, pro-
grammer errors, errors caused by the Windows95 operating system, and errors caused
by the hardware being used. Thanks to the flexibility of Visual Basic, the designers/
programmers can eliminate the middle two sources of errors (p. 292).
More recent developments in object-oriented programs and software libraries
make it easier and less costly to develop and upgrade simulation programs. This
includes the design and customization of specific modules that can be added to a
business simulation game at the user’s direction (Summers, 2004).
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Flexibility and Scale
Barton (1974a) talked about the importance of flexibility in business simulations
35 years ago. According to Barton, the two most important components of flexibil-
ity were the ability of the instructor to change the parameters of the game and the
ability of the instructor to add or delete modules or components of the simulation.
With this flexibility, the instructor could achieve different learning objectives with
the use of the same simulation game. An early pioneer in this effort, Barton (1974b)
developed a business simulation called IMAGINIT that allowed for easy modifica-
tion of the parameters of the game to change the nature of the industry, raw materi-
als requirements, and market characteristics. Other early simulations such as
COMPETE (Faria, Johnstone, & Nulsen, 1974) allowed for variable numbers of par-
ticipants in addition to the flexibility to change the parameters of the competition or
the ability to shift the simulation from solo play to team play and to vary the level of
difficulty of play (Thavikulwat, 1988).
Fritzsche and Burns (2001) note that the shift to the personal computer and
Windows operating system with GUI greatly enhanced the growth of programmable
business game environments. Importantly, not only did personal computer–based
games become more flexible than their mainframe counterparts but also the scale of
the game could be controlled, allowing for the same business game to be played at the
introductory course level by eliminating products, markets, and decision variables all
the way to the graduate level by adding products, markets, and decision variables.
Further advances to the flexibility and scale of business simulations have come
about during the past few years. Object-oriented designs and software libraries allow
game developers to customize simulations to fit each users requirements (Summers,
2004). The use of intelligent agents has given business game users the ability to tailor
simulations to the level of the participants abilities. In addition, intelligent agents can
serve as imbedded “game instructors” that provide advice to the participants as needed.
Flexibility in terms of scale has advanced significantly owing, in large part, to the
World Wide Web. Today, there are business games with virtually no limits on the
number of participants. Thomas (2006) discusses “supergaming, which refers to
large collaborative play made possible through digital network technologies.
Supergaming has the potential to connect game participants from around the world
both as competitors and as team members.
Simplicity of Use
Simplicity of use refers to how easy the simulation is to use. Ease of use would
include (a) ease of understanding how to play the game, (b) ease of understanding the
results returned, and (c) ease of determining what is needed to improve performance.
Adobor and Daneshfar (2006) demonstrated that ease of use by the participants pos-
itively affected learning in the simulation. A survey of business simulation game users
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by Faria and Wellington (2004) also showed that game users are concerned with the
ease of implementing and introducing business games to their students.
The shift to personal computers provided a major advancement in the ease of use
of business simulation games (Fritzsche & Burns, 2001). Starkey and Blake (2001)
further state that
improvements in the user-friendliness of computer systems have had a dramatic effect
on the use of computer-assisted simulations in education. Computers are now seen as
tools to be utilized across the entire range of disciplines, and universities have made a
priority of integrating information technology into curricula outside of the hard sci-
ences, giving rise to the growing field of instructional technology. (p. 541)
Pillutla (2003) adds that “the student can now concentrate on the content and learn-
ing in the gaming exercise without getting too diverted by the mechanics of playing
the game” (p. 112).
More recent developments will have an even greater impact on the simplicity of
use of business simulation games. Summers (2004) notes that the
new technologies have allowed for advanced computer-user interfaces employing video
game-quality graphics, natural language processing, and voice recognition technology.
These capabilities and qualities include online feedback and coaching, advanced inter-
faces, learning on demand, and the ability to teach specific knowledge. (p. 208)
Just emerging is the use of intelligent agents in business simulation games that can
serve as what is being referred to as “help wizards. The help wizard agent can
answer questions directly posed by the game participant and demonstrate how dif-
ferent aspects of the simulation exercise work.
Decision Support
From the mid-1960s through the 1970s, decision support took the form of
enhancing the simulation game with non-computer-based supplemental materials.
Nulsen and Faria (1977) discussed some widely used business game support
enhancements including videotaped commercials, product and brand manager
reports, marketing plans, news releases to which the game participants had to
respond, and similar noncomputerized activities. Nulsen and Faria further reported
that the use of these game support materials resulted in more favorable participant
responses to the enjoyment and learning from the simulation competition.
The development of the electronic calculator in 1975 represented a significant
milestone for the further enhancement of learning through the use of business games.
As noted by Ellington (1994),
I do not think it is generally appreciated just what an impact the advent of the electronic
calculator had on educational simulation/gaming. . . . It is possible for game designers
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Faria et al. / Business Gaming Developments 475
to build lengthy and demanding calculations into their exercises without worrying
about whether the participants will be able to cope with them. (p. 203)
Suggess (1980) reported on the use of a computerized student and instructor mod-
ule package at Temple University to assist both participants and instructors to
enhance the use of business games. The student module allowed participants to enter
their proposed decisions into a program to ascertain expected results if their fore-
casts of the economy, market, and competition were correct. The student module
provided forecasts of profits, cash flow, inventories, accounts receivable, interest
charges, payables, and equity. The administrator module provided a compact listing
of student team decisions, performance results, and relevant statistical analyses for
ease of interpreting and evaluating participant performance.
The development and use of the personal computer was the next milestone in the use
of decision support materials with business games (Fritzsche & Burns, 2001). The highly
powerful microcomputer was developed in the early 1980s and offered inexpensive and
powerful data analysis programs well suited for use with business simulation games. Most
decision support programs were oriented around a spreadsheet program that offered tem-
plates to help participants evaluate the financial and operating implications of their deci-
sions by providing “what-if analysis. These types of decision support programs were
quickly incorporated directly into the simulation game software by many game authors.
By the early 1990s, more sophisticated Internet and Web-based decision support
programs had been developed. An excellent early example was the Web-based
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) package developed by Palia, DeRyck, and Mak
(2002). The BCG package allowed participants to perform static, comparative static,
and dynamic analyses of their own and their competitors’ product portfolios. The
BCG Web-based package allowed game participants to check for internal balance in
their product portfolios, look for trends, evaluate competitor market positions, con-
sider factors not captured in the portfolio analysis, and develop target portfolios.
Artificial intelligence represents the latest development in decision support pro-
grams. Uretsky (1995) explains,
Expert systems and artificial intelligence are commonplace. . . . These techniques are
frequently embedded in the computer programs so that users are not even aware that
they are using them. The expert systems introduce several important simulation/gaming
capabilities. They help participants analyze data and learn from simulated events. They
dramatically modify the simulation to reflect changing situations or needs. They help
the administrator learn about the activities taking place, thus improving both quality or
the debriefing and his or her own administrative skills. (p. 222)
Artificial intelligence technologies have made it possible to develop sophisticated
computer-generated feedback and coaching with business games, including supple-
mental knowledge-based learning materials such as tutorials, reference materials,
exercises, and multimedia application tools (Summers, 2004).
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476 Simulation & Gaming
Communication
Most participants in business simulation competitions are assigned to teams, and
40 years of gaming research has shown that team functioning affects performance.
Studies by Croson (1999), Kramer (1999), Noy, Raban, and Ravid (2006), and
Dasgupta and Garson (1999) have reported that enhanced team communication
improves team performance. The Internet and advancing information and communi-
cation technology (including e-mail, live chats, telecommunications, teleconferenc-
ing, videoconferencing using Web cams, and social networks) allow team members
to communicate more easily and enhance team performance and individual partici-
pant learning. Videoconferencing typically involves a small camera that is connected
directly to a PC. This is a powerful communication tool that has become cost-effective
owning to advances in technology and allows for easy face-to-face communication.
Computer-mediated communication helps group members to generate more alterna-
tives with more equal participation. The Internet is an excellent vehicle for users
from diverse cultural backgrounds to communicate and participate effectively. As
shown by Adobor and Daneshfar (2006), the greater the exchange of ideas among
team members, the greater the learning from the simulation.
Martin (2003) reports that
communication over distance is made possible and relatively fast by a pervasive global
presence of computers and high-speed, high-bandwidth communication links. This
enables the potential for collaborative work to be undertaken within a feasible time
scale. Because time and distance are fundamental dimensional constraints of human
physical existence, this contribution is extremely significant. (p. 25)
The importance of pervasive simulation games, as explained by Thomas (2006), is
not the pervasive technologies that they offer but the social interactions that they
allow among the participants. Plymale (2005) reports that pervasive games offer
improved capabilities for communication, coordination, collaboration, and knowl-
edge exchange by removing time and space constraints. The growing power of the
Internet and Web-based simulations has made these developments possible.
Why and How Business Games Are Used
The review of the technological changes in business simulation games during the
past 40 years as presented in the previous section has shown that there have been many
enhancements to business simulations with regard to their functioning across the
dimensions of realism, accessibility, compatibility, flexibility and scale, simplicity of
use, decision support systems, and communication. This leads to the next important
question with regard to business game changes during the past 40 years, and that is the
pedagogical impact of these technological changes on both why business games are
used and how business games are used.
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To assess the changing nature of why and how business simulation games are, and
have been, used over the years, a review of all articles published in Simulation &
Gaming going back to the first issue was undertaken. From the first issue of
Simulation & Gaming (March 1970) through the September 2008 issue, a total of
1,115 full articles have been published in Simulation & Gaming, and 304 of the arti-
cles have covered some aspect of business simulation game education and learning.
This represents 27.3% of all articles published in Simulation & Gaming.
Why Business Games Are Used
A review of the topics covered in the business education and learning articles of
Simulation & Gaming identified nine central themes as to why educators use busi-
ness simulation games. These nine themes, in order of their frequency of mention in
articles published in each decade and in total across the four decades, are presented
in Table 2. The major themes identified include using games for the experience they
bring to the participants, instructing participants on strategy, teaching decision mak-
ing, accomplishing course learning outcomes and objectives, promoting teamwork,
motivating students, applying theory in a practical fashion, involving students (active
learning), and integrating ideas.
A review of the 304 business simulation education and learning articles shows
that the five topics of
experienc
e g
ained through business games
the s
trategy aspects
of business games
the d
ecision-making e
xperience gained through business games
the l
earning outcomes pro
vided by business games
the te
amwork e
xperience provided through business games
were the most often discussed topics. Each of these topics was covered in more than
20% of the business education and learning articles that have been published in
Simulation & Gaming (many articles covered multiple learning topics).
Interestingly, in each decade of reviewed articles (see Table 2), the same five topic
areas listed in the previous paragraph emerged as the top five article topic areas for
that time period. If we assume that the articles appearing each decade in Simulation
& Gaming on the educational and learning aspects of business games represent the
reasons why business game users were using games, the why of business game usage
has remained remarkably the same during the past 40 years.
Although the same five topic areas emerged as the most discussed business edu-
cation and learning articles each decade, the order of the major educational and
learning topics did change each decade, as shown in Table 3.
As we moved from the 1970s business education and learning articles to the
1980s articles, strategy formulation as a topic jumped from fifth place to first. This
Faria et al. / Business Gaming Developments 477
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478
Table 2
Why Business Games Are Used
1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 40 Years
% of % of % of % of Grand % of
n Total n Total n Total n Total Total Grand Total
Total S&G 213 100.0 244 100.0 363 100.0 295 100.0 1115 100.0
articles
a
Business 34 16.0 74 30.3 124 34.2 72 24.4 304 27.3
simulation
education learning
articles
Leading business Percentage is based on the number of business education and learning articles, not total S&G articles
education and
learning topics:
Experience 5 14.7 19 25.7 23 18.5 45 62.5 92 30.3
Strategy 3 8.8 20 27.0 25 20.2 43 59.7 91 29.9
Decision making 6 17.6 17 23.0 24 19.4 38 52.8 85 28.0
Bloom’s taxonomy, 7 20.6 19 25.7 15 12.1 39 54.2 80 26.3
learning outcomes
and objectives
Teamwork 6 17.6 15 20.3 21 16.9 24 33.3 66 21.7
Motivation 2 5.9 10 13.5 7 5.6 22 30.6 41 13.5
Theory application 1 2.9 7 9.5 3 2.4 22 30.6 33 10.9
Involvement 1 2.9 7 9.5 7 5.6 16 22.2 31 10.2
Integrate ideas 1 2.9 1 1.4 3 2.4 9 12.5 14 4.6
a. Article is defined as a published manuscript and excludes editorials, reviews, rejoinders, news items, and so on.
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Faria et al. / Business Gaming Developments 479
can be explained through the growing sophistication and complexity of business
simulation games. According to Biggs (1990), “There are two dimensions of com-
plexity in business games—game variable complexity and computer model com-
plexity” (p. 27). As described in the section on the changing technology of business
games above, business simulations were becoming far more complex as they moved
from hand scored to mainframe to personal computer–based games. This advance in
technology allowed for business games to incorporate more products, geographic
regions, and far more decision variables. As such, game participants’ abilities to for-
mulate more robust strategies in business games emerged, and strategy formulation
became a more important reason for the use of business games. At the same time, the
development of decision-making skills and the teamwork aspects of business games
became generally accepted by game users and declined in importance as reasons for
using business games during this time period.
In the 1990s, strategy formulation remained the most important reason for the use
of business games as business simulations continued to grow in size and complex-
ity. Also in the 1990s, the development of decision-making skills jumped back up
from fourth place in article topics to second place. The reason for this likely involved
the movement of relatively all business simulation games from mainframe to per-
sonal computers. With the coming of personal computer–based games, business sim-
ulation games were able to include many new decision support tools. This allowed
business game participants to experiment with decisions (often before actual deci-
sion submission) and more deeply analyze individual decisions and their outcomes.
In the 2000s, experience as an article topic jumped from third place to first, and
learning objectives and outcomes moved from fifth place to third. A major force
causing these changes is the broad movement in business education to demonstrate
learning relevance, accountability, and value through outcomes measures of business
learning. Accrediting organizations such as the Association for the Accreditation of
Collegiate Schools of Business (formerly the American Association of Collegiate
Schools of Business) and the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and
Table 3
Rank Order of the Five Major Educational
and Learning Objectives by Decade
1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
Learning outcomes and objectives 1253
Decision-making skills 2424
Teamwork 3545
Experience gained 4331
Strategy formulation 5112
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Programs are refocusing the educational priorities of business schools by asking
them to adopt outcome measures to demonstrate student learning rather than the tra-
ditional measures of what was being taught in the classes. This movement is being
driven in concert with the broadened international reach of both of these business
school–accrediting organizations.
As vehicles for instruction, business simulations remain as powerful today as they
were when first introduced. They allow for dynamic business decision making where
players formulate a strategy and then carry out a series of decisions to implement the
strategy. Game participants receive feedback that demonstrates the consequences of
their decisions, and the participants are able to evaluate their strategies and, if nec-
essary, reformulate their strategies. The experience gained from the repeated itera-
tions of decision periods provides direct feedback to players, from which they are
able to learn.
In a business simulation, decision results are directly attributable to the decision-
making skills of the players involved. In contrast, case analysis procedures remain static
and analogy based where one learns from a detailed example of a managerial situation
that can be carefully analyzed and assessed. One can formulate decisions based on the
case situations, but students are never tested with actual implementation or feedback. If
tested at all, it is in terms of a sequel to the case that describes what the business did and
what happened. If students recommend a course of action other than that which was actu-
ally chosen by the company, they have no way to evaluate their solution.
The development of the Internet has allowed for distributed computing and
greater automation in simulation design. Students can be asked to undertake more
frequent decision iterations, which provides for more experience than ever before
and greater opportunities at strategy formulation. Participants can interact with a
simulator on their own time and learn at their own pace, often a pace that is more
rapid than when batch-operated simulation games predominated. In addition, game
participants can interact with a wider audience of players than ever before, includ-
ing students from different educational institutions and different countries, which
enables a comparative external evaluation of decision-making skills.
How Educators Use Business Simulation Games
In contrast to the reasons why educators use simulation games, the key pedagog-
ical themes relating to how business simulation games are used have undergone
greater changes during the past 40 years. Much of this change in how games are used
is related to the technological changes in business games, as discussed earlier in this
article. Table 4 presents the results of a search of the 304 Simulation & Gaming arti-
cles devoted to business simulation education and learning and presents seven main
themes related to how educators use business simulation games based on the topics
of these articles.
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481
Table 4
How Business Simulation Games Are Used
1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 40 Years
% of % of % of % of Grand % of
n Total n Total n Total n Total Total Grand Total
Total S&G articles
a
213 100.0 244 100.0 363 100.0 295 100.0 1115 100.0
Business simulation 34 16.0 74 30.3 124 34.2 72 24.4 304 27.3
educational learning
articles
Leading business Percentage is based on the number of business education and learning articles not total S&G articles
education and
learning topics:
Teamwork 6 17.6 15 20.3 21 16.9 24 33.3 66 21.7
Interactive 2 5.9 8 10.8 9 7.3 31 43.1 50 16.4
Complexity 2 5.9 13 17.6 6 4.8 28 38.9 49 16.1
Functional 3 8.8 12 16.2 13 10.5 16 22.2 44 14.5
Debriefing 1 2.9 3 4.1 7 5.6 17 23.6 28 9.2
Internet 0 0.0 0 0.0 5 4.0 18 25.0 23 7.6
Quantitative skills 0 0.0 7 9.5 1 0.8 14 19.4 22 7.2
a. Article is defined as a published manuscript and excludes editorials, reviews, rejoinders, news items, and so on.
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The how of business simulation game usage is discussed under the topics of team-
work, the interactive nature of games, game complexity, functional games, debriefing
exercises, using the Internet, and employing quantitative skills. Although teamwork
remains a consistently important theme as to both how and why business simulation
games are used and has been the leading topic of how games are used during the past
40 years, it is only the third most mentioned topic of the past decade. Recently, the
two themes of interactivity and complexity have emerged as predominant in concert
with a third theme, the employment of the Internet for online gaming.
Although a major focus of gaming research 40 years ago was determining the right
size (number of participants) of simulation teams for efficient decision making and
how teams should be formed (e.g., random, self-selection, or game administrator
selection), these issues are not of much current interest. As the number of part-time,
geographically separated, and ethnically diverse students grew in business programs,
the diversity of teams became a more significant focus of business gaming research.
Furthermore, with the advent of the Internet and the development of online learning
and distance education classes, teamwork took on a new meaning. Teams can now be
formed in different geographic areas and still undertake synchronous interaction
online. Even classes that are conducted with the traditional one or two on-campus
meetings per week that allow for face-to-face contact among team members exhibit
different forms of team interaction because of the Internet. Interactive forms of games
allow teams to schedule their meetings more freely and to choose when they want to
make decisions. Furthermore, as games have become more complex because of
advances in computing power, the need for group discussion and decision making to
understand and manage this complexity has become greater.
The use of interactive games has transferred far more of the learning responsibil-
ity of business games to the game participants while making the games less depen-
dent on active instructor operation and manipulation. As such, instructors generally
set the parameters for the simulation competition and enroll the students into the
business game but do not have to concentrate very much on the physical and techni-
cal day-to-day operations of the simulation (e.g., inputting student decisions and
printing results). Game administrators can now concentrate more on the learning and
decision-making aspects of the exercise while participants input decisions at preset
decision deadlines and retrieve results at specified times.
The increase in computing power, the advent of the Internet, and the increase in
interactivity have all enabled game developers to construct more complex simulation
exercises. Consequently, more interactions among business decision variables can be
modeled, and with the asynchronous operations of business games more decisions can
be undertaken during any simulation competition. As models of business games get
closer to simulating the complexity of actual businesses, business education researchers
are more interested in knowing how the increased complexity of games affects student
learning. Although early business games were too simple to allow for complete strategy
development, current games are specifically designed for this purpose. The result is that
482 Simulation & Gaming
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game administrators are able to add exercises such as the development of complete busi-
ness plans to the ongoing nature of business game decision making.
Debriefing has grown tremendously as a topic of interest in simulation research
in the past decade. The discussion of the learning intent of business simulation exer-
cises coupled with feedback from the students as to what they have experienced and
learned has always been a central part of business simulation gaming research
through the decades. The growth in research devoted to debriefing in the most recent
decade is likely related to the growth in importance of outcome-based learning mea-
sures, which have been mandated by business school accrediting bodies. A debrief-
ing exercise of some type is a natural, and necessary, expectation for any outcome
assessment procedure.
The Internet as a vehicle combined with inexpensive hosting and memory storage
services has allowed for distributed computing and provides for easy national and
even international reach for business simulation game providers. Business educators
have a selection of possible sources, which makes it very easy and inexpensive to set
up and conduct business simulation exercises. Student access to the Internet is perva-
sive, which makes it very easy to physically administer business simulation games.
In the past, communication about and distribution of business simulation games
was through traditional textbook publishers. Although some traditional publishers
continue to offer and distribute business simulation games (often as a supplement
attached to a textbook), the current movement is toward Internet-based software
companies that offer stand-alone business (and other) simulation packages.
Companies such as Innovative Learning Systems, Capsim, Industry Player
Simulation Games, Forio Business Simulation Games, and others are Internet-based
companies that market and operate their simulations on the Internet. In addition,
some game authors are now selling and supporting their games on the Internet.
Finally, there are companies that have developed simulations for their specific indus-
try that they market to universities (IBS and Estee Lauder).
Aside from the technical advantages offered by Internet-based simulation games,
instructors are aware of the heavy use of the Internet on the part of their students.
Students are accustomed to communicating and game playing on the Internet. They
interact using social communication software such as Facebook and Yahoo. They
play so-called “massive multiplayer realtime online games” such as World of
Warcraft (www.worldofwarcraft.com) and visit virtual worlds such as Second Life
(www.secondlife.com). As such, it is quite easy to administer business simulation
games on the Internet, and, importantly, students expect and prefer computerized
simulation games to be administered in this fashion.
Although business simulation games may be used as only a small part of a busi-
ness course, the trend seems to be in the direction of the simulation game becoming
the centerpiece of the business course. Business policy or business strategy simula-
tion games are particularly well suited to being the centerpiece for learning in a cap-
stone business course. According to a major survey of business game users (Faria &
Faria et al. / Business Gaming Developments 483
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Wellington, 2004), business strategy games (also referred to as top management
games) are the most frequently used in business education programs.
The employment of functional business games that focus on the specific activi-
ties of business organizations has remained a fairly steady topic among business edu-
cators during the past 40 years, but the ranking of this topic has declined in the 2000s
(see Table 4). Marketing games, accounting-focused games, stock market and
finance games, and human resource management games are all examples of popular
types of functional games. Despite the growth in total enterprise management tools
and games, particularly those available on the Internet through software companies,
businesses still depend on functional experts for their day-to-day operations. Toward
this end, most business schools remain organized along functional lines with their
degree and program offerings. Consequently, the use of functional games to help
educate business students in specialized disciplines continues despite the decline in
ranking among publications discussing how business games are used.
Finally, gaming research would suggest that game administrators have become
more interested in having participants demonstrate the use of quantitative skills
while participating in business games. The availability of more sophisticated analyt-
ical software tools combined with easier data manipulation and interchange facilities
means that business simulation outputs can be more easily assessed and analyzed
than ever before. Students can apply forecasting tools to simulation output as well as
undertake a detailed analysis of product profitability or business segment profitabil-
ity. The basic breakeven analysis or cash flow analysis tools associated with simula-
tion games in the decades of the 1970s and 1980s have not been lost in the current
decade either. The business game participant today has access to a highly sophisti-
cated array of quantitative business tools to apply to the business simulation being
used. In doing so, game participants are developing the skills to apply these same
tools in other business courses and in later career jobs.
Conclusions
As an educational tool, business simulation games have grown considerably in
use during the past 40 years and have moved from being a supplemental exercise in
business courses to a central mode of business instruction. The business simulation
game has become a major form of pedagogy for use in business education.
Business simulation games have evolved in many ways during the past 40 years.
The availability and use of computers for business games have grown enormously.
The physical size of computers (and their costs) has declined from the large main-
frames to portable hand-held devices with superior power. All personal computers
and hand-held devices have communication capabilities and access to the “informa-
tion highway. Game administrators and participants can access simulations any-
where and be connected to all other participants. The Internet and World Wide Web
484 Simulation & Gaming
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allow for the integration and linkage of databases including images, audio, and real-
time videos. As the video images are digitized, they can be readily modified and inte-
grated into the business games. Simulations have become more sophisticated and
realistic. Decision support modules and software tools have become more compre-
hensive and understandable with sophisticated GUIs. Expert systems and artificial
intelligence are being embodied into business games with the use of intelligent
agents or avatars. Virtual reality is emerging and can place participants in a three-
dimensional world with real-time activities.
Although changes in technology are providing more opportunities to improve the
simulation gaming learning experience and a number of pedagogical innovations are
emerging to drive the way in which simulation games are used, the fundamental rea-
sons as to why educators use business simulation games have not changed much dur-
ing the past 40 years. How instructors employ business simulation games has been
less static and offers tremendous promise for future research and experimentation.
Game users have adapted to the technological changes in business games to change
how teams are formed and to upgrade the assignments that are used with business
games and are demanding more from the business simulations to train and motivate
student participants.
With the growing use and portable distribution of highly interactive computer
technology, the continuance and growth of business simulation gaming as a critical
instructional tool during the next 40 years is ensured. Given the speed of technolog-
ical change in business games, the manner of how business games are used will con-
tinue to change dramatically. Games will continue to better reflect the real-world
business environment as their complexity grows. With the growth in computing
power, coupled with the growing ease of use, student participants may be expected
to not only engage in business gaming decision making but also be asked to con-
struct their own “improved” versions of the business games.
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A. J. Faria is head of the Department of Marketing and Management Science in the Odette School of
Business at the University of Windsor. He has authored 10 books, 12 chapters in other contributed vol-
umes, and more than 170 refereed journal articles and conference papers and has won 10 conference best
paper awards. He is a founding member of ABSEL (Association for Business Simulation and Experiential
Learning), and among his publications is COMPETE: A DYNAMIC MARKETING SIMULATION,
which has been in use since 1972.
David Hutchinson is an assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and Management Science in
the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor. He has worked in industry in sales and mar-
keting positions for 20 years and has recently completed his doctorate in marketing. He has contributed
to authoring instructors’ manuals and conference papers (winning an Association for Business Simulation
and Experiential Learning conference best paper award) and has used the COMPETE: A DYNAMIC
MARKETING SIMULATION game extensively.
William J. Wellington is an associate professor in the Department of Marketing and Management Science
in the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor. He has authored nine books and more than 40
refereed journal articles and conference papers and has won four conference best paper awards. He is an
ABSEL (Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning) fellow and the incoming ABSEL
president and has devoted more than 20 years of research toward the use of simulations in business education.
Steven Gold is a professor of economics in the Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute
of Technology. He has been active in the development of economic and business simulations for use in
the classroom and in industry. He is a fellow and past president of ABSEL. He is the author of four com-
puterized simulation games with such notable publishers as McGraw-Hill and more than 30 refereed jour-
nal articles and proceedings in the field of simulation and gaming. The first commercially available
microeconomic simulation game in the United States, MICROSIM, designed for mainframe computers,
was authored by Steven Gold and published with Macmillan in 1984. His most recent economics simu-
lation game is BEAT THE MARKET, published with Gold Simulations, a company he founded.
Addresses: AJF, DH, & WJW: Odette School of Business, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario,
Canada N9B 3P4; telephone: 519-253-3000, ext. 3101, 3112, 3151; e-mail: ad9@uwindsor.ca,
dhutch@uwindsor.ca, r87@uwindsor.ca. SG: Saunders College of Business, Rochester Institute of
Technology, 106 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester, New York 14623-5608; telephone: 716-475-2318;
e-mail: stevengold@cob.rit.edu.
by Claudia Ribeiro on October 14, 2010sag.sagepub.comDownloaded from
... Learning through games is also an interactive way of knowledge exchange [20]. Therefore, in order to increase the motivation and learning effect of students in the course, business simulation games have been widely used as teaching aids [21,22]. Create a better learning environment through a game-based learning model, because for students, compared with the content in textbooks, teaching simulation games can stimulate students' learning motivation [23,24]. ...
... Different from the traditional teaching mode, in order to arouse students' motivation and interest in learning, business simulation games have become the most popular teaching aids in business education [21,22]. However, although there have been a large number of academic studies related to business simulation games in recent years, most of them are to explore the learning effects of business simulation games on individual students [18,29,58]. ...
... With the advancement of technology, the external temptation has far surpassed the attractiveness of textbooks. In order to increase students' concentration and learning motivation, many teaching courses have begun to introduce business simulation games as auxiliary tools [21,22]. Therefore, we suggest that teachers can use more of this type of teaching materials in the design of business courses to increase the richness and practicality of the courses. ...
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Introduction. From the students’ perspective, social loafing has also become a major challenge and problem in group tasks in the classroom. Social loafing may affect students’ enthusiasm and attitude to share knowledge. Aim. This study aims to investigate the mediating effects of knowledge sharing (KS) attitudes on the relationships between KS intentions, perceived social loafing, and learning goal orientation. Methodology and research methods. This study used a game-based team learning situation to explore the students’ KS attitudes and intentions. Questionnaires were also delivered to 336 students in business colleges in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The authors used Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) with bootstrapping estimation to test all the hypotheses. Results and scientific novelty. The findings show that (1) perceived social loafing has a negative influence on KS attitudes and intentions; (2) learning goal orientation has a positive influence on KS attitudes and intentions; (3) KS attitudes have mediating effects on the relationships of perceived social loafing, learning goal orientation and KS intentions. Scientific novelty. This study uses business simulation games as team learning activities to verify the impact of students’ attitudes and intentions on KS in the context of perceived social loafing. Practical significance. Based on the findings, the authors suggest that teachers should not only enhance students’ learning goal orientation, decrease perceived social loafing to promote the intention to share knowledge in teams, but also make students have positive attitudes towards KS.
... Distance and digital learning have also been rapidly promoted in entrepreneurship education (Zulfiqar et al., 2021), because it is more adaptable to the development of the times and promotes students to obtain educational resources as much as possible (Ferreira et al., 2021). As a virtual dynamic learning tool, business simulation games (BSGs) have been developed as a realistic learning strategy, which are currently recognized by more and more scholars in entrepreneurship education (Faria et al., 2009). As one of the experiential learning tools (Hägg and Gabrielsson, 2019), BSGs are regarded as a model of practical learning in the entrepreneurial field. ...
... From the perspective of teacher teaching, many scholars believe that entrepreneurship teachers should innovate teaching methods and use simulation games in entrepreneurship education courses to truly develop students' entrepreneurial abilities (Faria et al., 2009;Wood et al., 2009) and overall quality (Isabelle, 2020). Using BSGs as the first link in the teaching of entrepreneurship education is conducive to better guidance and assistance for teachers in subsequent teaching (Pérez-Pérez et al., 2021). ...
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Business simulation games (BSGs) have been widely used in entrepreneurship education with positive effects. However, there are still some deficiencies in the BSGs, such as limited guidance, low uncertainty and limited simulation environment, which make it impossible to exert the maximum effect. Artificial intelligence (AI) can solve the above shortcomings. The combination of AI and BSGs is the possible development direction of BSGs. But how to effectively combine BSGs with AI is still an open question. Using a quasi-experimental design, this study uses fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis to analyze how participants’ entrepreneurial attitude changes in BSGs. The results show that BSGs can effectively improve entrepreneurial attitude, and there are four types of promotion configurations. These four configurations consist of five antecedent conditions. According to the above conclusions, AI can improve entrepreneurial attitude in BSGs in various ways, such as simulating competitors, providing targeted feedback for failures, and improving game experience. The contribution of this paper is to highlight the possibility of combining AI with BSGs, and to provide suggestions on how AI can intervene in BSGs.
... Distance and digital learning have also been rapidly promoted in entrepreneurship education (Zulfiqar et al., 2021), because it is more adaptable to the development of the times and promotes students to obtain educational resources as much as possible (Ferreira et al., 2021). As a virtual dynamic learning tool, business simulation games (BSGs) have been developed as a realistic learning strategy, which are currently recognized by more and more scholars in entrepreneurship education (Faria et al., 2009). As one of the experiential learning tools (Hägg and Gabrielsson, 2019), BSGs are regarded as a model of practical learning in the entrepreneurial field. ...
... From the perspective of teacher teaching, many scholars believe that entrepreneurship teachers should innovate teaching methods and use simulation games in entrepreneurship education courses to truly develop students' entrepreneurial abilities (Faria et al., 2009;Wood et al., 2009) and overall quality (Isabelle, 2020). Using BSGs as the first link in the teaching of entrepreneurship education is conducive to better guidance and assistance for teachers in subsequent teaching (Pérez-Pérez et al., 2021). ...
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Business simulation games (BSGs) have been widely used in entrepreneurship education with positive effects. However, there are still some deficiencies in the BSGs, such as limited guidance, low uncertainty and limited simulation environment, which make it impossible to exert the maximum effect. Artificial intelligence (AI) can solve the above shortcomings. The combination of AI and BSGs is the possible development direction of BSGs. But how to effectively combine BSGs with AI is still an open question. Using a quasi-experimental design, this study uses fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis to analyze how participants’ entrepreneurial attitude changes in BSGs. The results show that BSGs can effectively improve entrepreneurial attitude, and there are four types of promotion configurations. These four configurations consist of five antecedent conditions. According to the above conclusions, AI can improve entrepreneurial attitude in BSGs in various ways, such as simulating competitors, providing targeted feedback for failures, and improving game experience. The contribution of this paper is to highlight the possibility of combining AI with BSGs, and to provide suggestions on how AI can intervene in BSGs.
... As to test the two developed hypotheses and answer the research paper aim, a simulation game (i.e., business game) has been used. This method has already been recognized by several scholars (e.g., Lainema and Makkonen, 2003;Faria et al., 2009;Kim et al., 2013;Henriksen and Børgesen, 2016;Korchinskaya et al., 2020) as useful to investigate the accuracy of managerial decisions and their application through an analysis of the performances made by the participants of their experiments. In this study, 120 graduate students were involved in the experiment by taking part to the simulation game. ...
... Business simulations characterise a type of gaming media that can address strategic and operational decisionmaking. Recent business simulations have relied on corporate training to understand fundamental economic and operational theories for administering service-based organisations [21,22]. As the most remarkable exercise in a classroom setting, the Beer Distribution Game, originally a board game, illustrates the system dynamics of food distribution systems [23], in particular, the "bullwhip" effect observed in real operations [24]. ...
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Simulation-based pedagogy is fully considered when designing collaborative learning processes. However, particularly for training managerial skills in hospitality industries, limited work has been performed on analysing the impact of business simulations in the direction of a mobile gaming system. This paper presents a tablet gaming setup for a hospitality business simulator representing tourist flow characteristics, resource management, and the interaction of actors based on a competition relationship among hotel chain operators involved in the hospitality industry. The mobile gaming system was tested in game-based learning exercises, as in distance and classroom learning case studies, following identically parameterised scenarios. First, survey scores were collected using the self-report Learning Experience and Outcomes Questionnaire to evaluate ubiquitous human mobile-web interaction. Second, lag sequential analysis was employed to examine learning effects. Finally, a regression analysis was carried out to understand whether mobile gaming behaviours were likely to predict hotel performance as the outcome of the collaborative learning process. A total of 90 graduate students participated in game-based learning sessions in the autumn and spring semesters of 2020 and 2021, respectively. For the self-efficacy section, there were no significant differences in the scores. Sixty percent of the scored items in the classroom learning case study outperformed those in distance learning. Face-to-face participation enables more interaction between participants and mobile devices. The regression analysis delivered a △R2 of 0.43 (F4,31 = 7.56, P
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