Title page for ETD etd-03312010-155227

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Schlosser, Michael
URN etd-03312010-155227
Document Title Business simulations : transforming mental models
Degree MBA
Department Gordon Institute of Business Science
Advisor Name Title
Dr C Lew Supervisor
  • simulation methods
Date 2007-04-08
Availability unrestricted

The purpose of the study was to determine whether business simulations helped further systems thinking in individuals. To establish whether improved systems thinking may be a result of participating in business simulation programs, participants needed to be separated from their day-to-day reality and confronted with managing their organisations in a virtual world.

The virtual world in which participants needed to immerse themselves was a customised business simulation designed to capture some of the critical elements of their organisation in a simplified virtual micro-world. This new world allowed participants to engage with and experiment with their organisations in a risk free environment and from a holistic systems perspective. Experimental research was conducted to determine whether it may be possible that individuals participating in these business simulation programs experience a shift in mental models towards systems thinking.

The feedback received from participants showed high levels of agreement with respect to the fact that the simulation tools allowed them to engage with the virtual model from a systems perspective. Approximately a third of all participants reported that their most significant insight during the simulation program was in some way related to their new way of seeing and understanding the system of which they are part.

The study concludes with the notion that organisations should further encourage systems thinking, which will help them deal with the complexity of the environment in which we operate on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, improved systems thinking may help us overcome some significant barriers to learning and thereby improve our capabilities in respect to dealing with change. Further research is needed to better qualify the specific skill sets necessary for improved systems thinking.

2006 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Schlosser, M 2006, Business simulations : transforming mental models, MBA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-03312010-155227/ >


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