Policy Deployment and Learning in Complex Business Domains: The Potentials of Role Playing

  •  Federico Barnabè    


This article focuses on the use of Role Playing games in management education, aiming at demonstrating that they have the potential to provide concrete experiences in which participants can acquire conceptual knowledge and operative skills, both at the individual and the collective level. More specifically, Role Playing games are powerful tools able to support participants’ learning at different degrees, since they provide a context and the conditions for concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. To pursue this aim, a specific Role Playing game was used in an MBA setting focusing on the management of a typical supply chain. Additionally, a nominal group technique facilitated the emergence of group consensus, and the development of improvement policies. The research design and the results of several gaming sessions are discussed and analyzed according to the theoretical framework presented in the article. Overall, this study shows that Role Playing simulations can play a serious and relevant role in management education, providing free and safe environments in which participants can face decision-making issues, and problem-solving challenges.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.