Monday, April 26, 2010

Pre-managerial Business Education: a role for role-plays?

This article looks at the value of role playing into an undergraduate business curriculum. The author contends that those with limited or zero management experience can benefit greatly from a unique perspective on management challenges and from simulating aspects of interaction and decision-making in organizational settings.

Role playing defined
Role-playing has been used and continues to be employed as a tool to facilitate
training in vocational and interpersonal skills and as a method of active learning in
educational and commercial settings. Though there is no single type of role-played
exercise, the term is best applied where the teaching and learning experience rests
with a form of `as-if’ experimentation.

• A opportunity for active learning in a safe, low-risk environment
• Can be applied to many different vocations
• Advance subject-based learning
• Develop a range of transferable skills, qualities and competencies

• Emotionally and intellectually demanding
• The absence of training in role-play disciplines can lead to `under-play’, where the participant’s inability hinders role development, or to `over-play’, where the participant exaggerates or caricatures their part
• Inability of some role-players to effectively participate due to anxiety or dislike of a given role
• Can be difficult to manage or facilitate

How-To (as applied to the business curriculum for this study)
1.) Begin with a historical background and basic understanding of the business concepts/topics at hand.
2.) Determine the teams/groups
3.) Define the roles of the members of the group
4.) Establish the topic to role play
5.) Actively role play
6.) Discuss results and give feedback

This article was accessed through Academic Search Complete through Mercyhurst College libraries: "Pre-managerial Business Education: a role for role-plays?" By Simon A. Mercado


  1. Good look, actually. A fairly accurate assessment of RPing weaknesses.

    In the howto, you need to add "provide teams with background knowledge"

    It's vital that if they're playing a group they don't have first hand experience with (and especially if they /are/ playing from first hand experience) to prime them with background "facts." Not only is this a learning opportunity, but it allows the guide to generally know how the scenario will play out and to "prompt" for factual revelations if absolutely necessary.

  2. Important to note the weakness section in the regards of becoming over- or under-emotionally involved in the roleplay. If an individual is over emotional about a certain subject, it may cause the intended results of the roleplay to be skewed, or the process to be too time consuming because of debates that may arise.

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