Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Role-Play Technique as an Innovative Training Technique

In this article, the author discusses the use of role-playing as a training and development technique for employees in organizations. According to the author, role play as a training technique serves as a multi –skill developing weapon where the trainee not only develops a broader perspective about the task or new role but also the horizon of understanding others behavior resulting into empathy, team work, better communication, interpersonal skills and management development takes place. The method helps in developing both cognitive and affective component of perception and helps in knowing how people behave and why people behave in different ways. The technique also focuses on emotional, behavioral and perceptual basis for development.
The author listed the following objectives of role playing as a training technique:
  1. Help develop a better understanding of the job
  2. Understand how to handle a particular situation
  3. Develop a better understanding of the issues for better decision making
  4. Help in developing communication, management development and leadership quality
  5. Help improve the interpersonal skills
  6. Help provide an insight to understand behavioral patterns of others

The success of this technique depends on the role brief, set circumstances, and the utility expected from the technique. Benefits or outcome of role play as a training technique are:
  1. It helps in both cognitive and effective development of trainees, and better learning by doing.
  2. It permits practice by repetition and helps in better reinforcement
  3. It also helps in improving human relation since it helps I developing empathy
  4. It helps in making people sensitive towards others
  5. It helps in better SWOT analysis of individuals and thus the feedback given helps in identifying and overcoming the deficiencies.
  6. It enables the role player to control his behavior and enact as if he is enacting in a real life situation
  7. It helps in bringing attitudinal changes in the employees as trainees
  8. It is a more practical approach than other technique since in this the learning by doing and feedback that whether a behavior reflected is acceptable or requires change can be given.

Before selecting this technique for training, it is essential that the organization identify the objectives, experience of the trainee, and the issue or task at hand. The goal should be with maximum involvement of individuals as participants so that an overall exposure and understanding of attitude, skills, knowledge, behavior, expectation, need for improvement, emotional stability, and required competencies can be identified. 

Chaturvedi, V. (2009) Role – Play: An innovative training technique.


  1. Would you see this as a useful training technique for national security analysts employed by the US government? If so, what roadblocks are in the way of its implementation?

  2. Did the article say what companies or types of companies were employing this strategy to train their employees? I assume jobs that have a lot of person to person contact like sales people, bank managers etc. probably use this. It could also possibly be used in a national security/intel field to train new analysts in mock scenarios. Maybe...

  3. Carl – The article didn’t specify of any companies using this technique. It looks like the author wrote this article as an assignment to one of her MBA classes. I think the author meant this in a business environment. So, I agree with you that it is used for people oriented positions. I know a lot of call centers use this technique in India :P

    With that said, (addressing Mike’s Question), I see this being useful in training field agents and HUMINT gatherers in the National Security field. Nevertheless, training settings never really account for all factors or think like the actual people in a real scenario.

  4. I do not doubt the article's interesting spin on uses for role playing, but are there any specific cases or studied by the author to back the claims that are made about role playing?

  5. Sam - My thoughts exactly. The article was poorly written with no sourcing. But I did like some of the points the author brought up.

  6. I mean, the author did not have any cases to back up the claims.