Activities and Simulations
Powerpoint. Professor Carole Barnett, Whittemore School
of Business, University of New Hampshire, has had
considerable success with an activity that asks students to
develop and teach from their own Powerpoint slides.
- Power Simulation. A
brief but engaging and usually powerful simulation that
creates a three-tier society stratified by status and
- The Organization
Simulation. A highly-involving simulation activity with
a focus on issues of structure, power, politics, and
leadership. It descends from the Power Simulation, but is
different in that the organization has a product to produce,
and there is a client to whom the organization might sell
the product. It is usually a pretty good demonstration of
how tough it can be to get close to the customer while
trying to keep your organization running at the same time.
Monarchs, Lords and Serfs. A short reading that
describes many of the system dynamics that are likely to
occur in the Power Simulation or the Organization
Simulation. We normally assign it in advance -- it doesn't
seem to alter the play of the simulation very much, but it
often helps people see parallels between their simulation
experience and ideas in the reading.
Quality Housing. A relatively short and simple, but
involving team exercise. Teams design and produce housing
(using cards, tape and markers) in a competitive context.
Walking Meditation. Bo Tep, of Saint Mary's College and
Santa Clara University, contributed this short paper
describing his teaching approach to the four-frames. It
includes a "walking meditation" activity using a
lift-move-place-pause rhythm aligned with the four frames.
Global Edge. Global Edge offers a number of
simulations and activities related to intercultural
communication and doing business abroad. Some are
downloadable for free:
Journey to Sharahad: Americans travel to try
to make a deal with a company in Sharahad, which is roughly aligned with
cultures in the Middle East
Trip to Mintana: Similar to Sharahad, but Mintana is
more like cultures in East Asia.
A Visit with the Amberana: A team of Americans
visits an insular tribe in a remote area in Latin
America to try to obtain a rare plant.
Brief Encounters. An brief exercise that puts
participants in one of two distinct cultures, and then
has them mix at a party.
Global Alliance Game. A trading game in which groups
trade with one another to try to gain points. Includes
instructions, a slide deck, and a spreadsheet for
keeping track of points.
Trading Game. This game is a simpler variant
on the model of the Global Alliance game. Multiple
groups, all trying to accomplish the same goals, but
blessed with unequal levels of resources at the
beginning of the game. Groups can trade with one another
or buy resources from the instructor.
Although the site targets high school students, the game
could easily work for undergraduate or graduate
Carpenter Strategy Toolbox:
This site hosts a varied collection of videos, class
activities, readings, etc. The ostensible focus is on
strategy, but many of the activities have broad relevance to
organizational behavior and leadership. [Professor
Russell Coff of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
maintains this site as a tribute to his colleague, Mason
Carpenter, Weikel Professor of Leadership at Wisconsin, who
died in 2011 at age 50.)
The Vision Thing. This activity sets up
3-person (or 4-person) teams, with a CEO, a manager, and
a production worker. The CEO develops a vision in
advance of the activity. The manager translates
the CEO's vision into something that can be built using
a construction kit (such as Legos or Tinkertoys).
The worker builds the manager's design.
The simulation only requires about half an hour, so it
is possible to repeat it with individuals changing to