Management Games Seminars and other programs

Management game: A development technique in which teams of managers compete by making computerized decisions regarding realistic but simulated situations.

With computerized management games, trainees divide into five or six person groups, each of which competes with the others in a simulated marketplace. Each group typically must decide, for example, (1) how much to spend on advertising, (2) how much to produce, (3) how much inventory to maintain and (4) how many of which product to produce. Usually the game itself compresses a two or three year period into days, weeks per months. As in the real world, each company team usually can’t see what decision (such as to boost advertising) the other firms have made, although these decisions do affect their own sales.

Management games can be effective. People learn best by being involved, and the games can gain such involvement. They help trainees develop their problems solving skills as well as to focus attention on planning rather than just putting out fires. The groups also usually elect their own officers and organize themselves. This can develop leadership skills and foster cooperation and teamwork.

Out side Seminars Many Companies and universities offer Web based and traditional classroom management development seminars and conferences. For example, the American Management association provides thousands of courses in areas ranging from accounting and controls to assertiveness training, basic financial skills, information systems, and total quality management. Specialized associations, such as SHRM provide more specialized seminars for their own profession’s members.

University Related Programs: Many universities provide executive education and continuing education programs in leadership, supervision, and the like. These can range from one to four day programs to executive development programs lasting one to four months. An increasing number of these are online.

The Advanced Management Program of the Graduate School of Business Administration at Harvard University is a well known example. Students in this program consist of experienced managers from around the world. It uses cases and lectures to provide top level management talent with the latest management skills, and with practice analyzing complex organizational problems. When Hasbro wanted to improve its executives’ creativity skills, it turned to Dartmouth University’s Amos Tuck Business School Tuck provided a custom approach to designing a program that would be built from the ground up to suit Hasbro’s specific needs.

Similar programs are offered by Indian business schools and universities. Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), Xavier labor relations Institute (XLRI), Management Development Institute (MDI), International Management (IMI), and many other institutes have partnerships with Indian firms to offer customized programs. For example ONGC’s managers, who have scientific and technical backgrounds, participate in programs conducted by MDI and IMI to improve their general management skills. Similarly, Apollo Tyres partnered with IIMA to provide management training for sales managers.

Video linked classrooms are another option. For example, a video link between the School at Hewlett Packard facility in Roseville, California allows HP employees to take courses at their facility.

Role playing: A training technique in which trainees act out parts in a realistic management situation.

The aim of role is to create a realistic situation and then have the trainees assume the parts (or roles) of specific persons in that situation.

Figure below presents a role from a classic role playing exercise called the New Truck Dilemma. When combined with the general instructions and other roles for the exercise, role playing can trigger spirited discussions among the role player / trainees. The aim is to develop trainee’s skills in areas like leadership and delegating. For example, a supervisor could experiment with both a considerate and an autocratic leadership style, whereas in the real world the person might not have the luxury of experimenting. It may also train someone to be more aware of and sensitive to others’ feelings.

Walt Marshall – Supervisor of Repair Crew:

You are the head a crew of telephone maintenance workers, each of whom drives a small service truck to and from the various jobs. Very often you get new truck to exchange for an old one, and you have the problem of deciding which of your crew members you should give the new truck. Often there are hard feelings, since each seems to feel entitled to the new truck so you have a tough time fair. As a matter of fact, it usually turns out that whatever you decide is considered wrong by most of the crew. You now have to face the issue again because a new truck, a Chevrolet, has just been allocated to you for assignment.

In order to handle this problem you have decided to put the decision up to the crew. You will tell them about the new truck and will put the problem in terms of what would be the fairest way to assign the truck. Do not take a position yourself because you want to do what they think is most fair.