Assessing Systemic Thinking in Undergraduates: An Exploratory Study Using a Total Enterprise Business Simulation


  • Michelle L. Washington
  • Raghu Kurthakoti
  • Annette L. Halpin
  • Steven Byrd


Assessing the extent to which systemic thinking is developed through total enterprise simulations is critical in measuring the effectiveness of this tool in the business curriculum. This exploratory research aims to quantitatively evaluate and assess the level of systemic thinking that undergraduate students in a first-year business course develop during the use of a business simulation. Students provided feedback on decision summary reports which was content analyzed to develop a rubric that was used to evaluate the extent of systemic thinking development among students. Further analyses were conducted to relate the level of systemic thinking to organizational performance. Results indicate that students who start with a low level of systemic thinking show an increased level of systemic thinking as the simulation progresses. We also found a positive relationship between systemic thinking and organizational performance both in the short and long run.