Summiting Mount Everest; An Experiential Learning Application for Organizational Behavior


  • Sharon L. Beaudry Oregon Institute of Technology


Organizational behavior, often included as core business curriculum, instructs students how individuals and teams successfully work within organizations. This theory-based course, which often utilizes case studies, can be challenging to transform into a hands-on, applied learning approach. This paper presents an experiential course design for organizational behavior around the theme of summiting Mount Everest. This model utilizes a variety of activities, along with a short computer simulation, in order to immerse students into the experience of ascending the famous mountain. Students encounter what it is like to maintain individual motivation, communicate effectively, develop trust within their team, build a culture, and experience conflict and change, all while designing a successful organization. The course begins with researching the individuals who made the first successful summit of Mt. Everest, which is then followed by a simulated summit attempt with their climbing team, and finally, a merger of the teams to create a world-class climbing expedition organization. This experiential learning design creates an environment that challenges students to apply and test approaches, discover solutions and personalize the task to bring greater meaning and learning to organizational behavior theory.