Role-Playing as Experiential Learning: Using Dungeons and Dragons to Teach Management Concepts


  • John N. Harris
  • R. Gabrielle Swab
  • Ian S. Mercer
  • David A. Tomczyk


In this manuscript, we discuss role-playing as a gamification activity. We introduce the creation of content-specific fictional characters, allowing management and leadership students to meaningfully engage with course material, while also stimulating students’ creative and outside-the-box thinking. Further, the character-building classroom activity develops students’ skills in decision making, the weighing and assessing of choices, and further, communicating those challenges all while engaging with the course content in a novel and interesting way. Though this activity can be applied to a range of courses, we highlight an example character-building activity in which students create their ‘Ideal Leader’ in undergraduate and graduate classrooms.