Are Good Strategy Decisions Consistently Good? A RealTime Investigation


  • William J. Wellington
  • A. J. Faria
  • David Hutchinson


The present study is a variation of an earlier study by Green and Faria (1995) that examined the consistency of good simulation game strategies across industries. The original study used post-facto data where, a winning strategy in one simulation industry was randomly transferred to a second industry and then all decisions were rerun to test the effectiveness of the strategy in a different competitive environment. The winning strategies were identified at the “end” of the simulation and the strategies stood on their own. Further, in the re-run neither the original winning strategies nor competitor strategies could be adjusted in real-time. The present study, using Merlin: A Marketing Simulation (2004), sought to overcome these limitations by introducing an “optimal” winning strategy decision in every industry, by adjusting the strategy period-by-period and by having the optimal strategy decision introduced during interactive game play. The study, involving 423 students grouped into 73 different industries, found that an optimal strategy decision was significantly superior in seven out of eight simulation competition decision periods and the set of optimal decisions were superior at the end of the simulation play. It was concluded than an optimal strategy decision is consistently good and is transferable in a simulation environment.