Follow the Leader: Are We Teaching Our Students to be Thinkers or Followers?

Peter M. Markulis, Daniel R. Strang

Abstract


Wellington, Faria and Hutchinson state that “Academics that have used business simulations games in their courses have noted that competing teams will generally attempt to follow the leader in regards to strategic decisions.†(344, 2008). While many might agree with this observation, it remains to be seen whether it is actually accurate. The present study attempts to investigate precisely that issue. Do student teams generally use a follow-the-leader (FtL) strategy and if so, do they use it consistently during the rounds (or play) of the simulation and do they use it for key decisions? The results from the present study indicate that indeed many teams do use the FtL strategy. The implica-tions of this are discussed in the paper as well as some sug-gestions for continuing research in the area. The research questions are not trivial as an extensive use of a FtL strate-gy challenges the notion of student learning in using a business simulation. “We’re following the leader, the lead-er, the leader, we’re following the leader, wherever he may go! Wherever he may go… (Chorus--from Peter Pan)

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