A widespread interest in organizational learning has been precipitated by the need for radical change and strategic renewal in many institutions. “Learning laboratories” or “microworlds” have been proposed as powerful tools for enhancing learning through experience. As costs of technology decline, and software becomes more accessible, the use of customized computer simulations in microworlds will become a feasible option for many management development programmes. Describes a leadership development programme in the telecommunications industry in which a customized microworld computer simulation was used to promote managerial learning, teamwork and co‐operation. Goals of the programme include development of a new paradigm for competition in the industry and a new vision for the organization. A unique feature of the programme was that success of the microworld was measured and systematically evaluated. A significant impact on improved co‐operation, individual and group learning was observed. Discusses characteristics of microworlds and challenges to simulation designers. Finally, presents some guidelines for successful microworld design, together with suggestions for future microworld application.
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