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Learning through business games – an analysis of successes and failures

A. Gonen (Faculty of Management of Technology, Holon Institute of Technology – HIT, Holon Israel)
E. Brill (CEO at Decision Makers, Ltd, Shoam, Israel)
M. Frank (Head of Department at the Faculty of Management of Technology, Holon Institute of Technology – HIT, Holon, Israel)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 25 September 2009




The purpose of this research paper is to explore the interrelations between success in the Business Games course and other MSc courses, and the parameters that influence success in managing firms in business games.


The research sample was comprised of graduate students from the Management of Technology faculty at Holon Institute of Technology. They study courses in the program, including the Business Games course. Special business game software, named Decision Makers, was used for the analyses. Statistical analyses of the interrelations among different program courses cover the main purpose. After defining five success criteria, statistical analyses of success and failure are presented.


In this course, success was generally uncorrelated with other courses. The reason for this was probably due to its project‐based learning (PBL) environment. The study shows that students tend to reduce their efforts across time and improve their performance, due to the “learning curve”. Analysis of the results shows that when teams overused the simulation runs, they do not analyze their situation, but rather prefer the “trial and error” method.

Research limitations/implications

The present study provides results about the importance of training managers through using the business game simulator.


Using PBL is very exiting for those students who have difficulties in classroom studies. By using PBL, these students rapidly improve their management skills.



Gonen, A., Brill, E. and Frank, M. (2009), "Learning through business games – an analysis of successes and failures", On the Horizon, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 356-367.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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