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Staff training for business process improvement: The benefit of role‐plays in the case of KreditSim

René Börner (ProcessLab, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Frankfurt, Germany)
Jürgen Moormann (ProcessLab, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Frankfurt, Germany)
Minhong Wang (Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 30 March 2012



The paper aims to explore staff's experience with role‐plays using the example of training bank employees in Six Sigma as a major methodology for business process improvement.


The research is based on a case study. A role‐play, KreditSim, is used to simulate a loan approval process that has to be improved by the participants. KreditSim has been conducted many times with various groups in both academic and professional environments. The authors used five role‐play sessions to conduct a survey among the participants and questioned seven facilitators experienced in KreditSim to generate empirical evidence for the effectiveness of such role‐plays.


Role‐play based simulations complement training programs in terms of active participation and first‐hand experience. Not only methodological learning is achieved but social and communicative as well as affective learning are supported, too. The employed role‐play highlights the relevance and applicability of the Six Sigma methodology to staff's day‐to‐day responsibilities. Besides boosting awareness for process thinking, the role‐play also helps to engage staff members in process improvement efforts.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation to the results might be the small number of facilitators that supervised the role‐play sessions so far. Thus, results may not be representative in a statistical sense. Moreover, the design of KreditSim could be modified in different ways for future seminars. Using software to automate certain activities is one possible modification. Ongoing research investigates in how far such modifications influence the effectiveness and the participant's perception of the role‐play.

Practical implications

The present study reveals that role‐plays can be effectively used for staff training. The results show that staff are strongly receptive to role‐plays in the context of business process improvement. Furthermore, several objectives such as methodological or social learning can be pursued and combined by this type of training instrument.


This article contributes to existing research in analyzing the effectiveness of role‐plays in a workplace setting. The paper is based on a number of professional role‐play sessions within the financial services sector. The survey comprises multiple dimensions of learning and supports that staff appreciate the usage of role‐play based simulation in a workplace environment.



Börner, R., Moormann, J. and Wang, M. (2012), "Staff training for business process improvement: The benefit of role‐plays in the case of KreditSim", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 200-225.



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