Abstract for: Improving Strategic Thinking in Management Education with System Dynamics based ILEs: Reflections on a Case Study

Over the past few years there has been an increasing interest in using computer simulation models in order to create learning laboratories (Interactive Learning Environments - ILEs), for management education. Particularly when combined with System Dynamics simulation models, ILEs have proved their validity in a variety of different fields. Starting from the previous considerations, this paper focuses on the use of System Dynamics based ILEs for processes of individual learning. In particular, the paper presents and discusses the main features of an ILE based on a case study related to service quality management. The effectiveness of the ILE in fostering individual learning has been assessed through a computer based experiment run in a master course classroom. Additional comments and data were gathered through a feedback questionnaires that was delivered to the participants. Among its findings, the paper shows that the ILE supported players to learn to: a) balance the growth of demand-side and supply-side resources; b) simultaneously control tangible and intangible resources; c) take into account the presence and the effects of time-delays; d) develop and apply policies, understanding the short and long term consequences of their decisions.