What Is a Business Game?

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  • Written By: Geri Terzo
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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A business game, which may also be referred to as a business simulation, has its roots in the military. Historically, the armed forces has used practice exercises to train soldiers on how to react to certain conditions before they enter any real combat. In business, appropriate tactics are similarly employed to prepare an organization or student body for some of the competitive and organizational circumstances that seek to threaten their effectiveness. The use of a business game defensively prepares the participants for what potentially lies ahead so that users have the necessary skills to succeed when virtual circumstances become reality.

There are different applications for a business game where the strategies can be effective. A university setting is a common place where these activities might be used, either in an undergraduate program or throughout business school. In a business simulation, students might use the strategies learned in an economics course to make virtual decisions for a business. Games might also be tailored for a specific industry, such as transportation or agriculture, which adds relevance to the content used in the exercises. Typically, business simulations are electronic and can be performed on a computer or mobile device, although live debates and competitions can occur too.


Online game programs are useful and relevant, but there is another way in which business games can be integrated into a training program. Business games extend to live events, such as tournaments, where participants compete with one another across campuses or corporate divisions. These activities promote leadership and team-building initiatives that can similarly be applied in the workforce. Live business games celebrate the spirit of competition and could enforce the merits of ethical behavior. Games can also provide a glimpse into the reality of competition and some of the common challenges that can occur.

A business game that is used in a corporate setting may create a relaxed atmosphere, but there is likely a very serious intention for the activity. Employees might be presented with a set of realistic conditions and asked to respond. The features in a business game are designed to simulate real life, and subsequently, participants should expect to be faced with limitations and unexpected distractions. An electronic game could interpret the participant's response to situations to gauge the likely outcome. The application could go a step further to outline how such a response, initiated by an employee, might affect financial performance at a firm.


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