"To play or not to play?: that is the question"


The use of business games in the context of marketing and SCM studies

Currently, the presence of games in university programs to train their students as future practitioners and let them apply the acquired theoretical knowledge is quite common (Ceberio et al. 2016).

This is especially true in the case of management schools. For example, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) uses a supply chain simulator to teach its students in making strategic and tactical decisions in the context of a fictional company (MIT, 2013). According to Connolly’s et al (2012), games can be classified considering their primary function as: games for entertainment, games for learning and serious games. The two last categories are normally used interchangeably and are the focus of our paper since we expect that games used in the context of a management school have a learning component.

From all the different disciplines that management includes, marketing and SCM (Supply Chain Management) have historically been the areas that use more games and simulations (Faria and Nullsen, 1996) and in that sense the focus of our study.

In the context of learning games, it is important to identify its learning outcomes (Connolly’s et al. 2012) since they directly relate to the benefits that students will take from the game. Wouters et al. (2009) proposed a model of five kinds of learning outcomes that games should have: knowledge skills, cognitive skills, motor skills, affective learning and communicative learning outcomes.

Our objective in this paper is twofold. First, to review the existing business games in the area of marketing and SCM. Second, to classify them according to their purpose following Wouters et al. (2009) classification.

More specifically, we aim to answer the next research question: What is the learning objective of the existing games in the fields of SCM and marketing? By fulfilling our two objectives and answering the abovementioned research question we will be able to provide teachers in the field of marketing and SCM with a comprehensive list of games that they can use for their courses.

In addition, these games will be classified based on their learning outcome, which will help teachers to select the game that better fits with the competences of their programs, courses or subjects.


Sancha, C., Roura, D., Barbarà, A. (2016). "To play or not to play?: that is the question": the use of business games in the context of marketing and SCM studies. Proceedings of the 9th International conference of education, research and innovation, 14-16 November, 2016, Seville, Spain.




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