Simulated business effectiveness: learning and performance outcomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: This study investigates simulated business learning and performance effectiveness during a simulation task. The learning and performance outcomes of two groups of postgraduate student participants are investigated namely: (a) participants who do not struggle with the task and (b) participants who do struggle with completing the task. Design/methodology/approach: An experiment was conducted using a simulated business, which was manipulated into two initial commencement formats: positive initial format (PIF) and negative initial format (NIF). Individual performance on the task was measured via achievement of performance targets whilst individual learning was measured via causal cognitive maps. Findings: Participants using PIF did not struggle with completing the task and achieved higher performance outcomes compared to participants using NIF, who struggled with completing the task. In addition, the positive association between learning and performance was significantly reduced for participants using NIF who struggled with completing the task Research limitations/implications: This study’s findings are tentative as the sample size is small and several moderator/mediator variables, which may influence the findings (i.e. student learning style/instructor style/cognitive factors), are outside the scope of the study and thus not included. Practical implications: Causal cognitive mapping results and students’ self-assessment of learning during simulated business debriefing, may further help instructors/students identify the differences in individual learning outcomes between those who have and have not struggled with increasing simulated business performance. Originality/value: By using an experiment and causal cognitive mapping to measure individual learning, this study contributes further empirical evidence to the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1036
Number of pages22
JournalEducation and Training
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Balanced scorecard
  • Causal cognitive mapping
  • Cognitive learning
  • Performance
  • Simulated business

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