Collaboration Dilemmas & Dynamics
The Eagle Racing Simulation
A Multimedia Organisational Change Simulation
The Eagle Racing Simulation: The EagleRacing Simulation is a video-based management simulation enabling players to experience a number of collaboration dilemmas, face complex team decision making tasks as well as better understand the opportunities and limitations of collaboration technologies in organizations. It provides the basis for highly interactive, collaborative learning experiences which can be deployed within management development programs and events, both online and offline.
Areas: Change Management, Organisational Behaviour, Technology and Innovation Management & Marketing, Collaboration Dilemmas and Dynamics
Authors: Albert A. Angehrn, Professor of Information Technology and Director of INSEAD's Centre for Advanced Learning Technologies (CALT)
Minimum time required: 1/2 day (ideally: 1 day)
EagleRacing is a video simulation in which players are asked to work in teams over the course of an entertaining, multi-episodic portrayal of a race-car company using actors who play the company’s management roles and who must make high level decisions about the firm’s financial future.
Having lost its primary multi-million dollar sponsor, EagleRacing finds itself short of $18 million in sponsorship. The marketing director, however, has identified two new potential sponsors: an English company (Goodman) that offers only a partial sponsorship but easily appears on the surface to be a good match, and a German company (Bauer), willing to pay the full amount of money needed in exchange for an exclusive sponsorship, but whose reputation is being publically decimated in a small newspaper for having reputedly sold illegal arms to an Arab country. Playing as the marketing director, each group must make a choice between the two sponsors in order to advise the CEO of Eagle Racing which option offers the most lucrative deal-solution for the company.
Each sequential episode (three game dilemmas in all) builds upon the repercussions from the choice made in the prior episode, and this linked sequencing further allows players to experience realistic consequences of their actions and decisions, just as they would in real-world business situations.
The objectives of the simulation are to literally force each team to deal face-to-face with difficult decisions while under pressure and amidst unknown variables and risks based on rumors and cultural innuendo. Teams have to evaluate the short-term versus long-term objectives of the EagleRacing’s financial condition, and weigh the opportunities available in each choice against the risks inherent in each choice.
The various episodes of EagleRacing ultimately end by addressing four main key learning points
- Selecting collaboration partners – this is the individual dimension of choosing a company to sponsor Eagle Racing and it involves getting teams to work through cultural conflicts, ethical issues, rumors and reputation, formal vs. informal objectives, and short- vs. long-term considerations.
- Complex group decisions – To Race or Not to Race – this is the group dimension of the episodes in which groups have to make decisions with incomplete information, weighing emotional vs. rational choices, formal vs. informal responsibility, respect for experts vs. managerial superiors.
- Organizational / Cultural Dimension – Collaborate or Compete – This decision making requires groups to examine the costs and benefits to the organization as a whole
- Organizational / Cultural Dimension – Transparency vs. Diplomacy – this decision making requires teams to work through a conflict of open sharing and “looking good” (i.e., maintaining dignity) and helps them learn more about formal / informal communication processes.
The EagleRacing simulation also simulates the types of traps that teams invariably face, such as the trap of groupthink in which no one is willing to challenge the majority (research typically showing that group decisions are often less optimal than individual ones). Another trap related to complex group decisions is selecting the evidence one prefers, rather than seeking out additional evidence, brainstorming additional options, etc... This is the challenger disaster, a tragic example of preferring evidence one wants to hear rather than listening to more accurate evidence that came from the ranks.
In sum, EalgeRacing provides an effective testing ground for groups to better understand and witness their own process of collaboration (i.e., forming, storming, norming, and performing), and thus increase awareness of their resistances to collaboration - and thereby enhance their problem-solving and conflict resolution skills.
Eagle Tube is an on-line video-based system developed at the Centre for Advanced Learning Technologies (CALT), aimed at supporting and stimulating experience exchange and innovation-oriented collaboration among educators deploying the EagleRacing simulation.