Employers consistently indicate that university graduates need to demonstrate the ability “to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings” (AAC&U, n. d.). As such, instructors should design experiences that encourage application of learning rather than the more traditional approach of readings, lectures, and tests. One such learning experience is the use of management challenges, or mini case studies, that require students to work in teams and apply concepts to resolve real-life issues. These management challenges, created for use in an introduction to organizational behavior course, are based on a fictional company but reflect actual incidents. Students act as managers in the company, and for each course topic, are presented with a challenge. They learn more about the company, its CEO, and its employees as they encounter different scenarios throughout the course. They work with other managers (their class teams) to apply the concepts they are learning to effectively resolve the challenges. In addition to application of learning, the challenges encourage the development of teamwork, written and oral communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to work with diverse others, all deemed highly valuable by employers (Hart Research Associates, 2015) and all critical to resilience. The teamwork structure also provides students with the opportunity to improve communication, resolve conflict, understand personality differences, support and motivate each other, and lead. The presenter will explain the rationale for the management challenges, offer ideas for designing the assignment, provide examples, and report on learning outcomes.
Maureen Andrade, Utah Valley University, United States