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Simulation Game Outcomes: A Multilevel Examination of Knowledge Sharing Norms, Transactive Memory Systems, and Individual Learning Goal Orientations


  • Janice Francis Super
  • Teresa K. Betts
  • Heath Keller
  • Joy Roach Humphreys


Background . Because computer-based simulation games are widely used in university classrooms, it is important to investigate factors which can lead to effective student team performance and positive individual outcomes. Aim . This correlational study aimed to examine the effects of knowledge sharing norms, transactive memory systems , and individual learning goal orientations on game outcomes. Method . The setting for this study was an undergraduate logistics and supply chain class. The class uses a serious simulation game which is designed to realistically mimic the business transactions within an enterprise resource planning system (ERP). Cross-sectional surveys captured individual learning goal orientations . After multiple rounds of simulation game play, subsequent surveys captured student reactions , perceptions of knowledge sharing behaviors, and transactive memory systems . Results . Two sets of analyses were conducted using a sample of 100 undergraduates performing in 42 teams. At the group-level, OLS regression results suggest that, while there was no effect on objective team performance, knowledge sharing norms enhanced perceptions of team performance , and this effect was mediated through the development of transactive memory systems. For individual-level outcomes, multilevel results suggest that knowledge sharing norms were positively related to satisfaction with the team , but not satisfaction with the task . However, transactive memory systems were positively related both satisfaction with the team and satisfaction with the task . Individual learning goal orientation was positively related to satisfaction with the task but not satisfaction with the team. Conclusion . Our findings suggest that learning goal orientations and norms for knowledge sharing are linked to positive outcomes of team-based simulation game learning activities. Because learning goal orientations are malleable and norms for knowledge sharing can be encouraged, these factors are within the influence of the instructor. As such, they should be nurtured and developed through the active encouragement of experimentation, exploration, and communication between team members.

Suggested Citation

  • Janice Francis Super & Teresa K. Betts & Heath Keller & Joy Roach Humphreys, 2020. "Simulation Game Outcomes: A Multilevel Examination of Knowledge Sharing Norms, Transactive Memory Systems, and Individual Learning Goal Orientations," Simulation & Gaming, , vol. 51(6), pages 830-858, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:simgam:v:51:y:2020:i:6:p:830-858
    DOI: 10.1177/1046878120943255

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Narda R. Quigley & Paul E. Tesluk & Edwin A. Locke & Kathryn M. Bartol, 2007. "A Multilevel Investigation of the Motivational Mechanisms Underlying Knowledge Sharing and Performance," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(1), pages 71-88, February.
    2. Kyle Lewis, 2004. "Knowledge and Performance in Knowledge-Worker Teams: A Longitudinal Study of Transactive Memory Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(11), pages 1519-1533, November.
    3. Kyle Lewis & Donald Lange & Lynette Gillis, 2005. "Transactive Memory Systems, Learning, and Learning Transfer," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 16(6), pages 581-598, December.
    4. Kathryn M. Bartol & Wei Liu & Xiangquan Zeng & Kelu Wu, 2009. "Social Exchange and Knowledge Sharing among Knowledge Workers: The Moderating Role of Perceived Job Security," Management and Organization Review, The International Association for Chinese Management Research, vol. 5(2), pages 223-240, July.
    5. Kyle Lewis & Benjamin Herndon, 2011. "Transactive Memory Systems: Current Issues and Future Research Directions," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(5), pages 1254-1265, October.
    6. Kurt T. Dirks & Donald L. Ferrin, 2001. "The Role of Trust in Organizational Settings," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 12(4), pages 450-467, August.
    7. Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa & Ann Majchrzak, 2008. "Knowledge Collaboration Among Professionals Protecting National Security: Role of Transactive Memories in Ego-Centered Knowledge Networks," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(2), pages 260-276, April.
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