IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Trappings of Expertise and the Pursuit of Failure

Listed author(s):
  • Ramanarayan S
Registered author(s):

    In the past, people learnt about dealing with complex situations through life experiences. With the availability of computer simulations, it seems feasible to supplement ‘life’ as a teacher to foster learning about the challenges of complex, dynamic, and uncertain realities. This paper describes a computer simulation of a business organization used with 20 groups of participants. Each group had three members and was expected to manage 24 months of the organization in 3 hours of simulation time. The simulation threw up some interesting behavioral patterns, and provided some insights into the typical errors in the planning and decision making behaviors of specialists. For example, it was found that despite a flood of analysts, several specialists seemed hesitant to apply yardsticks, make choices, and take stands. So there was a strong tendency to avoid or postpone action taking. It was also found that each group developed a routine for data collection. Using the metaphor of ‘control panel’, the paper examines how routinization channelizes the attention of the group in certain directions and away from certain areas. Several implicit assumptions were identified which blocked the learning of groups from experience. The paper discusses the behavioral patterns reflective of the assumptions. For example, there was a strong tendency to shrink when things did not go as planned. They key concern was found to be with minimizing mistakes. The concluding section discusses some of the self-reflective comments of the participants and the role of organizational simulation exercises for management training. An attempt has been made to explore the notion of strategic orientation as heightened awareness of the choice points that one encounters. A strategic mind develops better understanding of the functioning of complex systems, and retains its flexibility with respect to the choice points rather than getting entrenched in set behavioral patterns.

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Paper provided by Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department in its series IIMA Working Papers with number WP1993-03-01_01166.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 01 Mar 1993
    Handle: RePEc:iim:iimawp:wp01166
    Contact details of provider: Phone: 91 79 2630 7241
    Fax: 91 79 2630 6896
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iim:iimawp:wp01166. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.