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Simulation Business Games in the Research of Marketing Managers’ Decision Making Process

Marcin Awdziej () and Jolanta Tkaczyk ()
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Marcin Awdziej: Kozminski University
Jolanta Tkaczyk: Kozminski University

International Conference on Marketing and Business Development Journal, 2016, vol. 2, issue 1, 82-90

Abstract: Wierenga (2011) argues that simulation business games are suitable research method to develop knowledge of how marketing managers make their decisions. This area of research in marketing is still underdeveloped. The quality of these decisions is single most important factor determining how successful marketing management of a company would be. Marketing decision making process and its results are determined with vast number of factors, such as consumer behaviour, competitive reactions, state of the economy or relationships with intermediaries. The interrelationships between these factors are complex and not easy to understand, which implies high levels of risk and uncertainty of any decision to be made. Even if marketing managers have access to information and understand necessary relationships between the key market factors, the final decision is always made by a marketing manager, who must identify the central problem, make appropriate analysis within limited timeframe, formulate strategy and propose its implementation. However, little is still known what leads to good or bad decisions, and our understanding of the underlying processes is very limited. Better understanding of how marketing managers make their decisions is crucial to develop appropriate support tools and systems. Complex cognitive processes are very difficult to be researched with traditional empirical methods, such as surveys or interviews. Simulation business games allow observation and measurement of decision makers in “known environment”, which is controllable and complex enough to emulate real life decision making process. Dickinson et al. (2004) argue that simulation business games not only allow investigation of complex phenomena, but also study of their development in different timeframes, as they recreate realistic conditions on emotionally involving experimental setting. The aim of this paper is therefore to provide an in – depth, critical analysis of possibilities and limitations of simulation business games as research method to investigate decision making process of marketing managers. The concept, limitations and potential of simulation business games are identified in this article. Selected proprietary simulation business games are compared to identify their potential and applicability to conduct experimental research of how marketing managers make long and short term decisions. Simulation business games, although criticised for limited mundane realism and validity, are useful research instruments, allowing investigation of complex decision making processes.

Keywords: simulation business games; marketing decisions; decision making process (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: M31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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