The Windows version of the 4th edition, released in December 1998, proved to be a very solid enhancement. The 5th edition, released in 2002, built upon this foundation with a significant number of changes to advance its educational value. The 6th edition added the Internet integrated mode along with other changes that provided benefits to all users. The 7th edition upgrades the programs to run on the most recent versions of Windows, simplifies administration of the simulation and includes a number of small changes to benefit both students and administrators. The recent release of the full Internet version further supports our objective of offering a meaningful educational experience while minimizing the operating requirements for both students and administrator. Most of the changes over the years have been made to enhance students’ learning experiences. Other changes have been made primarily to benefit the administrator. Many of the changes benefit both parties, thus you might want to scan down both lists. The 7th edition was released in 2016 with the Internet version added in 2017, and we will continue to improve it with updates and additions in the future. The lists below list significant changes made over all four editions.
Features to Enhance Education
- The strong international component added in the 4th edition has been enhanced by offering a choice of countries to represent the fourth market area. Each country includes the addition of a separate economic environment with realistic cost and demand relationships and CPI and GDP measures. The environments are connected via relevant exchange rates.
- Player output may be printed in English, Portuguese, or Spanish or a combination of the three via parameter settings.
- A domestic competition may be provided by choosing Merica 4 for the fourth market area instead of a foreign country.
- Financial reports are structured by market. Thus firms can assign each market area to an individual member who is responsible for the performance of that market area.
- Sales offices are located in each market area. The sales office in an area is responsible for managing its own inventory and its sales force. During any quarter, current inventory plus the units ordered and received by the office are available for sale. If the office does not place an order, sales will be limited to inventory on hand in the market area.
- If a firm decides it no longer wants to compete in an area, it may close its sales office and leave the area. It may later decide to reenter the area by opening a new sales office.
- If a firm decides it has too much productive capacity, it may close a plant in any area. The plant is sold to a local developer. A new plant may be built in the area at a later date if productive capacity is desired.
- A graphing program is built into the game software. Graphs can be used to quickly assess the performance of the teams in a World over the number of years of play or the number of quarters of play. The Graph function is located in the Reports menu.
- Sales force separations are reported so that teams can more easily keep track of their sales force.
- Layoffs or deactivating production lines will cause productivity to decline for a while due to the negative impact upon employee moral.
- All computer generated reports up to the current quarter may be viewed on the computer screen at any time and any of the reports may be printed as needed.
- The menus for the programs follow common user interface guidelines.
- Simulation output can be downloaded by each player making results easier to distribute, especially when players on a team are geographically separated.
Several features which we believe to be particularly user friendly are:
- The context sensitive help feature available on command when entering decisions.
- A Quick Start Manual accessible via the Player’s and the Instructor’s Program Help menu.
- A Player’s Program Tutorial accessible via the Player’s Program Help menu.
- The Player’s Manual is available under the Player’s Program Help menu.
- The Player’s Manual and the Instructor’s Manual are available under the Instructor’s Program Help menu.
- Thorough checking of decisions when they are entered with informative messages when errors are made.
- An expanded decision support system for use with Microsoft Excel available under the new Tools menu.
- Financial statements available in comma separated variable format for importing directly into Excel.
- The decision form in the manual and available under the new Tools menu exactly matches the form the screen displays when decisions are entered.
- All player reports to date are available for viewing and or printing.
- All simulation reports to date are available to the simulation administrator for viewing or printing
- Administrators can save the history and reports for each quarter on a separate hard disk or flash drive using a menu command. This provides protection in case of a hard drive crash.
- Simulation can be run in the Internet integrated, flash drive, or LAN mode. Changes can be made between modes during a competition.
Features to Enhance Administration
- Administrator’s Program tutorial accessible via the Administrator’s Program Help menu.
- Construction lead times have been reduced to make the game easy to use when operating on a semester or a quarter system. A new line requires one quarter, a new addition two quarters and a new plant three quarters to construct.
- A world may have from three to eight teams competing. This provides flexibility in fitting the game to varying class sizes.
- The game may be simplified by limiting competition to one country when initializing the simulation.
- Numerous parameters have been added to allow easy modification of customer demand, production output, and marketing variable effectiveness.
- A company may be shut down at any time via parameter settings.
- Both scoring programs provide a set of scores each quarter. If you decide to stop the game at the completion of a quarter other than the last quarter of a year, current scores are available. Variable weights may be easily changed.
- The Internet integrated mode provides a quick set up and easy to use mode that transfers all decision and simulation results files over the Internet.
- Server files are created automatically when a World is initialized in the Internet Integrated mode.
- Buttons have been added to the Administrator’s and the Player’s Programs for frequently used menu items.
The Business Policy Game is a general management simulation that provides students with a challenging decision-making exercise. It has been used successfully with groups of upper-class undergraduates and graduate students in business administration and in executive development programs. The simulation also has been used successfully for many years in the International Collegiate Business Strategy Games Competition.
For the PC version, each team needs access to the player’s program unless the game administrator uses the central decision entry option. The Business Policy Game: Instructor’s Manual and the administrator’s program are to be used only by the instructor.
Copyright (c) 2016 by Richard V. Cotter and David J. Fritzsche, Simon Rodan
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