Reality check: Using The Monopoly® Board Game As An In-Class Multicultural Simulation in International Business Courses
The Monopoly® board game has long been recognized as a valuable pedagogical tool from elementary school to university in economics and finance courses ((Shanklin & Ehlen, 2007) Chapman & Hall, 1998). Here I describe a novel approach used successfully in our international management classes, which involves the simultaneous use of multiple monopoly boards in multilingual versions. A six hours intensive session allows students to simulate an international business environment, where they are faced with communication, negotiation, reporting, and team management challenges. This exercise forces students to comprehend the difficulties while working internationally and increases their ability to find creative solutions to solve conflict.
Businesses are expanding globally and actively within a growing international complexity and it is often difficult to allocate the necessary resources and to train people to face global challenges. In addition, the strong exposure to the cross-cultural phenomenon may disturb the effectiveness of international teams. To provide answers to these issues, many training exercises are conceived and used in the higher education institutions and by corporate training professionals. The theoretical learning related to intercultural management, cultural differences, and international negotiations is not sufficient to cope with the challenges found in international assignments. Computer and in-class simulations (Anderson 2009, Berends & Romme, 1999) are used and have demonstrated their effectiveness in practical issues like international trade, finance and international marketing among others. In 2007 Stephen B. Shanklin and Craig R. Ehlen, discussed in their paper the utilisation of the Monopoly® board game as an economic simulation exercise to reinforce an understanding of how the accounting cycle impacts financial statements used to evaluate management performance. Although these simulations facilitate the understanding of the technical dimension of international business, they often lack their primary ingredient: the emergence of intercultural conflict. Further applications could be developed based in this kind of initiative. Increasing complexity to the exercise by using multiple boards at the same time is one of them. The idea will be to reproduce business and economic realities (Shanklin & Ehlen, 2007) in an international scale using multilingual and multicurrency monopolies.