Serious game as a tool to develop management practices

Empirical studies
By Manon Keusch-Bessard, Marc-Éric Bobillier-Chaumon, Jacqueline Vacherand-Revel, Bruno Cuvillier

In the pandemic context, the development of professional practices is coming across as an emergency. Also, professional training has an important role and new technologies can be a modern “fun” way to train anywhere at any moment.
SIM2B (SIMulate To Be) is a research project financed by the French Unique Interministerial Funds in which four partners are working together (a psychology and ergonomic research laboratory; an information sciences research laboratory; and two serious games companies) to create an innovative learning virtual environment focused on management practices, which includes artificial intelligence (AI). In order to, a serious game has been made, considered as a video game combined to a pedagogical scenario in order to educate, train and inform. In our case, the goal is to simulate the managerial activity in order to develop professional practices. By simulation in a virtual environment, the player is immersed in a situation which permits to him/her to take distance to his/her choices of action and their consequences. To do so, a process of reflexivity is needed to analyse, understand and then transfer the lessons, strategies, and new practices in a real context of work.
We consider that a serious game needs to be accompanied to develop professional practices, notably when it concerns managerial practices which are particularly invisible. Thereby, we developed a human dispositive of training with the game based of reflexivity in order to develop management practices. This dispositive includes three phases: a first collective interview which create the conditions needed to start the process of reflexivity; the time to play, which is the individual time of simulation of the manager’s activity and was accompanied by an ethnographic book (such as a log book); and finally, a second collective interview which is the key moment to analyse collectively and individually simulated situations and real situations in order to share and develop new practices.
Our results show that the serious game combined to a human dispositive of training based on reflexivity have a double effect. First, the game acts like a mirror in the individual space and push the player towards the deconstruction of his own practices. Secondly, the game is a common base shared in the collective space allowing to confront different practices’ choices and by this way, to reconstruct collectively the individual practices. The reflexivity and its analyse of those two process of deconstruction and reconstruction allowed the participants to co-develop three new types of strategies and practices: human, material, and symbolic.
Finally, this study contributes to different debates in work psychology. First, even if the reflexivity process is known in psychology, this study proposes a methodology in order to use it concretely to develop professional practices. Secondly, our study shows that serious games can be used to analyse, understand and transfer invisible managerial skills. At last, our project highlights that the simulation of the activity can be playful and pedagogical but need to be accompanied by a human to develop professional practices.

  • serious games
  • simulation
  • professional practices
  • management
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