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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Designing Simulators for Strategic Manager

The activity of strategic management is important because it is the activity through which the structure of an organisation is developed and adapted in relation to its environment. The activities within an organisation are systematised within structures because they enable the organisation to ensure the effectiveness of those activities, and there already exist teaching methods appropriate for training managers in the operation of such structures. Few teaching methods exist however for teaching managers about structure itself. This paper initially discusses what structure is, and then goes on to describe an approach to the support of managers learning about structure: how structure can be related to the activities of managers, and how managers can explore the implications of adopting alternative structures within their organisation. The paper puts forward symbols for describing structure. It is then shown how the symbols can be combined by a manager to describe a particular organisational context in the form of a simulator, and how the resulting design can be transformed into the form of a computer program. This enables the resulting simulator to be used by the manager to explore the implications of adopting particular structural choices as he has defined them within the organisation. Finally, the nature of the teacher's role is considered when supporting the learning of managers using this approach.'