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Decision-making Activities

  1. Feb 14, 2007 #1
    Hi all,

    Hope you don't mind me posting here, but I could use a few suggestions for a class assignment. I am supposed to lead an activity in management class on Monday that emphasizes the process and importance of decision making. The activity should be fun and involving but at the same time provide situations where choices are available and decisions (not necessarily plausible) must be made. Personally, I have never taken part in such an activity, but some of you may have performed similar teambuilding activities with coworkers, etc. If anyone has any suggestions, that would be great!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2007 #2


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    Your first real-life management lesson...employees HATE being made to play those sorts of games. :biggrin:

    I think you've picked the one category of games I haven't been forced to play, so I don't have any good suggestions there.
  4. Feb 15, 2007 #3


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    I agree with Moonbear. :biggrin:

    For me the best manager is one that keeps out of my way, and lets me do what needs to be done.

    When I manage, all I want to do is state the goals and schedule, and provide the resources. I have my work to do, and do does everyone else.

    I don't care for games and team building exercises. In my company, we're all grownup, and we know what to do. Fortunately, the people I work with are good friends and we have shared objectives - fun, interesting work, fun, good compensation, fun, success, fun . . . . and we don't let the other objectives get in the way of fun. :biggrin:
  5. Feb 15, 2007 #4


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    How big of a group?

    If you have enough people (at least 10 I would think although it might work with half a dozen or so), a fun one forces people to adjust their decisions and reactions to the other members in the group very rapidly. If you have enough to form two large groups, having the two groups compete against each other adds some pressure.

    Put some water in a large hula hoop (or two hula hoops if you have enough people). You don't want the hoop filled - the key is that the hula hoop's center of mass changes quickly and drastically. Only the moderator(s) have actually held the hula hoop before the start of the game, so none of the team members really understand the hula hoop.

    The constraints are for the group to let the hula hoop rest on all of the group members hands. The members can't grab the hoop - it has to just rest on their hands. They also have to always be touching the hoop. A moderator holds the hoop steady until everyone is set in position, then lets go and the task begins.

    The goal is for the group to set the hula hoop down on the ground.

    With two groups, this is such a seemingly simple task that there's a lot of pressure to do this very quickly, since being quick has to be the only challenge.

    It turns out that setting a hula hoop on the ground by committee is a lot harder than it sounds (mainly because of that constantly changing center of mass). First attempt, everyone usually winds up standing on their tip toes with the hoop at the top of everyone's outstretched hands. It takes some quick problem solving and a lot of team coordination relying on quick individual decisions to figure out how your team can set the hula hoop on the ground before the other team.

    Obviously, after the fun part, the groups have to discuss the challenges they had in solving the problem, how leadership and responsibility transitioned from person to person during the game (which it tends to do - the group dynamics wind up being pretty interesting), how that relates to group thinking, coordinating team efforts, etc.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2007
  6. Feb 15, 2007 #5
    That sounds like a really fun activity, Bob. Thanks! I already knew I wanted a game that emphasized the on-the-fly and quick decision-making skills needed by every good manager, which makes this activity all the more appropriate.

    However, I need a little clarification on the actual activity itself. (BTW, there will be three groups of five taking part in the game.)

    "First attempt, everyone usually winds up standing on their tip toes with the hoop at the top of everyone's outstretched hands."

    Is this the position the groups are in at the start of the activity? Is the hoop usually laying on an individual's fingers while their palm is facing up?

    And the groups then slowly lower the hoop to the floor without the sloshing water tipping the hoop off their hands and onto the ground?
  7. Feb 15, 2007 #6
    If only, hands on is fine, but when you know what to do it just slows up the process :smile:

    Good ones are the old classic: a chicken a fox and a bag of grain need to get across a river, how do you get them across safely, bearing in mind you can only take one at a time in your boat?

    this one isn't bad either.

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2007
  8. Feb 15, 2007 #7


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    The groups start out with the hoop about chest high. Their arms are hanging down from their shoulders, but bent upward to hold the hoop, which is laying on the individuals fingers with the palms up.

    With five they might make it, which isn't as much fun. With a large group, the hoop is almost certain to wind up gaining height due to the difficulty of coordinating everyone's actions. One person falls behind the others in lowering the hoop and it's like a see saw. The water runs to the low side, so the people that were carefully applying just enough pressure to hold a water filled hoop steady are now applying that same pressure against an empty hoop. The hoop rises and 'quick thinking' people on the low side have to raise their side to level the hoop and bring things under control and away they go. It's a hopeless situation trying to get everyone coordinated when they haven't even had time to figure out how the hoop works.
  9. Feb 15, 2007 #8
    Ahh, that makes sense. I said there will be five members in each group since that was how we divided up for our last activity, but I can simply create two groups instead of three, which would put eight people in each group.

    Thanks again for your help and I will run this by my groupmates tomorrow to see what they think.

    Schrodinger's Dog,

    Thank you for your suggestion also! That hypothetical situation is very relevent to decision making and would be humerous to discuss with classmates due to the complete grab bag of items listed. I will ask my prof tomorrow if the assigned activity can be done outside, as with Bob's suggestion, or must be done inside. If he limits it to inside the classroom, yours will be perfect. Thanks again!
  10. May 9, 2009 #9
    It is 1:00 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon at the end of May. You and your teammates have just finished a two-day training in Casablanca, Morocco. You are all on board a chartered, twin-engine plane that is destined for Dakhla, Morocco, a small town on the coast of the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately 1000 miles from Casablanca. At the beginning of the flight the Captain came on the overhead speaker and invited you to sit back and relax during the two-hour flight. The first fifty minutes of the flight were fine. Around this time the pilot comes back on the speaker to let you know that you are currently flying over the Sahara Desert and that weather reports showed a temperature high of 115 degrees. Approximately one hour and ten minutes into the flight, you hear a loud blast and the plane nosedives. Within minutes you realize that the cabin is losing pressure. When you look outside the windows, you notice that is dessert below is growing larger as the plane rapidly descends toward the ground. You notice that the only things you can see out of your window are some large boulders and miles and miles of sand. The pilot comes on once again to let you know that the plane has blown an engine and is therefore, indisputably, going to crash and so all on board should prepare for a turbulent, possibly fatal, crash landing. Within minutes the planes crashes and smoke and flames fill the cabin. All surviving passengers and crewmembers scramble to exit the plane before it explodes. Seven minutes after the crash, the plane explodes in a fiery ball that reduces it to rubble. With the exception of the airplane’s captain and one crewmember, you, your teammates, one flight crewmember, and the co-captain have all survived the crash. Now you must decide how to work together to survive the desert climate and terrain, get help, and hopefully make it out of the desert alive. On your way of the plane, in the few minutes before it exploded, you and your teammates were able to salvage the items in the list below. It is May and you and your teammates are dressed in business casual for the hot summer months of Africa. With only the clothes on your back and the items pulled from the wreckage, how will you survive?

    Rank the items below in order of importance and develop a game plan to help you get out alive.

    1 Book of matches

    3 Airplane blankets

    20 Feet of nylon rope

    1 Sewing kit

    2 50 kg Tanks of oxygen

    20 Cans of soda

    1 Life raft

    1 Bottle opener

    1 Magnetic compass

    1 Single-blade pocketknife

    15 Gallons of water

    3 Signal flares

    1 First aid kit

    1 Snakebite kit

    25 Mini bags of pretzels

    55 Mini bags of peanuts

    1 Safety razor blade

    4 Airplane pillows

    hi could u able to send me answer for above case study

  11. Jun 1, 2009 #10
    [just was going through the activites for desicion making and really would appreciate if you could give me the key for the exercise that you have posted. The one in the shara desert and where the 15 items have to be ranked in order to survive.
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