Can good leadership be learned through business games?

Thomas Duus Henriksen, Kenneth Børgesen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the use of business games to question whether they can be used to learn good leadership. The answer comes in three parts: yes, no and maybe. By studying the use of a game to teach change management in the light of adult learning theory, the article discusses how different kinds of learning processes emerge and contribute. On the basis of qualitative interviews and observation, a case study is used to explore how the particular, didactic orchestration of a game-based learning process, together with emergent, informal learning processes, contributes to leadership learning. As participants are immersed in formal, non-formal and informal learning processes, these processes contribute to improving leadership in practice in a variety of different ways. The article concludes that (1) yes, game-based learning does contribute to teaching operational leadership in a formal manner; (2) no, in and of itself, the formal learning of games has a limited impact on leadership learning, but in combination with other didactic activities, its contribution is profound and (3) maybe, since by tapping into the extensive knowledge of other participants, games inspire informal discussions on leadership topics that are not directly relevant to the game, but are in other ways beneficial.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)388-405
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2016


  • business games
  • leadership learning
  • formal
  • non-formal
  • informal


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