Harmonising Culture in Co-operative Business Ventures: Using a Simulation in Virtual World

By Honghong Dai and Jay Bal.

Published by The Organization Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In recent years, there has been and continues to be an increasing number of company mergers and takeovers. When dealing with the human elements of a merger, there is often a lack of understanding of how to integrate the organizational cultures of the existing firms. While attempts have been made in the past to manage organizational culture, such changes have been notoriously difficult to execute. However, innovations in information technology have provided new opportunities for employee training and education which go beyond the traditional seminar and discussion. These new methods include employing low-cost simulations using virtual worlds as a platform for communication and interaction.

Based on what has been learned from previous research with a qualitative approach, specifications will be investigated from a variety of subject areas in order to suggest an outline for the creation of a prototype application. As it is difficult to tackle the culture problem as a whole, the paper firstly analyzes organizational culture by identifying key dimensions. Then, through investigating key characteristics in behaviour modification and drawing upon theories in both education and learning from traditional games, the paper combines the elements into one simulation to tackle the key dimensions. This innovative prototype application seeks to achieve the ultimate goal of providing SMEs (Small and medium enterprises) and large organizations with an outline which is capable of dealing with the culture problem.

At the current stage of game technology, virtual worlds not only provide the ideal learning environments for tackling group problems such as culture, but also offer the potential for the creation of complex extensive games. It can be established that the ideal simulation should tackle the problem of culture within organizations consists of a mixture of processes, random events, role-play and adaptable reward structures, conditioning and ultimately a complex emulation of reality.

Keywords: Organizational Culture Behaviour Modification Serious Game Virtual World

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp.131-144. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.232MB).

Honghong Dai

Research Staff, Warwick Digital Lab, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

I joined the University of Warwick as a PhD student in January 2007 where I am currently pursuing PhD under the supervision of Dr Jay Bal as a member of the Interlean EBusiness centre in the Warwick Manufacturing Group. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Computer Science which I gained in 2004 from the Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China, Diploma of Business in SOAS, London in 2005, and a M.Sc. in Electronic Business Management from the University of Warwick, UK, awarded in 2006. My current research focuses on organizational culture change in Mergers and Acquisitions. The aim of the research is to develop a simulation model to tackle culture conflicts when merger happens. My research interests also include social networking and e-business innovations.

Jay Bal

Assistant Professor, Warwick Digital Lab, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

Dr. Bal, an associate professor, is director of WMG’s Interlean EBusiness centre. He completed his PhD on Knowledge Based Systems as well as spending delivering courses on Electronics, IT and Business all over the World. His current research interest are virtual business ecosystems, virtual organization breeding environments, creating value through the internet, electronic markets and improving the success rate of IT projects. Dr Jay Bal is a Technical advisor to the Commonwealth Secretariat Special Services division on SME Development: lectured on, and supported their SME development workshop in Chennai, India in 2006, Fiji 2004 and Samoa 2005. He is exploiting the internet to maximize business opportunities for thousands of companies in the West Midlands through portal West Midlands Collaborative Commerce Marketplace (WMCCM).


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