On Playfulness: A Case of Hand-Mind Connection and Cognitive Complexity in Teaching (Strategy)

Robert Phillip Wright, Gerard Hodgkinson

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


Strategy-making is serious business. When performed well, it can bring meaningful (temporary) competitive advantage for organizational success. If not fully committed to the task at hand, it can mean disaster and the eventual downfall of the organization. As such, strategy courses must be taught in a serious way, or does it? Grounding our work in the literatures of play and Serious Play, we designed a 13-week quasi-longitudinal experimental design (with control and intervention groups) (using physical reflective/reflexive dice cubes) to see the impact of play and playfulness in helping our students open up the alternatives to complex unsolved problems, issues and challenges. Using clinical psychology interviews (from Personal Construct Theory) at time T1 (beginning of the term) and T2 (at end of the term), our results show that students studying strategy using play, as opposed to the control group with no play element (using traditional teaching methods), increased their capacity to be more cognitive complexity through better differentiation and integration to generate deeper insights. Implications to both theory, practice and management education are discussed in better preparing the next generation of future-leaders for a complicated world.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusNot published / presented only - Aug 2022
EventThe 82nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Washington, United States
Duration: 5 Aug 20229 Aug 2022


ConferenceThe 82nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

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