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The Embedding of Marketing and Business Simulations by UK Business Schools: Benefits, Barriers and Implications for Subject Development, Pedagogy and Learners (Advert Reference: SF19/BL/MOS/BROWN)

Faculty of Business and Law

About the Project

This PhD project investigates barriers to adoption of business simulations (aka business games) within UK universities, contributing to subject discipline knowledge in Marketing, Business and Management, and to Learning and Teaching and the student experience. Therefore, the successful applicant will have an interest in both areas.

Given the numerous benefits of business simulation usage acknowledged in literature, this research will ascertain:
(i) why more business schools do not use business simulations; and
(ii) how these barriers can be removed.

The use of business simulations as a learning and assessment strategy confers benefits upon students, business and universities.

Through contextualised learning, students apply theory, enhancing their employability skills and increasing career potential (Cronan & Douglas, 2012).

Industry benefits from the open-minded, consensual management encouraged within collaborative student teams (McCorkle, Alexander, Kling, Harris & Iyer, 1999), and skills include conflict resolution, problem solving and forecasting (Hansen, 2006).

By interpreting dynamic numerical data within competitive commercial landscapes (Vos & Brennan, 2010) and being accountable for their decisions (Saber & Foster, 2011), students experience interconnected decision-making criteria (Mitchell, 2004) and organisational interfunctionality (Fripp, 1993).

Universities may benefit through the facilitation of targeted, timely formative feedback, increased student engagement and motivation (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000; Mitchell, 2004), enhanced satisfaction rates and reduced resource considerations (Bobet, 2010). Business simulations can democratise learning and internationalise the curriculum, accommodating diverse learning styles and transcending cultural boundaries.

Possible factors inhibiting adoption include institutional red tape, budgetary restrictions, opacity of comparable product information, risk aversion, lack of experience, workload considerations and lack of technological literacy or confidence. This research will analyse such factors, broadening the theoretical debate and addressing a pedagogical area for development within Higher Education.

This project is supervised by Dr David M Brown and Prof Andrew Robson.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF19/…) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend.


Brown, D.M., Robson, A. & Charity, I. (2019). Hitting the ground running: group simulations within international business school cohorts. In A.Diver et al (Eds.) Employability via Higher Education: Sustainability as Scholarship. London: Springer. ISBN: 978-3-030-26341-6

Forster, G. & Robson, A. (2019). Developing the ‘oven-ready’ postgraduate: squeezing a quart into a pint pot to meet the employability agenda. In A.Diver et al (Eds.) Employability via Higher Education: Sustainability as Scholarship. London: Springer. ISBN: 978-3-030-26341-6

Brown, D.M., Robson, A. & Charity, I. (2019). International masters business student perspectives of team business simulations. The International Journal of Management Education, (in press).

Sharma, S., Charity, I., Robson, A. & Lillystone, S. (2018). How do students conceptualise a ‘real world’ learning environment: an empirical study of a financial trading room. The International Journal of Management Education, 16 (3), 541-557.

Nguyen, T., Charity, I. & Robson, A. (2016). Students’ perceptions of computer-based learning environments, their attitudes towards business statistics, and their academic achievement: implications from a UK university. Studies in Higher Education, 41(4), 734-755

Brown, D.M., Charity, I. & Robson, A. (2017). Business simulation effectiveness on postgraduate group learning: identifying cross-cultural student perspectives. HEA Annual Conference: Generation TEF – Teaching in the Spotlight, Manchester University, July 2017.

Brown, D.M., Charity, I. & Robson, A. (2017). Internationalising summative assessment through simulations: Chinese and South East Asian student perspectives. Sixth International Assessment in Higher Education Conference, Manchester, 28th-29th June 2017.

Brown, D.M., Charity, I. & Robson, A. (2016). Multicultural HE Student Perspectives of Factors in International Marketing Simulation Efficacy. Academy of Marketing Conference: “Radical Marketing”, Northumbria University, July 2016

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