case studies

Case studies

We cannot present individual stories, because they are sealed by a confidentiality clause. We can still showcase a few examples of our game design and research employed for good psychological practice. Enjoy!

1. “The stock of solutions” (a serious game): cooperation versus collaboration in a transport company

A transport company was experiencing turbulent time. There were more and more competitors entering the market, so the leader’s position was not so easy to keep as it had been a few years back. The company suffered from bad communication due to competition between divisions. Regional managers seemed not to understand that failure in one of divisions reflected on the image of the whole organisation and affected everybody’s results.

The board of directors decided to address the problem. They sent regional directors for a weekend retreat where they played a game. The aim of the game was to make regional directors realise they belonged to one organisation, so only success of all the teams would guarantee their individual success.

The game is called “The stock of solutions.” It is based on actions of brokers at stock exchange. Each team must collect certain amount of shares to trade them for a position at the board of the holding company Globalise, while they belong to subsidiaries. The way they can win reinforces their sense of cooperation. The game is led by a trained facilitator. It enables preparation of a report highlighting the main issues of players with recommendations for future development.

The game was received with curiosity and played with enthusiasm. Participants were engaged and focused. They started by playing highly competitive approach and with time cooperated more and more. The follow-up report from the transport company confirmed that there was a significant change in people’s behaviour after coming back from the retreat.

2. “The union”: setting up a system of corporate values

A software house established five years back was undergoing major changes. From a small company of three college friends it grew to a team of 10, 25, 50 and finally, five years later, 200 employees. 200 is a size higher than the Dunbar’s number. With the team that big there came new problems. People had different working styles, habits and work ethic. For some of them it became increasingly frustrating. Conflicts started to be a common element of the everyday landscape.

Management of the company decided to seek help and contacted INTHEA for conflict management as conflicts seem the biggest problem.

After applying Moore’s wheel to the situation it appeared that the main reasons of conflicts arising was the clash of values. Some people preferred the relaxed atmosphere, but there were also many employees with more conservative preferences who felt that the company lacks leadership, if they could not see enough of rules and structure. INSTHEA suggested a game that could be played during a one day retreat. People could form countries with their own rules. Later they were forming a union. The process was facilitated by an expert psychologist. The main purpose of a game was to let people learn how to negotiate and agree despite differences.

After the retreat the CEO gathered a general assembly where people discussed the company’s values, and agreed on the policy of diversity. According to this policy, work environment was supposed to accommodate different needs of all employees. The policy outlined rules and procedures to make it possible.

3. Organisational design training in dance school management

An owner of a dance company felt like the world was on her shoulders. There was an infinite line of tasks to complete. There was shortage of stuff, while her schools were becoming more and more popular. She had not enough of time for her own practice and performance. She started the company as a freelance dancer. While the school was growing, she tried to do everything on her own and didn’t think much about her delegation skills.

The burden was to heavy to curry on. She asked INSTHEA for help to figure out how she could improve her management style, and how to organise her work.

The client solved a battery of tests and had a long diagnostic interview. The basic management techniques (SMARTER and the Eisenhower’s matrix) were recommended as the first steps. Later she had an inventory exercise: she made an inventory of all her assets and tried to allocate them so to make the most of it.

The client made her goals more specific and planned which resulted in completing them in more organise manner, but the most important discovery for her was that her major assets were prodigy students who could be easily trained to become instructors. She made grooming her new instructors a priority. At present she leads a network of dance schools and a group of performing artists.

4. Conflict resolution training for the City of Warsaw

The authorities in the City of Warsaw were worried by increasingly violent conflicts in schools all over the city. There were conflicts between students, students and teachers, teachers and parents. Everybody seemed to fight with everybody. INSTHEA was asked to provide training in conflict resolution.

Extensive training with individual consultations was provided. It improved the situation in only one of four schools where the intervention took place. Additional research showed that the key factor to address was the attitude of the schools’ directors.

We have learnt a lot about conflict prevention in this case, but the government changed and the lack of funds stopped us from developing stage two of the project. 🙁

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