The first part of the paper carries the introduction. Reflective techniques are discussed followed by the problem statement. This section contains the rules and a description of the simulation game. The approach and analysis section follow. Self reflection is defined, and the associated theories are discussed. The next section is on critical incidents. Three incidents are discussed, and they are related to reflection theories. Mini concussions follow each of these incidents. After this, the overall conclusion is last.
Approach and analysis techniques.4
Critical incidents analysis6
Reflection techniques are critical in assimilating a learning experience. They enable learners to digest the materials they have learnt and gain understanding. We employed these techniques after a learning session and used them in groups and in individual capacities. They involve simulation, group reviews and practical learning sessions (Boude, Keough and Walker 457). Reflection techniques had several values to our team. The first value is that they helped engage the brain intensively to allow for a comprehensive understanding. We employed them in groups and they were fast and effective in learning as compared to mere discussion (Dewey). The other value is that they allowed us to bring talk and action together hence improving understanding and memory. Another value is that they helped make the outcomes of learning transferable and the entire experience exciting for us.
With regard to the problem statement, the MEGA learning experience involved an assignment of a specific task. Our task involved taking strategic decisions on Glo-bus between October and December 2013. The description of this exercise is that it was a simulation game meant to inculcate elements of strategic decision making. We did it in groups, and the decisions were made on a weekly basis. The game involved ten car manufacturers with 4 car ranges. These car ranges included, the low cost, image, family and eco-friendly cars. The car universe had different colors including of red, blue, green, white and yellow. This competition aimed at creating a winning team over the period of the game (Davis 13).
This car challenge had several rules. One of these rules was that there was no quitting when reaching for the regional potential. The other rule was that mergers could be used when the team players wanted to reach another market. These rules also shaped the winning criteria which comprised of sales, accumulated retained earnings, EBIT, ROCE, share price and employee morale. The task had some major obstacles. One obstacle for our team was that we wished to improve HR Quality with the constraint being that the efforts would materialize over a full period. In addition, I felt that there was an obstacle with regard to finances. The maximum figure was $ 2,000 with cash being available in the period that was following. On an overall basis, our obstacles were related to maximizing the output of the game with the constraint being fund availability and other offsets (Johns 24). Some offsets included high product appeal came with high manufacturing costs and field failure rate. The engineering budget and CAPEX were other major obstacles.Approach and analysis techniques
Self reflection involves a careful and critical consideration of any form of knowledge against the grounds, theories and concepts that relate to that form of knowledge (Clamp 1755). It encompasses all the intellectual activities individuals undertake in a view to explore their experiences. Its importance to a student is based on several reasons. The first basis is that it allows for deep learning. Therefore, we managed to transit from theoretical to practical learning (Greenwood 1045). The MEGA learning experience provided this opportunity for our group since it allowed us to correct mistakes and impact on the results of the game. Therefore, learning became deep and intensive for me since I tested class concepts in a practical platform (Reid 306).
The second basis is that it enables students to extend their knowledge links. With reflection, students have widespread connections with their knowledge. They establish other foundations where their knowledge is applied in a practical manner (Flanagan 329). It enabled me to interlink my class concepts with the car challenge. As a result, I have managed to apply financial concepts such as EBIT and marketing concepts such as customer appeal. The other benefit is that it breaks automatic behaviors. It allows students to break their class monotony, and it informs their decisions. They avoid situations of making strategic decisions without prior thought (Greenaway). This exercise also informed our future practice as it established a strong background for our careers. The practical aspects were assimilated into our learning, and hence we gained an insight into our future careers. For me, the car challenge was a crucial platform for assisting me in understanding the practical aspects of my course. I felt that it assisted me in understanding the importance of making well thought out decisions in management. This was highlighted by learning from my mistakes in the exercise.
There are several reflection theories that will be used, in this case. The first is the theory is the Schon’s model. In this model, elements of reflection in action and also reflection on action will be applied (Schon). The reason for use of this model is that reflection in action will allow me to integrate the car challenge experience and thoughts on future action. Reflection on action will present an opportunity to think about past events. In addition, it will allow me to think about possible corrections in the future.
The second reflective theory is the Gibbs 6 stages Reflective Style. It calls for clarity in the description of the situation, feelings analysis and evaluation of experience. In addition, there is a reflection to determine the course of action to a similar action in the future (Mezirow 6). The first of the six steps in this theory is a description of the events. The second step is an explanation of feelings. It incorporates feelings and thoughts. Thirdly, there is the evaluation of the experience. In fourth is an analysis of the situation. Conclusion is the fifth step while the action plan comes last. This theory will be critical for this car challenge since it will build on the experience to have an action plan. Therefore, its use will go beyond the current exercise, and hence the value derived will be high.
The third theory that will be applied is the framework for reflective practice. It was developed by Rolfe et al (2001). This theory will provide a sequential and cyclical order for this reflection. It will involve a reflection on the situation so as to describe it. Secondly there is involvement of the application of knowledge in order to understand the situation comprehensively (Girot). The third step will involve a reflection on action and determination of options of improving the situation. The justification for application of this theory is that it has a chance for me to make some progressive contribution to practice.
Despite the application of these theories, there are some that will not be applied. The first is the model for structured reflection by John. This theory is applicable for critical decisions and complex analysis of situations (Louden). In this case, the learner should work with the supervisor closely. This theory will not be applied since it doesn't match with the basic nature of the car challenge. The other theory that will not be applied is the Carper’s four patterns. These patterns include aesthetics, personal, empirics and ethics. This theory is limited since it responds to a situation which has been resolved (Kemmis). I will not be applying it in this reflective exercise since it does not provide a basis for future action as there is no action plan.
Critical incidents analysis
In the car challenge, there were many incidents that occurred. However, only a few incidents were critical and proved fit for evaluation against the specified theoretical frameworks. The first incident happened in week 5 of our exercise. The area that we concentrated on was an attempt to reduce costs for the low cost car. We had difficulties with high costs since we had increased them just a week earlier. As a result, we witnessed a reduction in sales for the low cost car. I felt that the incident was based on an intense debate on whether it was right to reduce the costs for this car or retain these costs at the same level. I was dissatisfied with the heated argument over the direction that the costs of the low cost car should have taken. Despite an agreement that costs should be reduced, this incident marked a change in the car challenge since it was our first time to make such a decision. I felt challenged and excited given the direction that the simulation was taking.
The Schon’s model will be applied for this incident. By basing my experience on reflection in action, I have learnt to apply those experiences with my future experiences. This incident has made me be aware of possible changes and increase in intensity of projects. Therefore, despite any relative ease of future projects, I will be aware that it is possible to require commitment and hard work along the way. By basing on reflections on the action, it has been possible for me to remember those experiences clearly and inculcate them with my daily experiences. In addition, the challenging experience has shaped my approach to future managerial issues. The mini conclusion is that the Shon’s model is very applicable in self reflection. It has been instrumental in relating those experiences with daily activities.
The other incident occurred in week 7. The major incident involved a decision to concentrate on region 1 and 2. Attention was focused on region 1 where we increased prices for the image and also the eco friendly car. In addition, our group decided on reducing the costs of sales for the low cost car and its marketing expenses. Exporting to region 2 was another incident in the week. The Gibbs six stages theory will be applied for this case. The first step is events description, which has been covered in the above description. With regard to explanation of feelings, I felt optimistic that we would improve performance. As far as evaluation of experience is concerned, this event improved my ability to make strategic decisions. I managed to identify the factors to consider when planning an expansion.
Situational analysis reveals that it was the right strategy since we would achieve our cost minimization goals. The fifth stage is the conclusion, and our group concluded that expansion into region 2 was the right option to take. Action plan dictates a future oriented plan, and I have gained that it is crucial to eye for other markets by conducting research to identify their potential. The mini conclusion is that the Gibbs model is an effective self reflection tool since it has six steps. These steps allow for comprehensive understating and application of the practical concepts.
The other incident occurred in week 9. We invested in region 2 as soon as the opportunity arose. In addition, we focused on acquiring funds to invest further in region 2 and also region 1 cars that were behind such as the eco-friendly car. The reflective model will be used, in this case. Reflecting on this experience, I felt it as an enhancement of understating of additional concepts such as the need for funds. To understand this situation well, we had to assimilate the finance cost concepts against our capital needs. Reflecting on the situation, I feel that I have gained financial management knowledge, and I will apply it in my future activities both at home and work. The mini conclusion is that the reflective model is applicable for future use of the information gained. Therefore, it is vital for action based reflection.
On an overall basis, the conclusion is that car challenge was crucial in enhancing understanding and application of concepts acquired in class. It was fun and improved my team work ability. The transferable skills from this exercise include time keeping, cooperation and critical thinking. In the future, I will utilize the skills in shaping my career in order to be successful. By passing these skills to work colleagues, I will steer my organization towards success.
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