In the Global Game exercise students are placed in groups with asymmetric resources with a task to maximize “points” produced. In order to maximize output, they need to trade resources (e.g., alliances) with other teams. The resources include raw materials (e.g., paper), technology (e.g., scissors and templates), knowledge (of the point system), and even people. They can also merge teams.
The following is a brief overview of the exercise:
- Put class into 5-7 random (and uneven) groups as they enter the class
- Give each group an envelope with instructions and their initial resources (templates, scissors, paper, information about the point system, etc.). Send them to their assigned meeting places (teams 4 & 5 should be remotely placed so you can discuss the impact of geographic dispersion). Let them plan for 5 minutes.
- Let groups trade resources with other teams for 25 minutes. They can trade any of the resources (including people) and can even merge teams if they wish. In the instructions, we simply say that the only rules are to: “a) use only materials from the game to produce output, and 2) no destruction of property or people.”
- Assign people to audit the output of other teams and give them a worksheet to tally the output. Enter the totals in the spreadsheet so you can display which team had the greatest gain through trade.
One might use the “Four C” alliance framework to guide the debrief. First, how did they search for complementarities? Second were goals congruent or did they face hazards in working with other teams. Third, were the teams compatible or were some teams harder to work with than others? Fourth, how did things change over the course of the exercise? If there are mergers, you can explore whether the gains could have been achieved with an alliance (e.g., trading resources). Often they merge and trade with teams that are in close physical proximity or through pre-existing social ties — e.g., a haphazard search for complementarities.
*Credit goes to Andrew Ward who kindly shared this exercise with me.
Contributed by: Russ Coff