Is Avoiding the Appearance of Incompetence the Key to Success? An Examination of Team Goal Orientation and Performance in a Simulation Environment


A key challenge for educators in business is to incorporate learning tools that mimic the uncertainty and complexity of the real business environment. However, recent advancements in technology have offered new tools that address this challenge. One such increasingly popular tool has been computer simulations. While the use of simulations has grown in business education, the research on simulations is quite nascent. This is especially true when it comes to understanding which factors lead students to perform better or worse in a business simulation environment. By integrating goal the orientation and generative learning literature, this study seeks to address this shortcoming in the existing literature. More specifically, we explore how student teams’ goal orientation affects their team’s performance in a simulation context. Results suggest Learn and Avoid Goal orientations are positively related to an objective performance metric (i.e., sales growth), while the Avoid Goal orientation is positively related to a subjective performance metric of team effectiveness. On the other hand, the Prove Goal orientation was negatively related to both metrics. The paper concludes with a discussion of the contributions and implications for both team development and pedagogical approaches to team support.



Document Type





avoid goal orientation, business simulation, generative learning theory, learn goal orientation, prove goal orientation, simulation performance, team effectiveness, team goal orientation

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Educational Computing Research