Mayhem: A Hands-on Case Playing Activity for Teaching Porters Five Forces to Undergraduate Business Students

Rachel C Wilson


To provide a theoretical foundation for beginning undergraduate entrepreneurship students, most early entrepreneurship courses include instruction on higher level strategic management concepts. Such instruction leaves some students lost at an early point in the course, due to their lack of prior courses in advanced business theory. Case studies and role playing have been used for decades in management courses to give students practice in strategic decision-making. Accreditation organizations and curriculum improvement efforts have recently added emphasis on experiential learning as a way to promote deep understanding of business principles through practice. This article provides an entertaining case playing alternative to traditional lectures and case teaching of Porter’s Five Forces. In the game of Mayhem, students role play each of the players in the Five Forces framework, while the instructor interjects challenging environmental shifts.

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