Category: Simulations
Code: 236G

Includes facilitator guide, workshop instructions, sample participant materials, and PowerPoint presentation

Learning Outcomes

• Learn how to manage and resolve group conflict

• Hone group problem-solving skills

• Improve communication

• Discover the advantages of consensus decision-making


A true-to-life adventure tested out in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) by a group of experts, the Swamped simulation demonstrates the concept of team synergy — the belief that decisions made by groups are better than decisions made by individuals acting alone (Michaelson, Watson, & Black, 1989). Groups bring a greater sum total of knowledge and information to the discussion of a problem, as well as a greater number of approaches and perspectives. Swamped can also demonstrate “process loss.” This phenomenon occurs when a knowledgeable group member outperforms the group, indicating that the member’s knowledge was lost sometime during the group discussion. In order for group decision making to work, unique information must be shared and absorbed by the group (Stasser, 1992).

How It Works

This realistic roundtable simulation challenges groups to rank 10 salvaged items — first as individuals, and then as a team. First, as the facilitator, you’ll introduce the adventure scenario. Participants will then rank the 10 items on their own, using pressure-sensitive scoring forms. Next, each team conducts the same ranking process as a unit. Finally, you’ll lead the participants into a group action planning discussion, providing the team with the opportunity to apply the learning to the workplace.

Uses for Swamped

• Illustrate the concept of team synergy

• “Break the ice” among new or conflicted teams

• Give teams a non-threatening opportunity to work together

• Help teams practice consensus decision making

• Improve active listening, probing, and confronting behaviours in a realistic setting

• Train team leaders in team facilitation skills

• Open or close a learning session

• Introduce an organisational change, such as the transition to self-managing teams

• Interject a fun activity into an otherwise serious agenda

• Assess group member competence

• Supplement outdoor experiential learning

What to Order

Order one Facilitator Guide per trainer and one Participant Guide per team member.

Note: Swamped works best when participants are divided into teams of seven or fewer per table.

Facilitator Guide includes:

• Administrative guidelines

• 2-hour workshop design NEW!

• Expert rationale

• Experiential learning/training methodology

• Training design options NEW!

• CD-ROM containing Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation, reproducible masters, and colour slides of scenario location NEW!

• Updated page layout NEW!

• Sample copy of Participant Guide NEW!

• 2-hour workshop design with detailed preparation checklist and step-by-step facilitator instructions

• Convenient binder format NEW!

Attribute name Attribute value
FORMAT Simulation
OBJECTIVE Build the skills for teams to achieve synergy
AUDIENCE All teams
AUTHOR HRDQ Research & Development Team

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