Opportunities for Gamified Learning in Purchasing and Supply Management Education


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Gamification has been used in a wide variety of subject-specific education contexts. Examples of such usage in the Supply Chain Management (SCM) context include the oft-played beer distribution game, developed by MIT Sloan School of Management (Forrester, 1961), which simulates the coordination of typical problems in supply chain processes, promoting information sharing and collaboration throughout a supply chain (Sterman, 1984). Purchasing and Supply Management (PSM), a subset of this wider SCM area, focuses on the direct relationships between organisational buyers and suppliers, covering aspects such as establishing trust, identifying and selecting suitable suppliers, managing supplier performance and the overall relationship. A systematic review of the PSM gamified learning literature establishes that there has been limited research to date and that which there is tends to focus on quantitative representations of managing overall supply and demand, using wider SCM elements. This suggests that there are opportunities to gamify PSM learning, in particular focusing on the human element in PSM and developing soft skills, as strong buyer-supplier relationships can generate significant benefits to both parties. To provide a more focused PSM contribution, a second systematic literature review distils the relevant principles, techniques and processes to inform the development of two gamified PSM learning activities. Negotiation and supplier relationship management rely heavily on personal interactions and are both seen as key activities at different stages of the PSM process. The development of the two gamified learning activities is strengthened by being underpinned by a synthesis of the literature review’s key findings, ensuring they are domain-meaningful abstractions of reality, contain rewards and rankings based on clear objectives and have appealing gameplay. It is hoped that this paper provides a platform for future domain specific PSM research and will be of use to educators in this field in developing their own gamified learning.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 May 2020
EventEuropean Conference on Games Based Learning - Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Sept 202025 Sept 2020
Conference number: 14


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Games Based Learning
Abbreviated titleECGBL
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Purchasing and Supply Management
  • game elements
  • education
  • decision tree


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