In law school, we have moot court where lawyers test themselves in a simulated courtroom environment. In business school, we have business case studies that afford entrepreneurs the opportunity to evaluate real world scenarios and then discuss the issues and ramifications of alternative courses of action. A “mock board” is another problem-based learning technique which allows the participants to focus on specific governance issues and to evaluate the collaborative decision-making process that exists in the boardroom.
A mock board setting is characterized by the following:
- Instructor divides the class into groups representing diverse companies/disciplines.
- Provides a generic script to structure the approach to a “case study” problem.
- Facilitates the learning process by providing supportive research materials and/or analysis germane to the problem studied.
- Challenges the group presentation along with other class participants.
- Participants take responsibility for their own group
- Define a few “key” roles required for collaboration: lead and scribe.
- Select from a menu of challenging, open-ended, loosely-defined and -structured “case study” problems.
- Organize and direct their specific approach to the learning process.
- Present and defend their positions in the classroom setting.
The mock board decision-making context puts the participants in a simulated work and professional setting where they must define and defend policy, process and ethical challenges they face as they attempt to understand and resolve some key issue.
They work through learning strategies to discover the nature of the governance problem, the constraints and options for the problem’s resolution, input variables and the viewpoints involved.
Through group collaboration, participants negotiate their way around the human, social and business complexities surrounding the problem.
All members of the group are responsible for a collective search for resolution and a presentation of their informed decision.
The ultimate goal is to provide some personal experience, some engagement with boardroom problems and the decision-making process that underlies quality governance decision-making.