Learning is a continuous process and for the process to be effective, it should be student-centered (National research council, 2013).In this, the student is supposed to be placed at the center of learning with all the activities focused on enhancing his/her competence and understanding. It is because of this that there have been numerous developments in the learning process and an epitome of a methodology that may be employed is the learning simulation (Herrington, 2006).it is a very effective tools that models the real-life scenario around the student and offers him/her a chance to gauge the knowledge gained in class to the real life. By offering the student a chance to use the wit, knowledge, and problem-solving skills gained in class, it plays a fundamental role in ensuring that the student is able to withstand the pressures and problems that come after school.
The context
Simulation models may be centered on any real-life activity and may be used to test the problem-solving skills, management skills etc. However, this will depend on the module because it basically tries to test the class understanding (Hai-Elg, 2010). As in this simulation, the student is appointed as the head of an international hydroelectric power plant and is to oversee the successful development and construction of the power plant. The appointment comes after the successful drafting of policies and plans of the plant I. The simulation is based on ensuring that the student is well conversant with the management practices and the decisions that are made in companies and in return, provide a very good platform for the real-life scenario. It is important to consider that the company has a clearly set out management team and the various stakeholders are outlined in the paperwork.All this is as a result of OSOSIM.
Breaking down the project, the construction is initiated in the Nam Kading river in the Nakai plateau of central Laos. The company is a multinational company and has initiated as well as developed some successful projects and as such, has successfully won the tender to develop the hydroelectric power plant. The region in which the project is to be developed may present a bottleneck in decision making because of the availability of a village as well as some other environmental considerations. However, all this is based on the draft signed and acknowledged by the stakeholders.
Some of the decisions that the student is to make are based on ensuring that the project is successful without rubbing shoulders with the environmental as well as the humanitarian aspects of project development. Projects are based on profitability but this may not be in line with some of the policies of project development and as such, may be a very effective way of ensuring that the student acquires and analyses the skills gained in class.
Rationale for research
The development of energy sources has always been a challenge to many countries but it is important to observe both the good and the bad sides involved in each case. Most of these energy producing sources have been widely criticized for their emissions which consequently result in global warming and the associated effects. However, hydroelectric energy production has minimal effects on the environment and this is why most countries have opted for hydroelectric power. Furthermore, it is renewable in the sense that it is not depleted and therefore, there are minimal effects on the environment.Hydroelectric power production, solar energy, wind energy and biomass energy are some of the most common renewable energy (Kothari & Nagrath, 2009). In comparison, oil energy is non-renewable and is a major contributor to emissions. Therefore, it is no surprise that such a major project considers hydroelectric power production.
As per the stated advantages, it is important to acquaint the student with the knowledge required to manage a company that considers both the profitability as well as the environment. The simulation is focused on ensuring that the student observes both the management aspects of a company as well as environmental perspective.
Aim and objectives
The simulation is geared towards acquainting the student with the necessary skills to be used in management (Cano & Saenz, 2001)it. Furthermore, this simulation has to ensure that the student is well conversant with the stakeholder’s interests and the necessary skills required to ensure that there is profitability as well as effective management of the company and all the affiliated activities.
The aim of the simulation is to expose the student to the management practices employed in major companies and corporation (Maxwell & Mergendoller, 2004). However, the stakeholders’ interests, as well as the profitability of the company, are the main driving factors for successful management of the company (Freeman & McVea, 2001). The concern of the stakeholders is such a vital factor in management because the company and the aforementioned are literally intertwined (Hillman & Keim, 2001). The success of the company means that the stakeholders are successful and vice-versa. Therefore, there is no wrong in assuming that the stakeholders greatly favor profitability and take other factors into little consideration. Taking most of the stakeholders’ options into considerations will lead to profitability but it may also lead to unforeseen effects on the environment and people. On the other hand, taking little consideration of the desires and options of the stakeholders may lead to a reduction in the input from them.Therefore, it is important to have the necessary skills required for problem-solving, management and decision making (Buysse & Verbeke, 2003).Basically, the process begins with stakeholders management which is followed by problem-solving and then decision making (Cleland, 1986).
Stakeholders’ management refers to the ability to effectively manage the requirements of the stakeholders while at the same time balancing the project as well as the environmental needs (Berman & Wicks, 1999). Considering that there are 13 stakeholders in the Nam Kading project, it is very important to have negotiator skills. Stakeholders may have varied opinions (Ogden & Watson, 1999) on the number of dams, the location of dams, size of dams and therefore it will serve the student a very important milestone in the learning process. Some stakeholders may opt for sizes that affect the village and the fishing ladder while some may be of the opinion that smaller sizes will serve the purpose without necessarily having an effect on the environment.\
The problem solving of the arguments brought forth may depend on the experience and skills by the student or may depend on the ability to engage the varying parties on the best way forward (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). According to the draft, some of the problems include the site location, the fish ladders, community development, the transmission lines and the construction process and the investments that would be required. Some of the outcomes to be expected include flooding the area, the use of local talent and skills in employment, an increase and decrease in the profitability and corporate taxes among others.Therefore,  it is important for the student to take each option against the outcome and ensure that he/she is able to solve the problem.
The final aspect is the decision making.CEOs and company heads are constantly faced with problems and their ability to arrive at the most appropriate decisions ensures that the company remains profitable or the profitability levels go down. As with the Nam Kading hydroelectric project, the student will play the role of the decision maker and as such will acquire some of the skills a required to make the most appropriate decision.
The simulation is a methodology that needs extensive research and implementation for it to be successful (Davidovitch, et al., 2006)l. However, applying the skills acquired in class to the real-life scenario requires discipline as well as appropriate methodologies. In this simulation, I was able to obtain a document on the methodologies appropriate for such a project. The preparation and implementation of the strategies developed were very pivotal in this case.
The preparation stage entails intensive study on the company’s portfolio in order to establish the track record and the characteristics expected of the stakeholders. Having a document that gives the details of the various activities ever undertaken by the company and the characteristics of the stakeholders is a major boost in the decision-making process (Martin, 2000).furthermore, the document gives insight on the alternatives given to the dam construction and the benefits and /or repercussions that come with the alternative.
The stakeholders’ management is an effective tool for any simulation process and as such, was very useful in ensuring that I develop the strategies and necessary methodologies required to effectively manage my team. As stated before, the stakeholders and the company are literally intertwined and the ability to be successful will depend on the stakeholders’ management (Perrini & Tencati, 2006). Stakeholders do not just joy ride in the decision making but are very engaging. Decisions have to be in line with their expectations as well as the expectations of the community.
Limitations of the simulation
Limitations are basically associated with the fact that the student is not able to engage the stakeholders in the decision making as well as oversee the implementation of the decisions that he makes (Pfahl, 2001). As in my case, the first limitation was on the ability to engage the stakeholders and to observe the feedbacks and the opinions. There are three principal methods that are to be used in communication: phone calls, emails, and meetings. The three communication methodologies may be described to be efficient in the real life but in this simulation model are not so effective. However, the time allocated for each communication channel gives an insight into the most preferred communication channel. Meetings are the most convenient channel for communicating decisions with the stakeholders while telephone calls and emails follow closely in second and third positions respectively.
The second limitation was founded on the ability to observe the real-life implementation of the decisions made. There are various alternatives presented by the stakeholders and it would have acquainted me proper skills and knowledge to observe the decisions being implemented. To begin with, the alternatives presented are very intricate and therefore there is a need for a proper platform on the decision-making process and the actual implementation. However, the simulation depends on the skills and the decisions depend on the problem-solving capabilities.
The simulation provided a platform for decision making as well as stakeholders management. However, all this depends on the skills and knowledge that the student has. Basically, simulation provides a platform to enhance the skills as well as the knowledge acquired in class but in this case, the stakeholder’s management was the most vital skill to be enhanced.
Stakeholder’s management is referred to the ability to effectively manage the opinions and options brought forth by the stakeholders (post & Preston, 2002). The Nam Kading hydropower project has a myriad of challenges as well as opportunities for its growth. However, some of the opportunities presented may have a detrimental effect on the environment with some of the undesired effects including flooding and reduction in the fish quantity.Therefore, as the head of the company, I have been able to gain some insight on the methodology employed in stakeholder management and this considers both the profitability as well as the environment.
The skills to solve issues and make appropriate decisions is something that cannot be gained overnight. In this, I have been able to analyze situations and make appropriate decisions and recommendations. Managing stakeholders as well as selecting the most appropriate methodology to solve the problem is an effective tool that may be employed in the real-life scenario.
It is important to observe and analyze some of the skills gained in the simulation of the name Kading hydroelectric project. However, it is very important to understand the simulation has some shortcomings as described above. The analysis is based on stakeholders’ management and decision making.
Stakeholders management is a very effective tool required to ensure that a project is successful. In this, I was able to observe the major decisions involved in ensuring that the stakeholders remain interested in the operation of the company while still catering for the environmental goals stipulated. The decision to consider one option over the other is a requirement but the skill that comes with it is very important.
Planning cannot be overlooked in any successful project. It is important to consider that the success of the project will depend on the ability of the head to plan for any unforeseen scenario such as flooding. All this is acquired and successfully implemented in the simulation.
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