Theory vs. Practice in Studies

According to Knowledge Management (KM), there are two primary types of knowledge: Explicit and Tacit. The first of these is formal, structured knowledge, which can be easily communicated through texts. Its record is usually easy and accomplished through books, articles, magazines, and documents in general.

theory vs. practice

On the other hand, Tacit knowledge is acquired over time through lived experiences, being personal and context-dependent. More difficult to be formalized, it is subjective and belongs to each individual, so the way it is transmitted is through coexistence and interactions. Tacit knowledge can be subdivided into technical (know-how skills) and cognitive (beliefs, perceptions, and mental models).

These two types of knowledge can be defined as theory and practice, complementary situations for a complete study, and learning. However, in some countries, like Brazil, teaching is very focused on theory, and the practice is often left aside, even though its importance is immeasurable. Other educational systems, such as the one applied in the United States, for example, are already more focused on this balance between Theory and Practice. In management studies, this is done through case studies and activities such as business games.

Management simulation (or business games) can be defined as a method of business training, where participants assume the role of managers competing against each other through simulated companies. This methodology presents several benefits for the participants, among which we can highlight:

  • Dynamic learning, with the participants being active agents of the process, in an environment that mixes competition and cooperation.
  • Ease of assimilation of errors so that they are not repeated in an actual situation.
  • Identification and development of behavioral aspects, such as leadership styles and teamwork skills.
  • Perception of influential factors in the management of companies, such as competitive forces and economic, legal, social, and political norms.
  • Representation of several years of a company’s management, enabling long-term vision and the importance of strategic planning.
  • A systemic vision of companies, through isolated analyses of functional areas, as well as their inter-relationships.

The use of practical tools and methodologies, such as the company game, engages students much more and makes them absorb knowledge without even noticing it is happening. For this reason, there is a growing number of institutions that make use of this and various other means of learning tools that unite theory and practice.

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