The Building Innovation Award scheme was set up to recognise and reward new ideas and concepts that improved quality and cost effectiveness, whatever the size or character, in the building industry


Management Reality
AROUSAL corporate
simulation system

Broad company management skills are often conspicuously lacking in the building industry - yet they are as important in this field as any other. While great emphasis has been placed on practical building management very little has been done to teach management in a wider sense.
  In an attempt to correct this situation, Peter Lansley of Management Reality has developed a computer simulation system called Arousal. This system - first marketed in the UK two years ago - is aimed at assisting in the development of managers and in evaluating the potential costs and benefits of different business and organisational strategies.
  The system has won Management Reality first place in the information technology class of the 1987 Building Innovation awards.
  At the heart of the system is a case study of a real firrn and a computer model of its business activities. Unlike many computer models, which are restricted to handling financial, marketing and production issues, Arousal recognises the interplay between strategic and operational decisions and the human side of business.
  It generates much of the information which would usually be available to managers and enables them to handle both it and the embedded issues as they would be in practice.
  "The prime reason for developing Arousal was to provide firms with a powerful tool for handling those issues which arise from the complexity of business and organisational life", said Lansley.
  Originally it was envisaged that such a tool could be used in three main ways: as a key learning vehicle on management courses; for coaching individual managers; and as an input to corporate appraisal.
  "However, during the past two years, Arousal's uses have been extended to include team building and leadership development; management of change; information systems development; and staff induction", said Lansley.
  The Arousal philosophy was conceived by Lansley in 1980 while employed at Ashridge Management College. Drawing on more than a decade of research and consultancy into the factors underlying commercial success in the construction industry, three prototype versions of Arousal were developed.
  With the help of various companies in the construction sector, the prototypes were tested between 1981 and 1984 when basic development work was complete. Subsequent development and promotion of the system has been carried out by Management Reality.
  The Arousal system comprises: an audio-visual and written description of the background and current status of the firm which has been modelled; a computer-based information and decision processing system which is used to obtain information about the firm and its market environment record decisions about the how the firm is to be managed and store and report information produced during operations; a guide for instructors on how to use the system for training and development courses.
  The system runs on IBM-PCs and compatible microcomputers with 256K RAM.


"The Arousal system has pioneered corporate simulation in the building industry and is aimed essentially at organisational and management development, not only in general terms but also in the context of the firm."

"It is a superb innovation aimed at stimulating new ways of thinking and of approach in the work of participants. The system has already been used by a number of firms in the UK and the USA and has proved a valuable part of their training programme."

Enquiries: 9604

Scanned from Building supplement, 16 January 1987

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