The Carrier Truck: An Exercise Exploring Organizations As Open Systems

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



This article is an experiential activity designed to introduce management and organizational behavior students to basic systems concepts. Students participate as employees of Acme Carrier Truck, Inc. to build carrier trucks that must meet specific criteria. During the exercise, the students respond to changing environmental circumstances and internal organizational problems. A brief summary of basic systems concepts and a discussion of implications for management are provided for instructors, as well as instructions for the experiential activity and suggestions for postexercise processing. The value of the exercise is that participants can combine exploration of systems concepts theories as well as their practical applications in a challenging and engaging experience.