Despite limited and conflicting evidence about their effectiveness, outdoor management training (OMT) programs such as ropes courses are used frequently. In addition, proponents of these programs and their skeptics are equally impassioned. Proponents of OMT argue that the sessions prepare managers and employees to deal with change and that they are appropriate for all employees within an organization; skeptics argue that OMT is at the very least a waste of time and at the worst can be evidence of managerial malpractice.

One such program was designed and developed by Chris Rowland of Rowland/Diamond in New Hampshire. The OMT was a one-day ropes course for the U.S. Navy installation in Indiana. In the spring of ...

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