Organization Management Journal


The Bubble Factory is a fish-bowl, participatory exercise wherein three to eight students participate in a “factory” that produces high-quality soap bubbles using wands and soap and glycerin solution (such as Mr. Bubbles brand) typically found in toy stores or department stores. The instructor doctors the materials prior to the exercise so that unequal results are produced across “production lines.” This sets up discussion of the relative importance of individual versus situational influences, Deming-style quality problem solving, and industrial design of experiment, and discussion of the limitations of traditional HRM practices and how one might apply quality concepts to HRM. This is suitable for undergraduate (45–60 minutes) or MBA levels (45–75 minutes).