Research studies within organizational knowledge are good examples for both analyzing and illustrating the debate regarding a paradigm shift in management. Most articles in the field focus on knowledge complexity and its socially constructed side. Researchers have noted a great deal of similarity between this socially constructed nature and the shaping elements of constructivism. They argue for a paradigm shift, rejecting positivism. To more fully understand this paradigm shift, and to address the number of methodological questions it raises, we carried out a content analysis on a sample of the main articles dealing with organizational knowledge. Our research points out that the principles of constructivism are difficult to adhere to within research design. It underlines the lack of specific methodological devices and lack of adaptation with the epistemological system of reference. This study highlights the methodological perspectives that underpin constructivist research in organizational knowledge.
In the midst of the turbulence wrought by the global economy, it has become common to see projects as an essential medium for achieving change. However, project based learning practices - as a subset of organizational learning practices- have not kept pace with this development. To explore this concern, we have carried out a study on practices adopted by organizations for learning through projects involving nineteen companies from across Europe and from a range of different industries. We use the concepts of variation, selection and retention in organizational learning to analyze our findings and report the challenges faced by project based organizations in each of the areas highlighted. We conclude that time pressures, centralization and deferral are the key characteristics of learning in project based firms and that these impede project based members in learning from and through projects.
This issue opens with an empirical article "Compelling identity: Selves and insecurity in corporate management development," focusing on the micro-practices of conformity set in the context of management development programs. Next, is a work of theoretical fusion that bridges individual and group levels of analysis. It emphasize the importance of the socio-emotional context and fuse it with practice-based insights. The following article provides a fusion of two perspectives that often are perceived to be incommensurable. Leadership is the theme of the next article. It explores a relatively under-researched link between leadership and organizational learning by discussing how learning barriers and process gaps in organizations may be resolved by authentic leadership-but only if that leadership can shape an organizational culture through authentic dialogue. Final article uses a case study set in a pharmaceutical firm to explore the meaning of background assumptions in the processes of organizational learning and development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Introduces this special issue which concerns viewing organizations from a knowledge-based perspective. The articles included in this special issue touch on such points as the situated character of knowledge and the difficulties inherent in its validation and transfer; the communities of practice and how they may be constructed to facilitate and legitimize knowledge flows; the conditions enabling the creation of new knowledge and the emergence of novelty. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This special issue presents five studies dealing with the dissemination of management knowledge. The purpose of this introduction is to briefly summarize the main findings from these case studies and then to point to differences and similarities. Each of the case studies presents rich empirically based accounts and draws on a variety of existing theoretical frameworks. Rather than putting these cases into an existing theoretical framework, the introduction follows Eisenhardt (1989) and tries to develop new theoretical insights from the comparison of multiple case studies. We summarize these under three major themes: arenas, significant actors, and the role of rhetoric. Finally, we offer some concluding remarks. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Critically evaluates the nature, purpose, and form of management education (ME). With a focus primarily upon university-based provisions in the UK, 2 main intertwined concerns are explored: (1) situating discussion of ME and pedagogy in universities within an appreciation of broader developments in the training and education of managers and (2) exploring the linkage between the critical study of management and the development of a posttraditional approach to ME. The worldview and modus operandi of traditional ME and action learning are compared and contrasted. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
It might appear disproportionate to devote a journal special issue to one academic course. But the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is exceptional. For many business and management schools in the United States and elsewhere, it has become a flagship course. In compiling this special issue we looked for articles that tested some of the assumptions often made about management education in general and the MBA in particular. The first article focuses on the institutional and programmatic. The second article explores why the MBA may be on the cusp of undergoing root and branch reform in spite of having remained much the same for the past two decades. The next two articles both tackle the question of relevance but do so in very different ways. Our fourth and fifth articles both take the pedagogic realm as their starting point but relate it to either the programmatic and/or the institutional realm. The final article examines one aspect of the curriculum--the teaching of leadership and change--and explores the extent to which it is possible to develop a critical pedagogy around these themes in one particular university-based business school. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Over the past decades there have been persistent radical critiques of management. Previously the goal was to apply forms of Marxian analysis to the world of management and organizations, usually seeing it as a sphere of false consciousness, distorted and unreflective practices, and three-dimensional power or hegemony. Surprisingly, even after the Marxist scaffoldings that supported such claims have been deconstructed—both practically and theoretically—there are still current contributions to management thought that seek to resuscitate the same critiques, often under the rubric of Critical Management Studies. These representations seem increasingly bizarre, given the theoretical currents emanating from post-structuralist and postmodern thought that have been emergent in recent years, associated ideas such as polyphony, difference, deconstruction and translation. In this article we draw on these sources to produce a different representation of management—one that we would argue acts as an effective counter-factual to that which provides support to some of the central tendencies manifest in critical approaches to management. Rather than seeing modern management as necessarily a totalitarian practice, one that should necessarily be subject to a negative critique, we would argue that, at its best, it enables polyphony rather than tyranny, and the possibility to be both critical and for management.
The article examines the post-war diffusion of human relations within Turkish academia. It focuses on the reception of human relations as ideology and its penetration into curricular structures within higher education. The empirical part is based on a content analysis of 23 public presentations and the examination of the curricula of educational institutions at the time. The study suggests that the processes and outcomes varied with respect to ideological absorption and the carving of structural spaces. The former was fast-paced, wholesale among adherents and closely followed the evolution in the United States, whereas the latter met with resistance and was a slower and constrained process that generated variant outcomes across educational institutions.
This article analyzes the evolution of human resource management practices in Korea as a self-fulfilling process at a global level. Korean human resource management practices have experienced two paradigm shifts, in 1987 and 1997, going from a seniority-based, paternalistic employment relationship to a performance-based, market-like relationship. These revolutionary changes in human resource management practices occurred when Korean society underwent major social upheavals, which created the conditions for accepting ‘new’ norms and practices. The rapid diffusion of American-style management ideologies and practices to Korean firms can be explained by a self-fulfilling diffusion process taking place through international organizations and local institutions. This study makes a contribution to the literature of organizational learning by conceptualizing the global management diffusion process as a learning process. Further implications are discussed in the line of the change of management discourse.
Organizational memory is fundamentally important to organizational learning. The seminal work on organizational memory is Walsh and Ungson’s article published in the Academy of Management Review in 1991. More than 300 articles have cited this classic work, but a simple citation count reveals nothing about the nature of what has been retrieved. We examine this issue through a citation context analysis (i.e. content analysis) of the citations that citing authors have made to this classic article. Our analysis provides a richer understanding of which knowledge claims made by Walsh and Ungson have been retrieved and have had the greatest impact on later work in the area of organizational memory, and also what criticisms have been leveled against their claims. Through this analysis and a review of the citing articles that contain the largest number of citations to Walsh and Ungson, we identify several important directions for future research.
Absorptive capacity is an important organizational capability constituted by exploratory, transformative, and exploitative learning processes. Leadership has been shown to affect such processes, but little is known about how the combined leadership styles of top and middle management influence absorptive capacity. This theory-building, exploratory qualitative case study discusses the need for top and middle management to be ambidextrous and to change their styles to better facilitate the three different learning processes. We found that an exploratory learning process was facilitated when both top and middle management used a transformational style, a transformative learning process was facilitated when top management used a transformational style while middle management used a transactional style, and an exploitative learning process was facilitated when both top and middle management used a transactional style. Furthermore, for each of the three learning processes, the leadership styles of top and middle management operated more effectively when certain attributes of the organizational context were emphasized.
Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published following peer-review in Management learning, published by and copyright Sage Publications Ltd. considerable amount of research into how organizations absorb new knowledge was prompted by the work of Cohen and Levinthal. In a recent literature review Zahra and George identify two distinct elements of absorptive capacity (potential and realized). This article contributes to the study of managerial agency in the absorption of new knowledge and skills. Zahra and George’s model is extended to incorporate key roles associated with knowledge transfer, including gatekeepers, boundary spanners and change agents. Empirical data are drawn from a longitudinal study of a mature manufacturing firm based in North Wales. Change was initiated by the owner in response to the loss of the company’s major customer—the Ministry of Defence. The main change agent was a recently recruited middle manager who used his mass production experience to improve managerial communications and introduce more efficient working practices to the shopfloor.
The research process and production of scientific knowledge has traditionally been understood to be based on abstract analysis and intellectual capacity rather than physical and emotional resources, promoting an understanding of academic practice as a detached, non-emotional and objective activity. Lately, several researchers have bemoaned this lack of recognition of the bodiliness of our work. In this study, we attempt to address this gap by exploring and conceptualizing some of the ways in which the embodied dimensions of academic research practices are intertwined with the articulation of ideas in the writing of scientific texts. In order to pursue our aim, we draw on experiences explicated through an autoethnographic approach, including the generation of personal narratives and in-depth conversations with 18 researchers from different universities in Europe and the US. The article contributes to the sociology of science and academic literacy literature, by conceptualizing the interconnectedness between sensuous and discursive understandings in this context. With the advancement of this theoretical approach, we illuminate how scientific practice is bound up with emotional, embodied, material, social, political and institutional forces. We also challenge the dichotomy between ‘knowledge work’ or theoretical tasks on the one hand, and ‘body work’ or physical labor on the other.
This article contributes to the literature on reflexivity by articulating a queer reflexivity lens, which entails engaging in a reflexive questioning of the categories we use to identify people and recognizing the shifting nature of researcher and participant identities over the course of the research process. Queer reflexivity enables us to think differently about an important debate in qualitative methods concerning who can study whom. For instance, are white researchers in a position to study people of color? Are men able to study women and women’s issues? Can “straight”-identified researchers study the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community? I argue that the question of whether or not to “match” for categories of difference in research studies is complicated by the fluid, shifting nature of identities that queer theory highlights. In order to demonstrate how qualitative organizational researchers can learn about the craft of research through the concept of queer reflexivity, I recount an auto-ethnographic “coming-out” tale in which I discuss the implications of my shifting sexual identity over the course of a research project.
In research on management knowledge, a tension often exists between perspectives that stress the effects of structural and institutional forces on the spread of new knowledge within managerial communities versus a more action-focused and organizationally embedded perspective on dissemination. This article contributes to the critique of dissemination theory by exploring the fashion for Intellectual Capital Accounting. ICA is a set of accounting models for managing knowledge-based assets and represents a poorly institutionalized variable type of fashion. The findings from case studies of ICA in six UK firms are at variance with the image of packages of knowledge being transferred into organizations. They confirm a process of dissemination that was much more a function of operational constraints and the level to which internal controls had developed; firms seemed to come to ideas via distinctive processes internally constructed around current problems and agendas, technical constraints, and the actions of a range of sponsoring groups.
A common strategy to transfer knowledge from projects is for project teams to capture ‘lessons learned’ and store these on a database for others to access. This strategy is widely adopted but such databases are not widely used. This article explores why cross-project knowledge transfer fails, using data from 13 projects in six organizations. Following Cook and Brown, the analysis focuses on why knowledge captured from one project is typically not used as a ‘tool of knowing’ by others. The results suggest that the knowledge captured is not deemed useful and/or project teams lack awareness that there is knowledge that could be useful to help them improve their processes.
The use of codification to support knowledge transfer across projects has been explored in several recent, and mostly qualitative, studies. Building on that research, this article puts forward hypotheses about the antecedents of knowledge codification, and tests them on a sample of 540 inter-organizational projects carried out in the creative, high-tech and engineering industries. We find that the presence of strong industry norms governing the division of labour discourages knowledge transfer through codification, as suggested by the existing qualitative studies. The presence of a system integrator plays an important role in driving the use of codification for knowledge transfer, to some extent embodying an organizational memory in volatile project environments. Finally, the level of use of administrative control in the project is a robust predictor of attempts to transfer knowledge via codification. When these antecedents are taken into account, the novelty of products and services plays a smaller role than previously found in determining the use of codification.
This study focuses on a challenge faced by multinational corporations: how to enhance knowledge sharing across geographical and functional boundaries given the multifaceted nature of knowledge. The article demonstrates how a multinational company can create the means and spaces necessary to achieve effective knowledge sharing and learning by highlighting a viable information system that supports social networking. It also offers a virtual team structure that draws upon and strengthens employees’ social ties, which can boost organization-wide management of fine-grained knowledge. This combined approach mitigates the negative effects of physical and organizational distance on the availability of support and information. The present study contributes to organizational learning and knowledge-sharing discussions by shedding light on how virtual teams that function as knowledge activists can enhance internal knowledge sharing in globally dispersed organizations.
This paper is based on the assumption that many texts and programmes of study on strategic management either ignore or address only vaguely the issue of defining strategic management, or promulgate the author/designer's unhelpfully narrow viewpoint. It provides a multi-perspective view of strategic management which more nearly reflects its practice, and is more helpful to the development of strategic management skills. It discusses the confusion about what `strategic management' means and examinesit as a concept which embraces the approaches of a range of theoretically espoused leader-types. This view is then contrasted with `this is the only way' and `specific leader style to fit specific strategic context' prescriptions. The paper concludes by discussing implications raised for practitioner and student strategists and their skills development supporters.
Action Learning has now developed to an extent that there is now a demand to 'know' what it is. There is one way, and one way alone, of getting to 'know' what action learning is, and that is by doing it. For those who most clamour to 'know' what something might be are usually the victims of an educational system that leaves the vast majority who pass through it ignorant of the meaning of the verb to 'know' ... If, for example, I am asked 'Do you know that woman?' it is most probable that the questioner does not 'know' what he is asking me. Does he mean 'Do I know her name? Or where she lives? Or am I able to introduce him to her? Or what she does for a living? Or do I recognise her by sight? Or have I been to bed with her? And, if so, what progress did I make? ...' Thus, with action learning: 'Have I read a book about it? Or attended a seminar at which somebody was trying to sell places on an action learning programme? Or visited a set of participants meeting as part of such a programme? Or tried to organise real persons tackling real problems in real time, and trying thereby to learn with and from each other? Or been an active participant myself in such a programme? ...' To 'know' what action learning is one must have been responsibly involved in it; since this cannot have been done merely by reading about action learning, it is impossible in this, or any other, note to convey more than the vaguest impression of what this educational approach may be. The day action learning becomes explicable in words alone will be the day to abandon the practice of it.
In an increasingly global business environment, managers must interact effectively with culturally complex people in culturally complex situations. The dominant stream of thought in international management literature frames this situation as a problem of conflict and offers generalized models of cultural difference as guides to ‘adaptation’ for avoiding conflict. This article offers an alternative approach to intercultural competence, ‘negotiating reality’, that engages cultural conflict as a resource for learning. Negotiating reality draws on concepts from action science and identity-based conflict to take a new look at the meaning of competence in intercultural interactions. This article analyses and critiques the approach to culture implicit in the dominant international management literature and the adaptation model. It then describes negotiating reality and the kinds of thinking and behaviour that must be adopted in order to put this approach to intercultural competence into practice.
Action Learning draws its roots from different philosophies of learning and change, which in turn, influence its design and practice. This article identifies common factors and differences among three different ‘schools’ of practice (Scientific, Experiential and Critical Reflection). It then distinguishes Action Learning from the other action approaches in this volume.
Discusses issues related to programs of management development by action learning leading to qualification in management. Justifies use of the method against a backdrop of current problems in management education at the postgraduate level and explains the rationale for its use at Manchester Polytechnic. (JOW)
The approach to management education taken in our universities is often criticized for being divorced from the realities of current management practice: too 'academic' in the least complimentary sense of the word. The concept of action learning appeared to offer management educators a way forward, by encouraging them to bring their analytical skills and structured approach into companies, to allow managers to practise and learn about management, more or less simultaneously. The stumbling block to the development of action learning is that it does not fit easily into the way academic institutions are organized. For the academics, the companies and the learners involved, it appears to be a relatively radical learning approach to adopt. The general perception about action learning is that it has so far been restricted to relatively isolated, although often successful, initiatives. This article examines the phenomenon of the Teaching Company Scheme, which involves 70 percent of higher education institutions; a scheme which has introduced thousands of graduates, academics and company managers to an experience which could be equated to an action learning process. By drawing on the experience of four teaching company programmes, the article attempts to explore the opportunities and limitations that the scheme presents to apply and study the process of action learning.
This criterion study examined the impact of the cultural dimensions of individualism and collectivism on actual plagiarism in working business students. Given globalization of business and recent business scandals, furthering our understanding of international ethics remains critical. Business students are the potential employees, managers and leaders of organizations in the future. In this study we focus on one form of unethical conduct by business students, i.e. actual plagiarism, and seek to determine the link between this behavior and cultural values of individualism/collectivism and associated stereotypes of Asian/Caucasian students. Our findings suggest that individualists plagiarize more than collectivists, and that no significant differences in plagiarism exist between Asian and Caucasian students, contrary to popular beliefs. The implications of these findings for scholars and managers are discussed.
This article describes the stages and processes involved in- the life of a Self-Development Group and gives an insight into the kind of learning that can take place, and its relevance for managers, in Self-Development Group activities.
Written by Paul Temporal — now an independent consultant who established Self-Development Groups 18 months ago in a multinational company — it contains unedited written comments and reflections (inset) from Martin Hayhurst, a Senior Production Manager with the Company, who indicates what it is like to be a member of such a Group.
The aim of this article is to explore how business schools in China have acted upon calls for greater adaptation of the US MBA model. Scandinavian institutionalism’s concept of translation as a process was employed to make sense of how such normative demands for translation have been accommodated across five case studies. Our findings demonstrate that the normative pressures for adaptation of the MBA on the basis of cultural relativism are not sufficient for significant adaptation. In contrast to other studies of the circulation of ideas and models we found that packaging changed slightly, but form and practice remained largely unchanged. Our conclusion is that the influence of market logic has eclipsed the normative calls for adaptation, resulting in the copying and adoption of the US MBA model.
A two-part study was completed. In part one, an introduction to business course was structured to enhance the open-mindedness of 86 college students. In part two, effects of dogmatic thinking with 57 business administration majors enrolled in a business policy course were analysed with respect to course success, and satisfaction with course structure and instructor directiveness. Results indicated that open-minded thinking can be fostered in a business course environment. Additionally, while it appeared that participation in a general business curriculum creates a climate tending toward more open-mindedness, effects of dogmatism hampers overall academic success. Implications for open-mindedness and decision making in the business environment are discussed.
There is a growing cry for ways of approaching management and leadership development that embrace the complex, dynamic, chaotic and highly subjective, interactional environments of contemporary organisational contexts. One response has been the use of arts-based methods for management and leadership education. Although a community of research has grown around these practices, there remains a lack of empirically grounded work focusing on the underlying, situated, experiential learning processes of such methods. Working from the concept of experiential learning as knowledge creation through the transformation of experience, I develop a three-stage theoretical model that explores experiential learning processes of arts-based methodologies. This study is based on an inductive, grounded theory approach in analyzing descriptive essays written by Executive MBA students on their experiences of a choral conducting masterclass. The model describes how arts-based learning environments afford aesthetic workspaces where participants engaged in aesthetic reflexivity to create memories with momentum to inform their future leadership practice. This model builds an interdisciplinary bridge to the theory of affordances and the concepts of aesthetic workspaces and aesthetic reflexivity found within cultural sociology, a discourse with a focus on the reflexive use of the arts for self-configuration, regulation and development.
This article responds to calls from the field of organizational aesthetics to study and represent sensible-aesthetic knowledge with artistic-aesthetic approaches. An artistic-aesthetic touchstone artifact engages the sensibilities of 54 MBA Organizational Behavior students as they take an aesthetic risk to enjoy exploring and re-presenting the aesthetic dimension of group organizational life. In the context of dominant business school pedagogic practices that tend to neglect aesthetics, student reflections reveal that the creative process itself is imbued with its own aesthetic value. This study contributes to artistic-aesthetic knowing at the group level of understanding. This paper also makes a contribution to the field of organizational aesthetics by extending its reach into management education practices. It is further suggested that an aesthetic inquiry into the aesthetics of management education is well worth the effort. In accordance with aesthetic criteria, this paper seeks to represent a plausible account of this management education journey.
The effectiveness of management development in the improvement of productivity is well established in many developed countries. This powerful tool in the search for managerial effectiveness and efficiency, has become more and more popular among developing countries. However, to be effective, it has to integrate the social reality of these countries. This article analyses management development in sub-Saharan Francophone African countries by putting an emphasis on the cultural dimension. It points out the main cultural factors that have to be taken into account, describes how these apply to the management development process and concludes with recommendations for management development needs analysis, objectives, design and implementation, and evaluation.
Organizational learning within the international management field is commonly understood as knowledge transfer. Context-based and actor-centred investigations into the aspects of the social system that shape the learning process have received less attention. This study highlights the role of agency as embedded in MNC coordination networks where knowledge is distributed across a social system to account for non-isomorphic patterns of learning. It points to the social dimension of MNC learning by explicating actors’ responses to acquired knowledge. The study is based on case studies that systematically compare the ways in which parent company knowledge diffuses to subsidiaries in the European chemical industry. It concludes that learning within multinational corporations is shaped by actors’ orientation to drawing on the past, the present, and the future to inform their current practice beyond knowledge transfer.
The orthodox literature on situated learning has favoured a conception of agency which is linked to habitual action and as a consequence it emphasizes learning as routinized enactment based on social cohesion. To highlight the contested nature of situated learning we draw on the case study of situated learning during organizational change and we employ a relational sociology perspective. The latter views agency as a process encompassing iterative, projective and practical evaluative dimensions which unfold in relation to the temporal and structural contexts within which situated learning is embedded. The evidence illustrates situated learning as an emergent process shaped by the diverse modes in which actors—operating in a context imbued with ambiguity—connected with a seemingly shared set of principles informing their practice.
Contemporary business school faculties continue in their efforts to enhance graduates' preparation in terms of communication skills, critical thinking skills, perspective taking, and the ability to collaborate. The reflecting team case model presented here is a conversational, student centered, narratively based alternative to the traditional hierarchical, instructor centered, analytical model. It will hopefully be a welcome addition to the case instruction repertoire, aiming at the enhancement of students' skills in areas of both process and knowledge application. Process aspects include balancing power, dealing with gender differences, encouraging agreements among participants with diverse viewpoints, change processes, question construction, the art of positive denotation, and the development of action items. It is also attempts to place students in a `zone of proximal development', which would catalyze the development of more advanced models of cognitive and emotional intelligence.
This article is the introduction to the special issue on ‘Critical and Alternative Approaches to Leadership Learning and Development’. This article reviews the past approaches to researching and theorising about leadership learning and development and proposes a shift towards critical and alternative approaches. This article then describes the various articles in the special issue and how they contribute towards this paradigm shift.
Business education tends to reinforce the neo-liberal view that the best, perhaps the only desirable model of organization is the managed corporation. Furthermore, in competing to attract students, business schools frequently stress that lucrative careers and personal success can be achieved through management qualifications. All this arguably encourages the competitive and individualistic pursuit of wealth, status and power that reflects the dominant values underpinning much of contemporary western society. Our article suggests an antidote to these developments by proposing the more prominent study of `alternative organizations' within business schools. Alternative organizations pursue very different ends, in different ways from mainstream business corporations, so studying them has the potential to stimulate debate and raise questions about the individualistic and instrumental attitudes implicit in much business education and research. Importantly, the study of alternative organization also suggests a range of possibilities for radically rethinking organization(s)—including business schools—and the place of managers, along with others, within them.
This article reports on a qualitative study conducted within a software company. The study focuses on the strategic learning process within the top management team that was facilitated by the use of causal mapping, which aimed at uncovering the organization's causally ambiguous success factors. The case study we describe is an illustration of how this process allowed the top management team to develop new sets of assumptions about their firm's sources of advantage and gave them new bases for strategy making. Our agenda was both theory and practice led. Our academic agenda was to further knowledge about the processes of strategic learning and causal ambiguity in particular, and our managerial agenda was to help the top management team better understand what underpins their organization's success.
In this article we study the patterns of proliferation, circulation and transformation of MBA programmes in Europe. The article seeks to address two important questions: First, why is it that the label MBA has travelled from the USA to Europe?, and second, to what extent does this label signify the proliferation of similar programmes across the Atlantic? We show that even though the label MBA has diffused around the globe, closer studies of a selection of MBA programmes show that the way in which these local programmes have been formed, clearly reflects their local contexts. Hence, this study is an example of local translations of globalized models. Moreover, the study suggests that we should not take labels as clearly signifying local practices. Instead, while labels of various kinds seem to travel easily and rapidly across the globe, local variations and distinctions remain. Based on case studies of four MBA programmes in Denmark, Italy, Spain and Sweden, we analyse how similarities and differences coexist among MBA programmes. While these case studies clearly show that programmes—in some aspects—are becoming increasingly similar, variations and distinctions among them remain. A few elements of MBA programmes remain stable (the ‘model’) as other elements change as they spread. Therefore, the circulation of a vague model—like an MBA in the management education field—allows for both variance in the local application and stabilization of specific elements. With the proliferation of programmes, the field as a whole displays homogenization as well as heterogenization. Two homogenizing forces, and two heterogenizing forces are identified.
Prior reviews of organizational learning (OL) have noted an exponential growth in the literature through the 1990s and have expressed concerns about the lack of empirical research. In this paper, we review the literature published during the period 1990-2002 and take stock of the state of empirical research in OL. Based on the 123 articles reviewed, we note a phenomenal growth in empirical research and the emergence of a learning perspective. We discuss key research findings pertaining to internal and external learning, and the facilitators of organizational learning. We discuss the implications of the empirical research and suggest directions for future research.
This article contributes an analysis of the use of experiential learning and reflection within a management education context where its use has received less attention: a learning environment dominated by the requirements of a professional body, where successful attainment of the qualification offered by the programme is linked with entry into the profession and to promotion within it. Using a psychoanalytic lens, this study shows the tension occurring between experiential learning methods and the ‘expert knowledge’ requirements of professional bodies. Tension is essential for learning but we argue that the consequences of it are uncertain and that it deserves more attention within the management education domain. We highlight the ways by which anxiety generated by this tension can stimulate meaningful and reflexive outcomes but our findings also indicate that ‘learning inaction’ (Vince, 2008) is also possible, particularly where tutors are unable to provide a sufficient ‘holding’ environment when anxieties arising from experience-based learning and expert knowledge demands become too hard to bear.
The article uses media images of businesswomen to explore how Master of Business Administration students position themselves in relation to the businesswomen. Following feminist media studies, the article argues that subjects are “becoming” through media images. In order to explore subject formation processes through images, a business school setting, as a place that develops future leaders and that is dominated by men and masculinity, was chosen. The analysis of the interviews indicates that Master of Business Administration students position themselves in relation to the images of businesswomen by commenting on the appropriateness of dress based on the industry and by discussing that being sexually attractive is deemed unprofessional for women. While the subject positions that the Master of Business Administration students occupied were rather normative in nature, the article argues that images can be used as a helpful tool to allow reflection on normativity in relation to gender in leadership development. It is thereby possible to think about a displacement of norms by facilitating the use of alternative subject positions.
This article develops our understanding of how entrepreneurship may be enhanced in existing entrepreneurs and developed in nascent entrepreneurs. It describes the authors’ exploration in the design, development and evaluation of a new programme to create opportunities for learning entrepreneurship capacities. A tripartite approach was taken, bringing together nascent entrepreneurs (undergraduate students), existing entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship facilitators. The programme was delivered using a synergistic learning approach and participatory methods in which all participants were co-learners in a collaborative, peer-learning environment. This article describes the action research approach to the exploration of entrepreneurship education androgogy and contributes to the growing body of literature in entrepreneurship education. It provides insights into how entrepreneurship education can be delivered in innovative and effective ways that mirror the ‘real world’ experience of existing and nascent entrepreneurs. It also provides insights into the nature and use of a synergistic learning approach within an entrepreneurship education context.
Many managers undertake 'research' in the course of their normal work--for planning, problem solving, market research and decision-support--in which they have to gather information which enables decisions to be taken about a course of action. However, from our experience the methods they employ are dominated by quantitative techniques, augmented by an interview or questionnaire survey from which qualitative data remains unused. Yet many of the issues managers investigate are complex, messy, and involve a range of stakeholders with different concerns and perceptions. These are circumstances in which qualitative research could offer a richness and depth of understanding unlikely to be achieved with quantitative approaches. This paper describes three cases in which the authors supported practising managers in their wish to identify and use qualitative approaches in their 'research'. We describe the processes which took place and the managers' experience of using the qualitative approaches. We then reflect on the potential and the problems for the wider use of qualitative research, methods by managers.
This special issue of Management Learning provides the opportunity to reflect on the contribution over the past 30 years of Chris Argyris to the field of organizational learning and on some implications for future research. In order to do this we will reconsider his work against the context of other research that has been done over this period. This special issue therefore contains two items generated by Argyris himself: a commentary piece on the papers that are included here and an interview. The interview is part of a celebration event organized by Management Learning to honour Chris Argyris as a ‘Timeless Learner’ and to celebrate his 80th birthday, and Elena Antonacopoulou, who conducted this interview, presents the main insights from Chris Argyris’ scholarship. In this opening paper we focus on the nature of ‘contribution’ in relation to organizational learning, and this leads into an introduction to the six papers that comprise the core of the special issue.
We contribute to the literature on the production of knowledge through engaged management and organisational research. We explore how relational practices in management and organisational research may interpenetrate and change one another, thereby potentially producing new knowledge. We demonstrate the importance of the disruptive qualities of arresting moments in this process. We present data from within ongoing engaged management and organisational research at an arts festival involving related music, management and research practices, during which two arresting moments arose: one in our own core research practice, the other in related music and management practices. We found arresting moments were preceded by increasingly intense divisions between practices, when practitioners experienced increasingly entrenched views and heightened emotions. Arresting moments sometimes followed, producing an empathetic connection between practitioners, so that they could suddenly see situations from a new perspective. In this way, arresting moments could produce opportunities for (self-) reflexivity and the possibility of reconstructing knowing in relational practices.
The paper aims to realise the critical potential of the practice lens by contributing to the development of a coherent set of methodologies for investigating work and organisational activity. It does so by introducing and critically assessing the "interview to the double" as a method to articulate and represent practice. After briefly illustrating its history and usage, the paper analyses in depth the setting generated by this unusual interview method. It argues that the nature of the encounter produces narratives that are often morally connoted and idealised in character. As a consequence the method is especially useful to capture the going concerns which orient the conduct of the members and the normative and moral dimension of practice. The paper also shows that because it mimics familiar instruction-giving discursive practices, the method constitutes an effective textual device to convey this moral and normative dimension in a way which remains faithful to its situated and contingent nature of practice.
Problem-based learning (PBL) has attracted increased interest in higher education due to claims that it provides a more active and productive learning environment.Yet, to date, most empirical research on the instructional effectiveness of PBL has been conducted in medical education. This article examines the instructional effectiveness of a problem-based curriculum at a business school in Thailand. The quasi-experimental study draws on seven years of student evaluation data to compare the instructional effectiveness of courses offered in a PBL track with other courses taught in the college. The results suggest that students perceived PBL as an effective approach to learning. PBL courses fostered a more active, engaging classroom environment that helped graduate management students understand how to apply theory to practice. The findings offer initial empirical support for the use of PBL in management education and counter the belief that Asian students are not responsive to learner centred approaches to education.
The aim of this article is to demonstrate the importance of local knowledge for the design of assessment tools intended to develop and enhance human resources in organizations. With respect to the standardization of assessment procedures brought about by the application of universal and global reference models, the article uses a case study to illustrate the potentialities and shortcomings of using a local approach. After a brief survey of the main theoretical frames of reference, the article describes how local knowledge was used at an assessment centre set up at a multinational operating in the maritime transport sector, with a view to developing the competences required by the company. The article describes and discusses the ways in which certain classic knowledge management situations were adapted at the assessment centre to local needs and conditions, and the main results obtained. Finally discussed are the practical and social implications, as well as the limitations and the transferability, of a local approach to assessment.
Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published following peer-review in Management Learning, published by and copyright Sage Publications Ltd. This article examines the national Teaching Quality Assessment (TQA) which was conducted across all 105 business and management schools in England during the period 1993-1994. It demonstrates from documentary sources that teaching provision was more likely to be judged `excellent' if: (i) clear links were visible between institutional aims and curricular content; (ii) at least one third of individual classes showed good preparation/ structuring by the teacher, and active involvement from the students; and (iii) the institution had already achieved a high rating for the quality of its research. On the other hand, institutions were more likely to be considered as merely `satisfactory' if there were concerns about the overall effectiveness of administrative and management structures. A range of issues were identified about the process of assessment from discussions with people who had played roles as assessors and/or assessees, which included worries about the reliability of the ratings and variability of the outcome. Participants in the exercise considered that two main reasons for potential variability were the dynamics of forming judgements within TQA teams, and the complex presentational choices required of institutions.