The lightness of management learning

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Management Learning, 2015, 46 (3), pp. 280 - 298
Issue Date:
2015-01-01
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© The Author(s) 2014 Design or integrated thinking increasingly features in discussion of the future of business education that seeks to innovate new models different from the functionalist, modernist silos of the past. The impact of the Global Financial Crisis and the attribution of responsibility for it, in part, to the conventional knowledge reproduced in Business Schools, have provided an incentive for innovation. The article reports a case study of one innovation process in a Business School, with the aim of investigating its basic tenets and questioning its assumptions. First, at a general level, we illustrate how Business Schools attempt to become more global, integrated and innovative; second, we elaborate the context of the research, showing how global ideas become translated into local institution by means of specific representational devices; and third, on the basis of the empirical material, we characterise the effects of these processes as one of ‘lightness’, defined not in terms of mass or density but the translucence of three relevant representational devices: curriculum, branding and building. Translucence poses critical issues for this model of management learning, but it may also offer opportunities for resistance to normalising tendencies.
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