Towards transformation in management education : telling the managers’ tales

Dunn, Elaine and Burgoyne, John (2011) Towards transformation in management education : telling the managers’ tales. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis focuses on the experiences of twelve senior managers who participated in postgraduate management education programmes embodying a transformative intent. It is informed by primary empirical research into the learners‟ perceptions of the emotions and changes in thinking attributed to their learning experiences and the emotions and changes in practice associated with transfer of learning into their workplace. The empirical research involved twelve research subjects over a two-year period, from the 2003-05 cohorts of the Exeter Masters in Leadership Studies and the Ashridge Masters in Organisational Consulting. . The context is the contemporary debate about the alleged failings of management education which focuses on instrumental failure, ethical failure, and a disconnection between teaching and practice. Scholars have recommended and experimented with new forms of management education which challenge conventional assumptions, problematise existing knowledge, surface values and interests, embody critical reflection and facilitate experiential learning. However, research into critical adult education in the US has fuelled speculation that managers might suffer disturbing practical and emotional consequences as a result of questioning deeply held beliefs and behaving contrary to organisational norms. Educators have been urged to understand these consequences, but to date there has been little research in this area. Previous research has focused primarily on the challenges faced by educators within the learning environment. This thesis finds that critical postgraduate management education can be a site for transformative learning, that the outcomes for managers can be positive if educators provide skilled support, but that these outcomes are not necessarily gender neutral. It is argued that critical management learning discourses and practices need to balance critique with the teaching of research-informed theories for managing and organising work. This means theories informed by a new paradigm which embodies a relational understanding of human individuality, behaviour and development.

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Thesis (PhD)
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09 Jan 2013 14:21
Last Modified:
29 Feb 2024 00:23