From Advocacy to Accountability in Experiential Learning Practices

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Sarah Wright of the University of Canterbury, Jeanie M. Forray of Western New England University, and Kathy Lund Dean of Gustavus Adolphus College. They recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “From advocacy to accountability in experiential learning practices,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly discuss the motivations for and challenges of this research:]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

The motivation for our research emerged from our observations of student reactions to mismanaged facilitation of experiential exercises in the classroom. We have witnessed our students have quite adverse reactions to classroom exercises that we were not prepared for, nor trained to manage. We started to look for ethical guidance and were surprised by the lack of information for educators on best practices for experiential educators. Unlike research where methods are vetted before data is collected, educators can employ any teaching method with students based on the understanding that educators are competent in that learning environment. We were also perplexed how business schools are increasingly advocating for experiential education, but don’t seem to be balancing this advocacy with training opportunities for educators. So our motivation was borne out of curiosity and concern for student welfare.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

A single event sparked this research paper. I was sitting in my office, when I became aware that a large number of students were congregating in the corridor looking for information. They were first year students on a scavenger hunt to find information about university procedures. I heard a student become audibly upset; she was concerned that she could not find “the right answers” and would be penalised on her course grade. Other students rallied around her to help and they went back to class. At the end of the scavenger hunt the faculty deemed the scavenger hunt a success, yet the students were never given the opportunity to debrief nor voice their concerns over the experience. At the time of the incident we (the 3 authors) discussed the ethics of having students do exercises/experiences and not being fully debriefed, which expanded into conversations about what types of experiences are low/high-risk and what level of competence do we need to facilitate these experiences.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

We were really surprised that this issue hasn’t been addressed before now. The layers of assumptions behind educator competence really surprises us each time we discuss our research – we are expected to be competent at experiential education when no formal system exists to vet our competence.

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Socioemotional Wealth, Family Control, and the Choice of Business Exit

We’re pleased to welcome authors Francesco Chirico of Jönköping University and Tecnológico de Monterrey, Luis R. Gómez-Mejia of Arizona State University, Karin Hellerstedt of Jönköping University, Michael Withers of Texas A&M University, and Mattias Nordqvist of Jönköping University. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management entitled “To Merge, Sell, or Liquidate? Socioemotional Wealth, Family Control, and the Choice of Business Exit,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly discuss the significance of this research.]


Our study provides evidence that family firms exit less than nonfamily firms and tend to endure increased financial distress to avoid losses in the affect-related value embedded in the family firm. Furthermore, when forced to exit, family firms prefer to do so via mergers, liquidation and sale (in that order) while nonfamily firms prefer to exit via sale, liquidation and mergers (in that order). We argue that these different exit behaviors are attributed to family owners’ desire to maintain some of the family legacy (as in mergers) while avoiding losses of family identity (as in a sale). Especially in distressed situations, considering business exit as a way to free up resources for the strategic regeneration of a firm is fundamental. Business exit, for instance in terms of a merger, should be viewed as a way to identify and evaluate new opportunities for owners. Firms—especially family firms—need to balance socioemotional and economic perspectives; otherwise, even when the need for exit is recognized, it may not occur.

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Read the Latest Issue of the Project Management Journal!

Read the first issue of the 50th volume of the Project Management Journal!

Project Management Journal® is the academic and research journal of the Project Management Institute® and features state-of-the-art research, techniques, theories, and applications in project management. The Project Management Journal®’s mission is to address the broad interests of the project management profession and maintain an editorial balance of content about research, technique, theory, and practice.

The newest issue features topics ranging from anti-corruption measures in construction to improving project budget estimations. Below are the abstracts of a few of these articles:

Contemporary Review of Anti-Corruption Measures in Construction Project Management

This study reviews the anti-corruption measures (ACMs) developed to mitigate the pervasiveness of corruption in construction project management (CPM). Using a two-stage methodological process to identify the relevant publications needed, 39 unique ACMs were identified in 38 selected publications. The leading ACMs identified are ethical codes, transparency mechanism, training, and development initiatives. A conceptual framework constituting six thematic constructs was developed to facilitate easy identification of ACMs and categorization of future developments of ACMs. They are regulatory, managerial, probing, compliance, promotional, and reactive measures. The findings contribute in-depth understanding of ACMs in CPM and are useful for further empirical research.

Organizational Justice, Project Performance, and the Mediating Effects of Key Success Factors

Projects are under constant pressure to improve performance, and research is needed to understand the characteristics of high-performing projects. Using the concept of organizational justice as a characteristic, we propose that the performance of projects in meeting success criteria is enhanced when there are procedures in place for the fair treatment of project team members; when resources are allocated fairly; and when the individuals interact in a way that is characterized by respect, propriety, and dignity. Structural equation analysis supports our proposition that the presence of organizational justice enhances project performance and valuable nuances in these relationships are discovered.

Improving Project Budget Estimation Accuracy and Precision by Analyzing Reserves for Both Identified and Unidentified Risks

Project risk is a critical factor in estimating project budget. Previous studies on this topic have only addressed estimation methods that consider project budget reserves against identified risks. As a result, project managers still face the challenge of completing projects within given budgets but without the relevant tools to deal with unidentified risks. This study proposes an approach for estimating reserves for both identified and unidentified risks separately. The study also suggests using the three-point estimation technique and R-value determination for estimating risk costs, which can improve budget accuracy and precision. The construction of residential building projects in South Korea demonstrates the advantages of the proposed approach compared with previous methods.

For more from the journal click here!

Writing as ‘skin’: Negotiating the body in(to) learning about the managed self

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Deborah N. Brewis of the University of Bath and Eley Williams of the University of London. They recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “Writing as skin: Negotiating the body in(to) learning about the managed self,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly describe the inspiration for this research:]

One makes a braille of our hide, and attempt to interpret its textures and scry it haptic mimicry and pantomime of feeling…

Eley and I met and became friends by chance four years ago at the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association conference as I overheard her talking about the town that I had recently moved to, and that she grew up in. Serendipity plays a large part in interdisciplinary collaborations, even when moments of connection are helped along by seeking out such spaces.

We were inspired to explore together how research writing can be challenged, stretched, and reshaped to do more; specifically to struggle with bringing the body into scholarly writing. I had been fascinated with ‘haptic visuality’ and the communication of embodiment in film (Marks 2000, Sobchak 2004). I had also read Eley’s creative writing and had been affected by its rich, sometimes overwhelming, exploration of relationality: her playfulness with words show the frustration and delight involved as we wrestle with language to communicate our inner worlds to others.

We started to explore the notion that writing could be skin-like: a negotiating surface that is inscribed on, scarred, by the world around it, but also expressive of an inner reality; resistant and fleshy. In the process of conducting and writing research, we are pulled in different directions that draw us away and toward our bodies: we seek to abstract concepts, norms and patterns from our data, and yet many of us also seek to communicate nuance, and contradictions within them that are often tied into deeply personal realities. As we talked and wrote and elicited feedback from others, the qualities of human skin, both physical and the meanings attached to it culturally and historically, provided a metaphor almost too rich for our purposes that we (suitably for a project on skin) needed to contain. So, we focused on three properties of skin as tools to facilitate thinking through how the text can be allowed to be more experiential, without being consumed by the body:

– Porosity: to explore ways in which the scientific academic text can be pierced at different moments to let experiences, sensations, and subjectivity permeate.

– Sense-ability: to craft the texture of the writing to communicate at both cognitive and embodied levels with the reader; eliciting physical response and memories.

– Palimpsest: to make visible the layers that form the text including the work of others, collaboration, and academic institutions and processes; but also our own half-thoughts.

We engaged in a critical-creative experiment by working together across disciplines and by including both art and research by others in discussing how skin has offered critique and insight. In another gift of serendipity, we received some evocative photographs from Anni Skilton at Medical Illustration at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, inspired by the piece and that now accompany it, enhancing what we call its ‘aeffectiveness’. In this piece, we wanted to show and not just describe how skin-writing can enrich research in management and organisation studies. We hope that others will find skinfulness useful in findings ways in which scholarly writing can stretch and touch and show its vulnerability.

Marks, L. U. (2000). The skin of the film: Intercultural cinema, embodiment, and the senses. Duke University Press.

Sobchack, V. (2004). Carnal thoughts: Embodiment and moving image culture. Univ of California Press.

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CEO Wrongdoing: A Review of Pressure, Opportunity, and Rationalization

[Authors Karen Schnatterly of the University of Missouri, K. Ashley Gangloff
of the University of Missouri, and Anja Tuschke of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München recently published an article in the Journal of Management entitled “CEO Wrongdoing: A Review of Pressure, Opportunity, and Rationalization.” The article will be free to read for a limited time. Check out their video abstract! ]

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Reconstructing Retirement as an Enterprising Endeavor

[We’re pleased to welcome authors, Rebecca Whiting of the University of London and Katrina Pritchard of Swansea University. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Reconstructing Retirement as an Enterprising Endeavor” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the motivation for this research:]


What motivated you to pursue this research?
As part of a larger project in which we have been examining a range of issues around age and work, we were keen to explore a particular label (the Weary) that we observed in our data (online media texts). Weary was an acronym standing for ‘Working Entrepreneurial and Active Retirees’. It appeared in an insurance company report and was said to refer to those too old to get paid jobs, too poor to retire and therefore needing to earn money through entrepreneurial activity.

The label was immediately intriguing to us because of the inherent tensions it represented. The acronym has negative connotations in a way that the full title arguably does not. Also the title juxtaposes two traditionally mutually exclusive identities: working and retired, and introduces a third, the potentially problematic neoliberal identity of entrepreneur.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

Recent years have seen significant changes in relation to age and ageing, in particular, with respect to work: legislation to ban age discrimination in the workplace, the increase in state pension age and the abolition of mandatory retirement. Collapsing interest rates and the closure of final salary pension schemes has meant that many people will lack a sufficient income on which to retire. This pension crisis – and the political drive to extend working lives – has meant that our societal understanding of retirement is being quite radically challenged. For many people retirement will not resemble the traditional idea of it as a time of leisure that marks the end of their working life.

Online news is an increasingly significant context for such key societal debates. Our approach was to analyse the media texts and associated reader comments that discussed the ‘Weary’ report to examine how retirement was being re-conceptualised as a period of entrepreneurial endeavour.

What did not make it into your published manuscript that you would like to share with us?

What we found in the media texts was ‘success’ in older age is no longer positioned as just about being healthy and active, people must be entrepreneurial. But this idea is undermined, even ridiculed by invoking weariness and the domestic context of the homely tasks envisaged for the Weary. In the reader comments, the term Weary and understandings of retirement were highly contested.

Originally we had planned to report on visual as well as textual analysis within our paper. However it was subsequently decided to exclude the images such as stock photos that appeared in the media texts. These are now part of a separate analytic project. Given the increasing use of the internet to consume news, we think it’s important that future research should utilise the multimodality of online news, for example, to examine how a concept such as retirement is constructed in both texts and images, particularly any differences between textual and visual constructions.

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Who Reviews Journal Editors?

Read the latest issue of the Journal of Management Education, featuring a fascinating editorial from editors Kathy Lund Dean and Jeanie M. Forray. The Editor’s Corner piece, “Reopening the Black Box of Editorship: Who Reviews Journal Editors?” addresses how editors come into their positions and what determines their behavior.

For more from the journal click here!

Interested in publishing in the journal? Listen to the latest podcast from “Rockin’ the Publication” for more insight on how to craft your manuscript. Submit here!