Pedagogical Innovation and Paradigm Shift in the Introduction to Management Curriculum

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Elizabeth Christopher of Macquarie University, Joe Roberts of Webster University, and Oliver Laasch of the University of Nottingham, China. They recently published a paper in the Journal of Management Education entitled, “Pedagogical Innovation and Paradigm Shift in the Introduction to Management Curriculum,” which is free to read for a limited time. Below, Christopher and Roberts reflect on the motivation for pursuing this research:]

JME_72ppiRGB_powerpointWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

E- Identifying a need for improved introduction to management education, emerging from a complex global business environment of socio- economic challenges for managers.

J- Identifying innovative pedagogical approaches to teaching Intro to Management concepts across campus as interdisciplinary courses.

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

E- The 20th century was characterized by a resurgence of 19th-century concepts of management associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism that persists to this day. Managerialism is the organizational form of neo-liberalism that implicitly endorses the concept of educating managers to be market-led. Education along these lines is defined in terms of human capital acquisition, skilled for the economy.

If the principles of neoliberal, market led, introduction to management education are not examined, educators run the risk of overlooking contemporary demands for managerial social ethics and responsibility for the environment. This Special Issue is an attempt to respond to this challenge on behalf of university faculties and students and on behalf of curriculum designs.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

E- It is innovative in its recognition that contemporary western management thought, all too often, is based on outdated assumptions of what ‘good’ management should be, but that have become profoundly inadequate to address pressing challenges of managerial sustainability, responsibility and ethics.  The research reveals the extent of the need for new approaches to introduction to management courses. The JME is a widely read and highly regarded journal, therefore the research findings should have an impact on the field.

J- As the managerial function has become more entrepreneurial in nature the question of ethics has become extremely important and should be integrated with pedagogical approaches to teaching Intro to Management concepts.


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Discover the Hidden or Not-So-Hidden Implications of ‘Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Knowledge Management’ That Facilitate Management of ‘Organizational Change’

BMC coverChange is constant in a business environment. Survival of the fittest is all about adaptability to a changing environment and adjusting to new competitive realities, in short ‘agility’.

We live in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity world, which is an era of risk and instability. Globalization, new technologies, greater transparency and social responsibility have combined to increase the complexity of the business environment to give many CEOs a deep sense of unease. On the other hand, enterprising CEOs sense great opportunities in this uncertainty and change.

Industry competition has always been a fact of life, but in current business environment, the chasm between ‘relevance’ and ‘obsolescence’ threatens to grow wider every day. To avoid obsolescence, firms must be agile and be able to pre-empt the move embracing innovation. Global competition has become an entirely new game, with a more crowded playing field, with networked economies and a faster clock. In the past, executives could quickly size up their competitors and could anticipate their tactical moves. But now, firms in all sectors have to be on constant alert to face new technology-enabled challengers that are sprouting with surprising speed from unsuspected corners of the globe. Firms need to anticipate geopolitics, globally emerging trends and markets, and be proactive to these new demands with knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship. They also need to be equipped on ‘How to evolve a strategy for coping with unanticipated events, challenges and crises? How does leadership create a work-environment and work-life that not only survives a crisis but capitalizes on today’s frequent and disruptive accelerating changes?’

Knowledge is a strategic resource in knowledge-intensive world, its effective management by the organizations is critical for competitiveness. The culture of innovation which enables continuous pumping of new technologies would have a strong impact on firm’s competitiveness, working life and expected behaviour.

To read in detail about Change Management Drivers and its relationship with Entrepreneurship and Knowledge Management, subscribe to the recent issue from South Asian Journal of Business Management.

Click here to read Change Management Drivers: Entrepreneurship and Knowledge Management for free from South Asian Journal of Business Management.

Is Play the Future of Office Space?

Sage Interiors
8th August 2017[We’re pleased to welcome authors Anna Alexandersson and  Viktorija Kalonaityte of Linnaeus University. Alexandersson and Kalonaityte recently published an article in Organization Studies entitled “Playing to Dissent: The Aesthetics and Politics of Playful Office Design,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they speak about the inspiration for conducting this research:]

OSSWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

The idea that play at work is a way to tap into employee creativity and boost their motivation has been growing in popularity over the recent years, particularly within industries that prize fast-paced innovation. Playful office design appears to be an extension of this idea, characterized by colorful open-plan office architecture alluding to non-work spaces such as nature, personal homes, clubs, fairs and amusement parks. Typically, images of playful offices are displayed online by the companies themselves, and re-posted by various office design communities, making them widely available to many different audiences. But what exactly is it that makes these spaces playful? What kind of play do they encourage? And, more importantly, are there limits to play even in the context of playful office design? With these overarching questions guiding our inquiry, our paper builds on a study of playful office images that are some of the most shared online, as these images provide a persuasive visual representation on how play at work can be understood.

Our analysis suggests that playful office design removes many of the traditional boundaries of the working life. For example, it builds in leisurely and private spaces into the office, makes it difficult to discern organizational hierarchies, and promotes collective forms of play and creativity. However, these office spaces cannot resolve a fundamental tension between play and work: even in the most playful work life settings, play needs to be aligned with corporate goals, meanwhile, free creative play disrupts and transcends all social divisions, including those of based on profitability and utility.

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Office photo attributed to James Robinson. (CC)

Call for Papers: Management Teaching Review

MTR_cover.inddMake an impact on management teaching and submit to the Management Teaching Review!

Management Teaching Review (MTR) is currently seeking manuscript submissions. MTR is committed to serving the management education community by publishing short, topically-targeted, and immediately useful resources for teaching and learning practice. The published articles and interactive platform provide a rich, collaborative space for active learning resources that foster deep student engagement and instructor excellence.

For more details click here.

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to

You will need to create an account in order to submit your manuscript. The system will notify you once we receive the manuscript and have sent it out for review.

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Seeing and Sensing the Railways: A Phenomenological View on Practice-Based Learning

gleise-1066111_1920[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Thijs AH Willems of Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Dr. Willems recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “Seeing and sensing the railways: A phenomenological view on practice-based learning,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Willems reveals the inspiration for conducting this research and the impact it has on the field:]


What motivated you to pursue this research?

For my PhD research I conducted an ethnographic study on the Dutch railway system to understand how different railway organizations collaborate during various kinds of disruptions and incidents. The performance of the railway organizations is being watched closely by both the general public as well as by the government and public agencies. Large and unforeseen disruptions or a very unpunctual train service due to unexpected breakdowns or external influences are usually a topic of heated debates in the following days. During my research I found that many of the organizational attempts to deal with these unexpected events were aimed at providing rational explanations to legitimize the performance of the railways. So the structures, procedures and rules of many of the employees were made more rigid and their practices became more controlled by managers. While this did not strike me as particularly interesting in the beginning – as railway employees are responsible for offering a punctual and, most importantly, safe train journey to their customers – this kind of rational thinking and acting stood in stark contrast with the conversations I had with many train dispatchers. These professionals, who have often been dispatchers for several decennia, would explain their work much more in terms of their experience and that they would often ‘just feel’ what had to be done. This apparent discrepancy was the start of the study for this article.

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

Without a doubt, the greatest challenge for this particular aspect of my study was how to methodologically study ‘feel’ and ‘experience’. At the beginning I tried to translate the suggestions and examples of train dispatchers into the more widely used vocabulary of the railway organizations. But I soon realized that, in the process of doing so, I would actually reduce dispatching work to a set of predefined and so-called rational parameters, something which had motivated my research in the first place. So I had to find ways to take the ‘feeling’ and ‘experiencing’ of dispatchers more seriously, and I then became interested in a phenomenological approach to the study of dispatching practices and knowledge.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

I think my article will be valuable for scholars who are interested in knowing more about the role of the body and senses in the context of work practices. Moreover, I specifically focus on how such practices are learned and how the necessary knowledge to become a ‘good’ dispatcher is transferred not only through handbooks and procedures but also through the body and in practice. The field of organization studies has only just started exploring these issues and my phenomenological focus, I hope, extends this literature. I also think that the empirical richness of my study helps the field in understanding theoretical notions of embodiment and knowledge in more concrete and grounded ways.


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Talent Management in the Public Sector: How to Explain Different Approaches?

education-1580143_1920 (1)[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Marian Thunnissen of Fontys University of Applied Sciences. Dr. Thunnissen recently published an article in Public Personnel Management entitled “Talent Management in Public Sector Organizations: A Study on the Impact of Contextual Factors on the TM Approach in Flemish and Dutch Public Sector Organizations,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Thunnissen recounts how her research began and developed.]

PPM_C1 template_rev.inddDorien and I were each working on a study on talent management (TM) in the public sector. While we met each other several time at academic conferences we were intrigued by the differences in the TM approached adopted by the public sector organizations under study. What could explain that the public sector organizations in the Dutch study all aimed for an exclusive and performance oriented talent approach, while the Flemish governmental entities opted for an inclusive approach? This interesting phenomenon was for us the starting point to compare our data and to explore what characteristics of the external and internal context could explain the differences.

While analyzing the data we realized that using theory on institutional mechanisms was insufficient to explain what happened and we decided to include institutional logics in our conceptual model. The data indeed shows that multiple factors in the organizational context affect the intended TM strategy. Market pressures resulting from the external labor market (and the position as an employer on that market) and budgetary constraints, as well as institutional pressures have an effect as well. Moreover, we found that ‘attributes’ of the organization filter the institutional mechanism. In our study the composition of the workforce combined with internal economy measures can be an explanation for choosing a specific TM approach. But most of all organizational culture seems to be crucial (e.g., Stahl et al., 2012; Kontoghiorghes, 2016). Yet, we have seen that the influence of organizational culture cannot be separated from the logics adopted by the actors in the dominant coalition. Moreover, the research also indicates that the origins of the key employees – being public service works or classic professionals such as the academics – has an significant impact on organizational culture and the logics dominant in the organization (Greenwood et al, 2011; Thornton et al., 2005). This is an important theoretical contribution of the paper. The impact of belief systems has been mentioned by Meyers and Van Woerkom (2014) and Nijs et al. (2013) but not yet studied in empirical TM research. Nonetheless, the data points out that the mechanisms, actors and logics are entangled and not easy to separate.

All in all, the data supports our statement that TM is not an instrumental, rational and independent process. Although key actors in the dominant coalition take notice of the contextual factors, TM also proves to be an intuitive and micro-political process. Therefore, our comparison highlights the importance of an institutional and organizational fit, but in particular the significance of a consistent ‘talent mindset’ embedded in organizational culture and leadership style (also see Stahl et al., 2012; Kontoghiorghes, 2016). We think that it is necessary for HR and managers in practice to show consideration for the potential impact of ‘tangible’ mechanisms such as labor market pressures and economy measures, but also to be more aware of the influence of personal beliefs and logics regarding talent and how to deal with those mechanisms and logics in the decision process.

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Does Public Service Motivation Always Lead to Organizational Commitment?

[We’re pleased to welcome author Wisanupong Potipiroon of Prince of Songkla University. Potipiroon recently published a paper in Public Personnel Management entitled, “Does Public Service Motivation Always Lead to Organizational Commitment? Examining the Moderating Roles of Intrinsic Motivation and Ethical Leadership,” which is free to read for a limited time. Below, Potipiroon reflects on the motivation for pursuing this research:]

PPM_C1 template_rev.inddIt is widely accepted that individuals with high public service motivation (PSM) are more likely to join, feel emotionally attached to and remain in public service organizations. Although we concur with this prevailing notion, our observations and anecdotes from street-level bureaucrats indicate that this is not always the case. Although it is true that public organizations can provide considerable opportunities to employees to do good for others and to be useful to society, we know from experience that service-minded employees often end up working in jobs that do not allow them to put their motivation to use effectively. Indeed, not all jobs are created equal: Some can be less interesting or challenging than others. This may form part of the reasons why many talented workers may decide to leave public service in the first place.

Well, this is precisely what we found in our data which were drawn from a large public organization in Thailand. We found that the relationship between PSM and organizational commitment was dependent upon intrinsic motivation—the extent to which one finds enjoyment in the work even without rewards. When task enjoyment was high, we found that the effect of PSM on organizational commitment was positive. When task enjoyment was lacking, however, the effect of PSM became significantly negative. This indicates that low levels of intrinsic motivation could undermine the achievement of the opportunities inherent in meaningful public services.

Interestingly, we also learned that highly motivated individuals put a great deal of importance on the extent to which their leaders are ethical. In particular, the highest level of organizational commitment was observed when there were high levels of motivation and ethical leadership simultaneously. This suggests that ethical leaders play an instrumental role in fulfilling employees’ needs to act on their motivation. In the public sector, ethical leaders are those who place great emphasis on making an outward, societal impact and showing concern for the common good while also providing a supportive work context that allow employees’ motivation to flourish.

Our study findings underscore the fact that PSM may not offer infinite benefits in every type of settings because PSM effects will likely depend on the whole range of contextual factors including job characteristics and leadership styles. Indeed, public managers should be aware that highly motivated workers could develop a particularly unfavorable view of their organizations if their prosocial needs go unmet.

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