Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 127, Issue 1, pp 177–188 | Cite as

Responsible Management: Engaging Moral Reflexive Practice Through Threshold Concepts



In this conceptual paper we argue that, to date, principles of responsible management have not impacted practice as anticipated because of a disconnect between knowledge and practice. This disconnect means that an awareness of ethical concerns, by itself, does not help students take personal responsibility for their actions. We suggest that an abstract knowledge of principles has to be supplemented by an engaged understanding of the responsibility of managers and leaders to actively challenge irresponsible practices. We argue that a form of moral reflexive practice drawing on an understanding of threshold concepts is central to responsible management, and provides a gateway to transformative learning. Our conceptual argument leads to implications for management and professional education.


Responsibility Reflexivity Threshold concepts 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementUniversity of St AndrewsFifeUK
  2. 2.Leeds University Business SchoolThe University of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.The Business Administration School of São Paulo at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV-EAESP)São PauloBrazil

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