A Strategy for Business Education in a Changing World

A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Key Strategic Decisions in 25 Business Schools
  • Herman den Bosch
Part of the Advances in Business Education and Training book series (ABET, volume 1)


Business schools have to go through radical changes in order to educate competent leaders in a complex and dynamic world. This article argues six strategic choices that business schools might con-sider. These choices imply (1) dedicated degree programs for different target groups; (2) integrated knowledge of the economic, social and biophysical context of business processes; (3) anchoring of education in the future societal context where students will be employed; (4) focus at the development of creative, emphatic and analytical faculties within managers; (5) development of intercultural compe-tence and (6) contribution to community development by means of life long learning.

The implementation of each of these choices may take place at several levels. This article investigates the level of the choices made within 25 business schools. In all cases, schools foresee higher levels of implementation in the near future due to approved innovation plans. This applies most for decisions with regard to the content of the curriculum (dedicated programs, integrated knowledge, integration theory and practice) and less to the societal role of the school (personality of managers, intercultural competence and contribution to lifelong learning).

Key Words

Business education strategy decision-making policy 


  1. Babüroglu, O. N. & Emery, M. (2000). Educational Futures: Shifting Paradigm of Universities and Education. Istanbul: Sabanci University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Baets, W. (1998). Organizational Learning and Knowledge Technologies in a Dynamic Environment. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Barker, V. L., & Mueller, G. C. (2002). CEO characteristics and firm R and D spending. Management Science, 48(6), 782–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrows, H. S. & Tamblyn, R. M. (1980). Problem-based Learning: An Approach to Medical Education. New York: Springer Pub. Co.Google Scholar
  5. Bednar, A. K., Cunningham, D. J., Duffy, T. M., & Perry, J. D. (1992). Theory into practice: how do we link. In T.M. Duffy & D.H. Jonassen (Eds.), Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction: a Conservation (pp. 17–34). Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  6. Bennis, W. G. & O'Toole, J. (2005). How business schools lost their way. Harvard Business Review, 83, 196–204.Google Scholar
  7. Borgnakke, K. (1999). Group work and learning processes: Viewed practically and analytically. In H. H. J. Salling Olesen, J. (Ed.), Project Studies, Alate Modern University Reform? Roskilde: Roskilde University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Boyatzis, R. E., Cowen, S. S., & Kolb, D. A. (1995). Innovation in Professional Education: Steps on a Journey from Teaching to Learning: The Story of Change and Invention at the Weatherhead, School of Management (1st ed.)., San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. Brown, J. Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18, 32–42.Google Scholar
  10. Cabreta, Á., & Bowen, D. (2005). Professional global management for the twenty-first century. Journal of Management Development, 24(9), 791–806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. De Woot, P. (2005). Should Promotheus be Bound. Corporate Global Responsibility. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  12. Duffy, T. M. & Jonassen, D. H. (1992). Constructivism: new implications for instructional technology. In T. M. Duffy & D. H. Jonassen (Eds.), Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction: a Conservation (pp. 1–16). Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  13. Eraut, M. (2003). Transfer of knowledge between education and the workplace. In H. P. A.Boshuizen (Ed.) Expertise Development: the Transition Between School and Work (pp. 55–73). Heerlen: Open Universiteit Nederland.Google Scholar
  14. Ghoshal, S. (2005). Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(1), 75–91.Google Scholar
  15. Gibbons, M. (1994). The new production of knowledge.The Dynamics of Science in Contemporary Societies. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Gijselaers, W. & Wilkerson, L. (1996). Bringing Problem-based Learning to Higher Education: Theory and Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  17. Gijselaers, W., Arts, J., Boshuizen, E., & Segers, M. (2006). When Graduates Enter the Workplace: Trade-Offs Between Formal and Dynamic Knowledge. Unpublished manuscript, Maastricht.Google Scholar
  18. Grey, C. & Mitev, N. (2004). Management education; a polemic. In C. Grey & E. Antonacopoulou, (Eds.) Esential Readings in Management Learning (pp. 151–166). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  19. Hayes, R. H. & Abernathy, W. J. (1980). Managing our way to economic decline. Harvard Business Review (July–August), 67–77.Google Scholar
  20. Howe, I. S. & Martin, G. (1998). Internationalisation strategies for management education. Journal of Management Development, 17 (6), 447–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Khurana, R., Nohria, N., & Penrice, D. (2005). Management as a profession. In J. W. Lorsch, L. Berlowitz, & A. Zelleke (Eds.), Restoring Trust in American Business. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kjearsdam, F. & Enemark, S. (1994). The Aalborg Experiment. Project Innovation in University Education. Aalborg: Aalborg University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kostera, M. (1995). The modern crusade: when the missionaries of modern management come to eastern Europe. Management Learning, 26(3), 331–352.Google Scholar
  24. Laszlo, K. C. (2001). The Evolution of Business Learning, Innovation and Sustainability in ther 21th Century. Paper presented at the 45th Annual Conference of The International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), Asilomar, California.Google Scholar
  25. Lee, G. L. & Smith, C. (1992). Engeneers in Management,International Comparison. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Lorange, P. (2005). Strategy means choice: also for today's business school! Journal of Management Development, 24(9), 783–790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mintzberg, H. (1973). The Nature of Managerial Work. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  28. Mintzberg, H. (1979). The Structuring of Organization: A Synthesis of the Research. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  29. Mintzberg, H. (2004). Managers not MBA's; A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development. London: Financial Times Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  30. Nattrass, B. & Altomare, M. (1999). The Natural Step for Business. Wealth, Ecology, and the Evolutionary Corporation. Gabriola Island BC: British Columbia: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  31. Pfeffer, J. & Fong, C. T. (2002). The end of the business schools? Less success then meets the eye. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1(1), 78–95.Google Scholar
  32. Savery, J. R. & Duffy, T. M. (1996).Problem based learning: an instructional model and its constructivist framework. In B. Wilson (Ed.), Constructivist Learning Environments: Case Studies in Instructional Design (pp. 135–150). Euglewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Educational Technology Press.Google Scholar
  33. Shenton, G. (2002). The Designation of Master's Degree Titles in Management Education in Europe. Brussels: European Foundation of Management Development.Google Scholar
  34. Van den Bosch, H. M. J. & Kieft, M. (2001). The hybrid curriculum; the acquisition of academic competencies in the University curriculum. In W. Gijselaers (Ed.), Educational Innovation in Economics and Business Administration, Part VII, (pp. 41–56), Dordrecht: Kluwer, Academic Press.Google Scholar
  35. Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in Organizations. Thousand Oacks, Cal.: Sage publications.Google Scholar
  36. Welsh, A. & Lewis, M. (2004). Critical Pedagogy in the 'New Paradigm'. In C. Grey & E. Antonacopoulou (Eds.), Esential Readings in Management Learning, (pp. 167–186), London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herman den Bosch
    • 1
  1. 1.Open Universiteit NederlandHeerlenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations