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Annual Meeting. Proceedings, Vol. Peter Ping Li; Donald L. Bornstein; Alan J. New York : Information Age Publishing , p. This dissociation is grounded in the historical evolution of higher education itself, with liberal education's domain broadening knowledge and thinking in contrast to professional studies, i. However, dissociation between the domains exacerbates the problems of business students' neither perceiving the value in general education courses nor demonstrating cohesive and connected learning outcomes.
Such curricular separation may thwart the ability of a student in business to become a liberally educated leader and manager. Using one small, traditional liberal arts college's experience as an example, ways of blending these domains, rather than bridging the phantom yet palpable chasm between, are discussed here. The benefits of constructing programs of study that effectively prepare the liberally educated business professional have been well recognized and discussed for over a century. In , Charles William Elliot, president of Harvard, commented that the object of a good education for business people would require development of "accuracy in observation, quickness and certainty in seizing upon the main points of a new subject, and discrimination in separating the trivial from the important in great masses of facts," and that "liberal education develops a sense of right, duty and honor.
The call for grounding the budding business professional in the liberal arts was again echoed during the mids when both the Carnegie Foundation Pierson, et al. Indicating that the business professional needs education in the basic disciplines rather than technical skills, these reports emphasized the importance of a business education grounded in the traditional basic disciplines of a liberal education.
Similar expectations from the professional business community continue to be expressed. Business education accrediting organizations have sought to ensure that students are provided the breadth of a liberal arts education. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business AACSB International , the largest and oldest accrediting organization for business education, has standards for the coverage of liberal arts learning outcomes Bobko and Tejeda point out, " Many business schools have adopted policies that begin to embrace a liberal arts, fundamental-knowledge based approach.
The presumption was that students should spend two full academic years focusing on liberal arts education to lay a foundation prior to study within the business major, which, it was assumed, would occur in the final two years. The apparently timeless call to produce liberally educated business graduates seems to suggest that the methods to address this call, indeed the documented need, have not been completely effective.
One point to consider is that, for the most part, business curricula have not "embedded" liberal arts into the student's program of study, but rather have isolated it, by separating it from the business education process. Interestingly, this may be, albeit unintentionally, exemplified by traditional business schools' expecting students to complete the majority of their general education prior to the third academic year; this was to ensure that students have demonstrably attained sufficient learning from their general education, for example, as represented by a minimum grade point average prior to admission into a school of business.
Thus, the need exists for a bridge or other construct to span the separation created by the aforementioned curricular structure. Building a bridge to connect the two domains assumes a separation that must be crossed by students. The result is a common attitude among professional students that liberal arts, or general education, classes are to be quickly checked off a list of graduation requirements.
Implied is that graduation requirements of English, foreign language, history, psychology, mathematics, et al. This "river of separation" between the domains must, from the student's perspective, reinforce the perception that liberal arts courses lack relevance to the "real world" or to future career pursuits. This disconnected curricular structure challenges educators with the task of enabling students to grasp the interconnections in their business education between concepts and skills from a rich array of liberal arts.
Students do not perceive a cohesive learning experience, and the curricular disconnect between the domains could be partly responsible. Educators have expressed concerns about the apparent inability of students to make connections, even within one program of study; certainly these concerns multiply as students are challenged to make connections between unrelated--disconnected--programs of study:. The fragmentation of the curriculum into a collection of independently "owned" courses is itself an impediment to student accomplishment, because the different courses students take.
Few maps exist to help students plan or integrate their learning as they move in and out of separately organized courses, programs, and campuses. Enabling students to make connections is a challenge not only in general education, but in business programs as well. In fact, the need to ensure that business students make meaningful connections across the functional disciplines in business marketing, management, finance, etc. Integrating functional knowledge from within a business curriculum is important, but it does not explicitly address integrating the learning outcomes from the liberal arts into the major.
The summative experience that is needed is one that integrates learning outcomes from the two domains Chew, McInnis-Bowers, et al. These culminating performances, which will vary with different fields of study, ought to provide evidence that students can integrate the many parts of their education. It is time to design curricular offerings that move beyond this traditional split between the domains of liberal arts and business education.
Blending the liberal arts with business curricula, rather than bridging, is a strategy for educators to explore that may produce business graduates who are truly liberally educated.
At the college, a favorable climate for a curricular change that intentionally blends liberal arts and business learning outcomes had developed. The business faculty were being challenged to create a general education course that would be included in the college's first-year experience. The timing of this new challenge was fortuitous: The business faculty had become increasingly dissatisfied with the way in which the introductory business course, "Survey of Business," with its rapid and cursory review of the functional business areas, was educating business majors about the relevance of business enterprises in society, ethical standards for business, and corporate social responsibility.
Concurrently, in a career that culminated in becoming chairman and CEO of a Fortune company, a member of the college's Board of Trustees who served on its Academic Affairs Committee had been inspired by the ideas of business philosopher Michael Novak. This trustee challenged the business faculty to find a way to integrate Novak's ideas into the business curriculum. The combination and timing of these factors led to the decision to create a new offering that would meet both business and liberal education learning objectives. As Rabuzzi notes, "Business and the humanities need to create strategic alliances," and college "trustees can be valuable sources of perspective for building courses with relevance.
An interdisciplinary team of faculty from the humanities, social sciences, and business identified the learning outcomes and a variety of literature that could be suitable for structuring business-related discussions. Some faculty favored using full texts of appropriate readings, while others favored excerpts.
Reading the entirety of a work "has the benefit of presenting a full treatment of the author's work and placing into context the specific materials being emphasized. It has the drawback that time does not permit the coverage of a wider range of materials" Boardman The search for a referent model and suitable materials revealed the syllabus for a course offered at the University of Utah that was similar to the course that the interdisciplinary development team was designing.
The professor who designed the course assembled a customized book of excerpted readings that included most of those suggested by the interdisciplinary faculty development team Boardman and Sandomir With its blending of the domains of business and liberal arts, it functions as a cornerstone experience to anchor students in the fundamental outcomes expected from study within the liberal arts to be demonstrated through their application to the study of business. These fundamental learning outcomes include: oral and written communication skills, critical thinking and analysis, breadth of perspective shaped from multiple points of view, understanding of one's own sense of values, ethical frames and perspectives, and the ability to understand time, place, and culture from a global perspective.
The syllabus states:. Using a variety of classic and contemporary literature, "Foundations of Business Thought" provides students the opportunity to explore their own and others' perceptions and opinions about business and the role individuals play in business organizations, whether corporate or entrepreneurial. The course reviews the evolution of thought on the organizational structure of business enterprises to gain a contextual framework for understanding how individuals contribute to accomplishing objectives of business organizations. In particular, the course considers objectives of business that include more than profitability, in other words, more than the "bottom line.
In addition to gaining a broad and enriched perspective of the purposes and objectives of business over time, the process of responding in writing and orally to thought-provoking discussion questions enables and ensures that the student dedicates the time it takes to hone both cognitive skills and communication skills; mandatory sessions with the division of humanities' writing tutorial service are required, to instill the value of continuous improvement of self expression.
Research papers profile a company and its competitors, present the current situation and operational context of the business, plus reflect the company's stance on corporate social responsibility, ethical conduct, core values, and vision and mission statements. With continuing emphasis on written communication, a significant portion of the student's grade is determined by the quality of written expression, grammar and syntax, appropriate referencing, and formatting. This exercise, supported by the college's reference librarians, gives the students experience in transforming data into knowledge, and emphasizes the importance of written expression for business.
The final section of "Foundations of Business Thought," entitled The Individual in Business, moves students into an exploration of themselves as individuals, their personalities, aspirations, and contemplation about their vocational "callings," as reflected in the course syllabus:. In addition to forming and articulating opinions about business, you will have the opportunity to explore and develop a deeper understanding of how your unique personality has expressed preferences for certain characteristics in work environments, leadership styles, communication styles, etc.
Students critically assess their personality characteristics to understand factors that drive their decision-making processes. Broadening the perspective of the definition of intelligence, leadership, and emotional intelligence Goleman provides complementary insights that coordinate with the information gleaned from the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory Myers-Briggs , Hirsh and Kummerow Thus, the blending of content and processes from psychology, the concepts of emotional intelligence, and an understanding of personal life planning, enriches students' personal development, enhances their understanding of the interplay of individuals in business organizations, and begins the identification of their "callings" in life.
Using the philosophical perspective of Business as a Calling Novak , students are able to reflect on their self-discovery and to begin envisioning their future callings. The learning outcomes include students' self-discovery in context with others. Continuing with self-exploration, students craft personal vision and mission statements and write on the topic of creation and disposition of personal wealth, much inspired by Andrew Carnegie's Gospel of Wealth.
Throughout the course, students analyze readings from the classics by philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle, and Confucius, to more recent works, including Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Students grapple with the challenge of analyzing and synthesizing perspectives from voices throughout time that have influenced cultural interpretations of the roles and purposes of business and of articulating their own examined, personal values.
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Effectively producing a genuinely liberally educated business professional is hampered by both the curricular structures that separate liberal arts from business education as well as from fragmented, disconnected, independent courses throughout the general education and business curricula.
These issues very likely reinforce the business student's perception that the course work in liberal arts lacks relevance to the business major, or indeed, to future career pursuits.
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The challenge, for both liberal arts and business colleagues, is to design learning experiences that blend one with the other. Creating specific courses within both the general education program and the business major, such as "Foundations of Business Thought," is another example of blending. Providing such courses in the early phase of a student's education can reinforce the value and benefits--indeed, necessity--of liberal arts education for business majors. In turn, the result could be an effective, liberally educated business professional, who, as Elliot envisioned, would have "accuracy in observation, quickness and certainty in seizing upon the main points of a new subject, and discrimination in separating the trivial from the important in great masses of facts," as well as "a sense of right, duty, and honor" Eliot Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Greater expectations: A new vision for learning as a nation goes to college. Eligibility procedures and standards for business accreditation. Boardman, Calvin and Allan Sandomir. Foundations of business thought, Fifth Edition. Indeed, one could argue that studying start-up companies from discrete environments serves little to highlight the postmodernist world by attempting to reduce complexity per se to discrete entities at the locale, bounded by artificial geographies.
Notwithstanding, given that this study is based on a small sample, it cannot be generalised. Second, with regard to context, the undertones of Swedish indifference as well as the dynamics of environmental interactions and entrepreneurial personality traits require further attention. That is, research is needed that conducts deeper empirical contextual and analytical examination to expound on the present discussion by providing a richer description of the contextual nuances. Third, another point of interest would be to investigate IT language in B2B markets as moderating the reliance on conventional linguistic forms.
Finally, the interaction between institutional theory and the resource-based view can be developed in entrepreneurship research. Specifically, regulatory aspects may be developed whereby entrepreneurial tendencies are the result of context-bound reward and compensation fiscal structures which promote—or hinder—innovation and growth.
That is, many studies explore language e. Kulkarni ; Brannen et al.
click Farny et al. This also involved feedback from two anonymous reviewers who helped outline useful concepts for the study. Note that these categorisations can also be negatively related, i. However, we are particularly grateful to the comments of two anonymous reviewers as well as Dr. Hamid Etemad on earlier versions of this paper.
The authors had varying roles in the production of this paper.
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The first author was responsible for data design, collection and initial analysis and solely responsible for secondary analysis and write-up from to The other authors were responsible for data design, collection and initial analysis in Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Open Access. First Online: 23 April Summary Highlights Contributions: This study contributes to international entrepreneurship literature by increasing understandings of the role of education and language the measureable components of culture for start-up continued success.
Language, education and entrepreneurship Language skills permit communication, dialogue and information exchange which affect trust, rapport and legitimacy in foreign markets. The companies were provided basic information regarding the nature of the study in order to stimulate interest.
Further, upon transcription, the interviewees were sent copies for respondent validation before analysis Bryman and Bell , ; Hartley Inter-rater reliability checks were secured through online and personal meetings, founding the bases of the discussion whereby relevant concepts and themes were drawn from the transcribed material via an illustrative case design Yin This served to guide the study and more general discussion along the research process. Table 1 Overview of start-up companies business and context scope. For the majority of the start-ups, language appears to be source of competitive advantage, yet a spectrum exists from necessity to indifference.
To this end, general level themes are drawn out from the assumption that multilingual start-up companies achieve more international success than bilingual or monolingual ones Table 2. Table 2 Summary of start-up operating languages and strategic orientation. This infers that inadequate communication is detrimental to business legitimacy. If communication is on a foundational level per se, it can compromise the corporate image of the start-up and effect business potential. From a Swedish perspective, language ability through multilingualism is considered to pose little problem, apart from more effort on the behalf of the Swedes.
Of course, these are subjective opinions from a selection of entrepreneurs and not sweeping cultural generalisations. Indeed, this may relate to the strong internal education systems as regulatory forces in Sweden where languages are incorporated from an early stage as products of the domestic institutional education system, i. Nevertheless, start-ups from other countries may perceive language assimilation and ability as extremely difficult, as their institutional environments focus on other skill sets or different language branches.
Appendix 1 provides an extensive summary and some empirical examples of the more nuanced themes drawn out from the interviews with regard to communication aspects and cultural awareness between the start-ups and their customers. These primary themes are overviewed in Table 3 below. They are related to the concepts of trust T , organisational rapport OR and legitimacy L , which were drawn out from the literature review and provide a detailed thematic analysis at the national level Fig.
To this end, the illustrative examples provide an understanding based on rich description of the role of context in the interpretation of communicative rapport as related to smooth business processes. Table 3 The main themes regarding business—customer rapport-building. Open image in new window.
One can only hazard a guess that these sources of—perhaps unfound—criticism from both sides are most probably the combined result of institutionalisation, that is, the result of shared—and sometimes conflicted—histories, as well as personal experience. Entrepreneurship does not appear to be an institutional movement given that the responses of our interviewees focus on the individual-level.
To this end, the patterns do not support the view that underlying educational and cultural systems are necessary prerequisites to become an entrepreneur Table 4. Such findings go some way towards better understanding if entrepreneurship can be taught and EO can be learnt. Table 4 Entrepreneurship as learnt. Company and context Can anyone become an entrepreneur? Outcome Company A, Finland Well not everybody, but of course you can be an entrepreneur if you are part of a team.
Company B, Finland In theory yes but not in practice. Company C, Finland No, only the ones who have the right mindset. No Company H, Sweden I would say yes today, but I have been more definite before that anyone can become an entrepreneur and then becoming less and less sure. Contributions This study contributes to the international entrepreneurship literature and has both academic and practical implications.
Limitations and future research Indeed, one could argue that studying start-up companies from discrete environments serves little to highlight the postmodernist world by attempting to reduce complexity per se to discrete entities at the locale, bounded by artificial geographies. This point was brought to our attention by an anonymous reviewer. As rightfully highlighted by an anonymous reviewer. Compliance with ethical standards Conflict of interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest to note. Andersen H, Rasmussen E The role of language skills in corporate communication.
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