You are on page 1of 35

Chapter 6

Case Study Three: Management Education

Initial Considerations

Management education is a potentially vast and sprawling topic. Its

particular importance in the context of TVET lies in its pervasiveness. It
is a form of vocational education that some students choose to study at
school. Its provision is widespread in colleges. Even those approaching
retirement may sometimes receive it in the workplace. Between these
extremes of age, it is not uncommon for employees to be encouraged or
required to receive elements of management education. Such education
is often very much sought after, perhaps most particularly because many
persons, at a given moment in their lives, wish to advance from
performing a workplace role to managing others who are performing it.
Some initial clarification of terms will be found useful. First, this chapter
focuses upon management education that is, education that has manage-
ment skills of one sort or another as its primary content. It is not about
the management of educational institutions or systems, although to a sig-
nificant degree the book as a whole is. Second, the field of management is
one in which terminology comes and goes, and at the time of writing much
is made in some quarters of a distinction between management and leader-
ship. No doubt the separation of these two terms is a matter of
considerable theoretical and practical importance, but it is not of major
significance to the present argument. Hence, in what follows, the term
management education may be taken to include leadership education,
and also other possibilities such as entrepreneurship education. Any
necessary exemp- tions or exclusions will be noted along the way. Third, the
management skills of one sort or another referred to above take a very
wide variety of forms but are quite enduring in nature. Even though the
following list of ten principles of modern management is now more than 15
years old, it is probably still, for the most part at least, defensible though
the penultimate point on the list is questionable on both intellectual and
empirical grounds.
83 Case Study Three: Management 83

Ten Principles of Modern Management

Human organizations are complex systems

Organizations consist of both technical and social sub-systems
Organizations are open systems
The key resource of the modern business organization is knowledge
Managements key task is to secure the future survival of the
organiza- tion by means of appropriate and timely innovation
Management is the process of getting things done by other people
Management is a universal activity, but it does not take the same
form in all situations
There is no one best way to organize a business
Small is beautiful
Management is a process involving a mix of rational, logical
decision- making and problem-solving activities and intuitive,
judgemental activi- ties. (Sadler, 1993, pp. 912)

Finally, we should note that the distinction that we have maintained

throughout, between the different possible beneficiaries of TVET, has
special resonance in the case of management education. This is not so
much because the interests of the learner and her employer diverge
although they may but because management in all its forms is widely seen
as being very heavily implicated in almost everything that happens. It seems
that societys expectation of the practice of management is that it should
simultaneously be,

ruthlessly competitive, so that survival can be ensured in a

competitive, globalized world. This requires that free rein be
given to adventurous spirits within a culture of risk and reward.
compliant to local, national and international systems of
regulation that seek to manage risk, globalization and
socially and environmental responsible, so that rewards are shared
and costs are justly distributed.

Three specific sub-case studies are examined in this chapter. Taken

together, they illustrate possible educational responses to this eclectic
84 Case Study Three: Management 84

range of expectations. First, however, the chapter considers a number of

issues relevant to the pedagogy of management education.
85 Case Study Three: Management 85

Individual and Collective Learning in

Management Education

One intellectual tradition relating to individual learning that has

been particularly influential in management education is that associated
with the work of David Kolb (1984). Kolb uses the term experiential
learning to describes a process through which experience results in
reflection, conceptualization, action and experimentation in a cyclical or
spiral way. As the learner moves from one particular stage to the next a
given learning style is brought into play. These learning styles follow
the sequence,diverging, assimilating, converging and accommodating.
This approach has subsequently been developed in a variety of ways.
Perhaps the most significant of these for the present discussion relates to
the notion of reflec- tive practice, which continues to be a source of
inspiration in the literatures of both management and education. Recent
work by Hedberg (2009) begins from a consideration of Kolb and goes
on to offer a taxonomy of management reflection, which draws
attention to the different ways in which the notion of reflection has
been reconceptualized, within both the management and education
literatures. She then further distin- guishes three possible foci, and
three dimensions of reflective learning, as follows:

A subject reflective learning focus is primarily concerned with the

con- tent that is being addressed, and the theories, classificatory
systems and methods of application associated with it. In terms of
the classification of pedagogic processes identified in Chapter 4 of
this book, it is mostly concerned with information and
A personal reflective learning focus prioritizes the learner, and
seeks to develop self-awareness, self-improvement, personal
performance or self-critique. Pedagogical practice with this focus
concentrates on the intersection of established knowledge with the
learners personal circumstances, priorities and understandings.
It is therefore likely to be particularly valuable under conditions
where mediation is the appro- priate pedagogic form.
A critical reflective learning focus seeks to challenge accepted
ways of being, doing and thinking. It has been influential both
in education (Freire, 1971; Carr and Kemmis, 1986) and in
management (Dehler,
86 Case Study Three: Management 86

2009). Central to its intention is that, through carefully

considered actions, students should be prompted to question
social and political arrangements that normally remain
87 Case Study Three: Management 87

One dimension of reflective learning is the level of analysis at

which it takes place. For example, reflection might focus on the
actions and attri- butes of the individual, a group, an organization,
inter-organizational networks (Knight and Pye, 2005) or society as a
A second possible dimension is method of discovery. For
example, reflection may be individual and personal, collective and
collaborative or collective and confrontational. Learners can
learn on their own, learn by working together with others,
and/or learn by competing or challenging others.
The final dimension is timing. Reflection might occur while
action is being taken, or after it has been wholly or partly

As Hedbergs analysis shows, the tradition associated with Kolbs work tends
to lead to the perception that successful learning and teaching will be
associated with the selection of the most suitable pedagogical arrangements
by educators, coupled with the motivated participation of learners. In the
workplace, people are expected to adapt their ways of thinking and acting
in response to feedback. Training designed in conformance to this model
provides opportunities for such feedback to be received in a structured and
deliberate way. It is a model that continues to be popular in a wide variety
of forms. For example, universities are increasingly offering work-based
learning solutions for corporate bodies (Gustavs and Clegg, 2005) and, as
we have seen, the contemporary policy environment favours this. There
is also evidence of a growth of project-based learning in organizations
(Scarbrough et al., 2004).
However, Kolbian-derived approaches do not have the field of manage-
ment education pedagogy to themselves. As Cullingford and Crowther
(2005, pp. 334) observe,

In research on learning styles of pupils in schools . . . another tradition

prevails. This is the more ancient notion of learning styles as manifesta-
tions of different approaches and abilities in terms of subjects . . . and the
possibility of matching subject matter to the particular bent of individual

This alternative tradition derives from the work of Hudson (1968) on

frames of mind and, more recently, of Gardner (1993) on multiple
intelligences. In this view learning styles are a consequence of the psycho-
88 Case Study Three: Management 88

logical characteristics of the learner rather than the nature of the process
through which learning takes place. Learning styles might include, for
89 Case Study Three: Management 89

example: Visual-spatial; Bodily-kinesthetic; Musical; Interpersonal; Intra-

personal; Linguistic; and, Logicalmathematical. According to Coffield
et al. (2004) there is very little empirical evidence as to the effectiveness of
such formulations in pedagogic design. In expanding this critical view
Nixon et al. (2007) remark on the intuitive appeal of learning styles, and
also on its inherent attractiveness to policy-makers within a policy context,
in post-compulsory education, that increasingly promotes standardization,
monitoring, target-setting and a centrally-prescribed skills agenda. This
attractiveness derives, they argue, from the way in which the approach cre-
ates a fixed landscape (p. 46) of human potentialities in which planners
can operationally their designs. This is not, perhaps, so much conspiracy
theory as convenience theory. The idea that learners are distributed
across a finite set of psychologically-given dispositions is not intuitively
ridiculous, and provides a convenient justification for policy-makers
and managers who are predisposed to go about things in a particular way.
We should note also that approaches of this kind are also broadly compati-
ble with human capital theory. For example, Schwarz and Murphy (2008,
pp. 16970), in a paper that strongly advocates the place in management
education of human capital metrics or HCM, cite, in favour of this highly
quantitative technique, its contribution to the cause of those who wish to,

seek managerial decisions based on hard facts while avoiding . . .

dangerous half-truths and total nonsense that result from managers
relying on past experience, casual benchmarking, untested
commonsense notions, or solutions hyped by management consultants.

Schwarz and Murphys paper is original, careful and rigorous. There is

no intention here to suggest otherwise. Rather, it simply seems
appropriate to raise the possibility that the idea that hard facts actually
exist in any sys- tematic-enough way to capture fully the inter-relationships
between human beings, work, the concept of capital, and learning might
still prove, itself, to be an untested commonsense notion. What is
ultimately at stake here is whether human potentialities in the workplace
have an objective existence that can be extrinsically verified, or, rather, are
subjective and contingent upon unfolding circumstances. The answer is
probably both.
There is a huge literature in relation to these questions. It would not be
possible to properly review even a fraction of it here, and in any case to do
so would miss the main point, which is that there is deep-seated
contestation both about the pedagogical parameters of management
90 Case Study Three: Management 90

education, and about the best ways of responding to them. The two
approaches outlined
91 Case Study Three: Management 91

so far are certainly not mutually-exclusive, and there are taxonomies

that appear to include characteristics from both (see, for example,
DAndrea, 1999).
Similar considerations apply if we move our focus from learning by indi-
viduals to learning at a social level. The term collective learning is used
here as a blanket term to include any phenomena of this second kind.
There are many conceptualisations that might fit within it. These include
organizational learning, social learning and network learning, all of which
have extensive literatures. All of them propose that it is meaningful to talk
about learning by an entity consisting of, minimally, more than one indi-
vidual. This claim points to something that goes significantly beyond the
straightforward aggregation of individual learning that might be expected
to take place in any work-related team. Collective learning implies that
the organizational whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts,
in the sense of exhibiting properties that cannot be explained through its
reduction to its constituent elements. Further, the idea of collective learn-
ing seems to suggest that the whole is capable of exercising causal influence
over those constituent elements: that is, new understanding at the organi-
zational level leads to modifications in the thinking and behaviour of
individuals. This point was touched upon in Chapter 2, and will be further
developed later. At the general level it is philosophically controversial. It
is also absolutely crucial in determining the potentialities and limitations
of TVET.
For now it will suffice to say that, if such collective learning is indeed
possible, then the implications for a complex organization such as a
modern TVET or FE college are extensive. Such learning might be
expected to happen across a range of nested structures, such as
departments, centres, course teams, and workplaces. It might be
understood, promoted or resisted in a variety of ways, some informed by
learning theory and some not, and each having its own champions and
claims to credibility. However, compre- hension of the whole theoretical
canon would be a major undertaking for a full-time research academic,
and simply out of the question for anyone with an institution to run or a
series of classes to teach. Among the key ideas of collective learning likely to
be invoked in any particular setting are: com- munities of practice;
organisational learning; network learning; e-learning; mediated learning;
and, network design (e.g. Argyris and Schn, 1978,
1996; Lave and Wenger, 1991; Senge, 1992; Tidd, 1997; Tsang, 1997; Hayes
and Allison, 1998; Tagliaventi, 2006).
92 Case Study Three: Management 92

A further complication is that, as Laurillard (2002) points out,

individuals may acquire and carry away experiential knowledge which is
situated by
93 Case Study Three: Management 93

virtue of its development within a collective. It may, therefore be highly

contextualized. Outsiders may find it almost impossible to understand
(Brown and Duguid, 1998). Yet such understanding may be exactly what is
needed in, say, a cooperative work situation. Under such circumstances
it would seem that one element of any successful TVET project would be
continuous, creative facilitation so that knowledge generated in a variety of
collective settings can be shared across different work groups. A number
of theoretical devices exist for thinking about situations of this kind, and
some of them will be explored in more detail at a later stage. Some, such as
cultural-historical activity theory (Kerosuo and Engestrm, 2003), are well-
established bodies of knowledge with a literature rich in evidence, insight
and debate (for example, in relation to activity theory, Avis, 2007; Blackler
and Regan, 2009). Others, such as semiotic learning theory (Stables and
Gough, 2006), are more recent and developmental, at least as they bear on
education for the world of work.

The Work of UNESCO-UNEVOC in Management


The first of the three sub-cases discussed here concerns the work of
UNESCO-UNEVOC. The focus is on the organizations work to promote
corporate social responsibility (CSR) through TVET, but it should be
emphasized that this is not the only management-education-related activity
in which it engages. To give just one example of other work in the area,
training materials have been developed to assist in the teaching of
entrepre- neurship in Africa (UNEVOC, 2007). A workshop held in
Kampala, Uganda in 2006 brought together TVET educators from four
African countries to promote the use of these materials, focusing on such
skills as business planning, price-setting, market research, and financial
In relation to CSR, UNESCO hosted a meeting of international experts in
Bonn in October 2004 to discuss issues linking learning to work, citizenship
and sustainability. A series of follow-up meetings in 2005 and 2006 were
held in Thailand, Bahrain and Vietnam. These discussed the role of national
TVET systems in this regard. In May 2007 a group of UN-linked bodies
including UNEVOC took matters forward through an international consul-
tation process organized in collaboration with InWent. InWent, also known
as Capacity Building International, Germany, is a not-for-profit organization
committed to advancing human resource development worldwide through
94 Case Study Three: Management 94

training that seeks to develop both corporate competitiveness and sustain-

ability. Its Sustainable Business Development Department has six divisions,
95 Case Study Three: Management 95

five of which are focused as follows: technological cooperation, system

development and management in vocational education; modern media
and curriculum development in vocational education; business develop-
ment and infrastructure; sustainable technologies, industrial and urban
development; and, economic, environmental and social statistics. The sixth
is the organizations International Training Centre in Mannheim.
The May 2007 consultation had as its theme Education for Sustainable
Development: Engaging the Corporate Sector. Companies with a strong
CSR record were invited to attend and present case studies. A number of
recommendations resulted, and a further international experts meeting
took place in Bonn in November 2007 to develop a strategy for their imple-
mentation. Two priorities for this meeting of particular significance in the
present context were as follows:

The development of guidelines, briefing materials and

prototype capacity building programmes that could be used to
broaden the use of learning-based approaches to sustainable
development within and by the corporate sector, especially in
developing countries.
Establishment of learning networks within and across
countries to provide capacity-building for integrating the use of
learning-based approaches to sustainable development into core
business strategy.

The notion of learning networks and their possible significance

in management education is further discussed in the third case
study presented in this chapter.
This work on TVET and CSR continues on a number of
international fronts. It sheds particularly interesting light on the
different conceptions that can exist simultaneously, from both
managerial and educational perspectives, about the ways in which
management, and management education, can service broad social
First among the different management-based conceptions, there is a
view that socially responsible business is, quite simply, good business.
Therefore, sustainable development and other CSR-related content has
an unprob- lematic place in mainstream management education. This is
the position, for example, of the World Business Council for Sustainable
Development (WBCSD), a worldwide association, at a very senior level, of
approximately two hundred companies []. The Council
aims to develop and disseminate knowledge and best practice in
96 Case Study Three: Management 96

relation to sustainable development, working with governments, inter-

governmental organiza- tions, NGOs and national and regional bodies.
Perhaps the most famous
97 Case Study Three: Management 97

academic presentation of the general case that business and environmental

conservation are naturally compatible is that made by John Elkington
(1987) in his book The Green Capitalists, though much else has been
written since. Indeed, there is enough interest in both the environmental
and social dimensions of CSR to support at least one publishers entire
catalogue [].
At the opposite extreme, there are those who believe that the whole idea
of CSR is a piece of misconceived nonsense. Most famous among these
perhaps is Milton Friedman, who in a 1970 article in the New York Times
Magazine entitled A Friedman doctrine The Social Responsibility of
Business is to Increase its Profits argued that competing effectively in the
marketplace is the most, and only, socially-responsible course for businesses
to take. An example of this broad position relating to a more specific
and topical issue is that of climate scientist Patrick J. Michaels of the Cato
Institute think tank, who writes of climate change:

The stark reality is that if we really want to alter the warming trajectory of
the planet significantly, we have to cut emissions by an extremely large
amount, and a truth that everyone must know we simply do not have
the technology to do so. We would fritter away billions in precious
investment capital in a futile attempt to curtail warming. Consequently,
the best policy is to live with some modest climate change now and
encourage economic development, which will generate the capital
necessary for investment in the more efficient technologies of the future.
(Michaels, 2007, A8)

The point to notice about these arguments is that they are not merely
saying that CSR is pointless. They are saying that it is damaging although
Friedman does believe that it is justifiable to profess CSR if market
conditions are such as to make this a competitiveness-enhancing course of
action. The implication for management education would seem to be, not
so much that it should ignore CSR, but that it should promote active
cynicism towards it.
From an educational point of view, it is possible to argue that there is
value in encouraging management students to explore the tensions
between business activity and the achievement of the social and
environmental goals that CSR represents. Broadly speaking this can be
done from either,

a liberal perspective, pursuing rough and necessarily imperfect

compro- mises that respect competing interests and priorities; or,
98 Case Study Three: Management 98

a critical perspective that ultimately aims to subvert capitalistic

business and emancipate the learner.
99 Case Study Three: Management 99

Because of their essentially investigative pedogogic orientation, both liberal

and critical alternatives lie within a broadly Kolbian, reflection-oriented
pedagogic tradition. An early example of the (perhaps creative) tension
between them occurs in a response by Gough (1997) to a very influential
study by Greenall Gough and Robottom (1993). This original study took a
critical perspective. It involved an action-learning project with five coastal
schools in Australia, and involved three linked elements: a computer
conference between schools; the taking of scientific measurements across
local freshwater resources; and, collaborative engagement of students and
teachers with issues that arose during the project.
One such issue that did arise concerned the attitude of the local water
board. Concerns were raised by the project about the appropriateness of
its management priorities and actions, and this became a focus of
student learning. In his subsequent commentary on this work, Gough
(1997) noted that the water board at that time could have benefited, in its
own terms, from in-house management education that emphasized the
following issues in relation to its CSR position:

Compliance with environmental legislation and issues of liability

Quality assurance procedures
Management of customer sensitivities
Efficient resource management
Commercial opportunities arising from environmental legislation

At the same time, however, he also pointed out that educational

opportuni- ties were missed within the action-learning project, through
which students might have engaged with the day-to-day realities of
managing a public resource. Among the matters that might have been
considered in this way were: the opportunity costs of marginal
improvements in water quality; the social distribution of the costs and
benefits of amended water board policy; technical and managerial
constraints and opportunities; and, the charac- teristics of the regulatory
environment at that time and available responses to them.
It is perhaps not too much of a caricature to say that the original, critical,
study found evidence of practice that it considered inexcusable, and pre-
sented this as a justification for radical change. The subsequent, liberal,
commentary conceived this same practice as an unsurprising consequence
of a messy and complex set of interactions, and proposed an iterative
response through which those involved might come to understand each
other better.
100 Case Study Three: Management 100

These tensions have not been resolved in the intervening years. Dehler
(2009) provides an account of contemporary thinking in relation to what
he terms critical management education. Elsewhere, McFalls (2007) pro-
vides an interesting, cautious empirical account that makes it clear why
these critical ideas continue to attract support. In this work, she examines
the notion of inclusive capitalism, as developed by Prahalad (2004) and
Hart (2005), through a case study. Inclusive capitalism is a concept which
proposes that meeting the needs of the four billion people in the world
who live in poverty represents an unparalled business opportunity. Hence,
private sector corporations can both increase profits, and demonstrate
impeccable social responsibility, by servicing this new consumer group.
The terminology of the inclusive capitalism approach was extensively
referenced by the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) in relation to its
showcase Mogalakwena i-Community Project, and this provides the focus
of McFalls study.
The Mogalakwena HP i-community project was launched by Thabo
Mbeki and the then CEO of HP, Carly Fiorina in 2002 at the UN World
Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. It was designed as
a public-pri- vate partnership that would use information technology to
bring sustain- able economic and social benfits to a region of South Africa.
Despite this apparently promising prospectus, many unambiguously good
intentions and some successes, the project was gradually wound down
following the completion of its original three-year time frame. McFalls
(2007, p. 95) notes,

HP reverted to top-down implementation methods with an expectation

of quick returns, ultimately handing down social development responsi-
bilities to the local authorities. As a business model, the projects financial
sustainability was dependent on the sale of the social services to the state
(or other potential donors). Consequently, the responsibility for eco-
nomic and sustainable development is not transferred to private enter-
prise, but remains with the state.

The arguments of this book are for the most part oriented towards the
liberal, incremental approach to management education described above.
However, critical perspectives are not dismissed. These argue that liberal
educational approaches to management education are likely to be less
than fully satisfactory in terms of the achievement of broad social goals
such as CSR and they are quite correct to do so, as McFalls study seems to
101 Case Study Three: Management 101

The question, however, is whether the proposed alternatives are worse.

This is because a central difference between the liberal and critical
positions lies in their subtly different understandings of the nature of
human freedom. This important general point is one we shall return to in
Chapter 9. In the meantime we should note that the work of UNESCO-
UNEVOC continues to juxtapose a wide range of competing positions
(including that of critical theory) in precisely the manner that the liberal
case proposes. For example, a recent publication bearing the
organizations imprint (Fien et al., 2009a) contains the following passages
in successive chapters, both relating specifi- cally to the purposes and
practices of TVET:

People need to adjust to acquire skills that cannot be automated if they

wish to remain marketable and productive; else they will vanish together
with the traditional jobs they currently undertake. To survive, workers
need to create hyperjobs by identifying problems to be solved th their
hyper-human skills, such as discovery, creativity and influence. (Man-Gon
Park, 2009, p. 16)

The transition to a sustainable society will involve an historically unprec-

edented revolution in institutions, systems, lifestyles and values. Much of
Western culture has to be reversed in a few decades . . . all such changes
require a skilled and committed workforce that appreciates the impor-
tant roles it plays in either continuing business as usual without heed to
the future, or living and working in ways that advance the transition that
is required. (Fien et al., 2009b, p. 31)

Readers will note the strong individualism of the former quote, and the col-
lectivism of the latter. In the former individuals must accommodate them-
selves to the relentless march of market-based globalization. In the latter,
necessary changes by society require a collectively-conceived workforce
to possess particular characteristics.

Management Education for Post-16 Students in Borneo

No apology is made for including here a description of this work, which was
conducted between 1996 and 1998. Although clearly quite dated now, it has
been influential in the development of theory (Scott and Gough, 2003;
Gough and Scott; 2007). Further, many of the issues it addresses, in relation
102 Case Study Three: Management 102

to education, CSR and development, continue to be important. As noted

at the outset of this chapter, core problems of management also tend to
be enduring in nature. Finally, the project was strongly grounded in
the cultural theory account of competing rationalities that has already
been presented and discussed.
The processes and events described were presented to all those involved
at the time as being simultaneously a research project and a piece of cur-
riculum innovation. The work was carried out in Brunei, a small country in
northern Borneo. Brunei is heavily forested and oil- and gas-rich. It is a
Malay Islamic Sultanate, though it has a large minority population of ethnic
Chinese. The project involved up to eight teachers of the Cambridge A-
level programme Management of Business, and two cohorts of more
150 stu- dents, aged 1722. One cohort participated in two case-study
events, the other in only one. These events each lasted for one full week,
plus pre- and post-case activities. Two prior requirements of the project
were: first, that all activities should, without exception, promote the best
interests of partici- pating students (including through the enhancement
of their performance in final examinations); and, second, those activities
should also be consis- tent with the policy imperatives of the national
government. These unam- biguously required both rapid economic
development and the conservation of crucial aspects of the countrys social
and environmental heritage.
One case study focused on the notion of quality in business, and was
under- taken by both cohorts of students, in consecutive years. They were
asked to complete four activities, working collaboratively in groups of two,
three or four. These activities related to a fictional proposal by a
local/foreign joint venture company called Progressive Plastics to establish
an industrial plant for the manufacture of plasic bags at a prime location
close to where the Brunei River discharges into the South China Sea.
Though fictional, the pro- posal itself was in all respects realistic. Brunei is a
significant producer of oil and gas, and plastic bags are manufactured from
ethane gas, which is a waste product from that industry. In addition,
chemical industries at that time enjoyed a preferred status in the taxation
regime of central government.
The four tasks related directly to quality as it would be understood in real-
tion to the Progressive Plastics enterprise, but addressed this from four dif-
ferent perspectives. These were those of:

a local manager hired by the company to report to head office

on the in-country policy context, particularly with regard to CSR-
103 Case Study Three: Management 103

related issues. This would be the kind of position to which students

on the course might ultimately aspire.
104 Case Study Three: Management 104

a Ministry official responsible for the monitoring and regulation

of the new Progressive Plastics plant. Again, a senior position in
government service would be a very common ambition among
a member of the public responding to a debate in the local paper
about the possible implications of the plastics industry for quality
of life in the country. Students tended to have a strong sense of
civic pride and citi- zen-identity, and the national daily paper, the
Borneo Bulletin, regularly carried letters debating development-
related issues.
a scenario-writer for the multi-national joint venture partner in
Progressive Plastics. To work for such a company would be a
desirable and prestigious outcome for any student. Such a post did
in fact exist at this time in one major multi-national investor in
the country Shell. Its holder had addressed students in the
recent past.

To help them to complete these tasks, students were provided with a book-
let of current information relating to the problem. This included
technical, legal and theoretical information, government policy
documents and a selection of relevant material from the local press and
from magazines.
A second case study was undertaken with only one cohort of students. Its
focus was the design of an appropriate tourism development strategy for
the country. This was a particular priority for the national government at
the time, and the work attracted the support and participation of the very
senior government official who had precisely that responsibility in reality.
On this occasion students were again asked to work in small groups, and,
as before, one week of timetabled lessons, plus homework and pre- and
post-case study activities were available to them. They had only two tasks
to complete in this case. The first was to produce a five-year development
plan for the Brunei coastline. This time limit was consistent with actual
central government targets to transform the country into a regional
tourism hub. The second was the design of an appropriate marketing mix
for the countrys overall tourism product. Again, a range of information
was made available to the students and their teachers. Also as before, they
were encouraged to explore these tasks from a range of perspectives that
were likely to be of significance in their own working lives.
These three case studies together generated a very large quantity of data
in the form of documents written by students, interview transcripts, obser-
105 Case Study Three: Management 105

vational notes, and questionnaire responses by both students and teachers.

These were analysed using a two stage process. First, they were sorted into
loose networks, a process that revealed links in the thinking of students
and teachers between different ideas and concepts. Second, they were
106 Case Study Three: Management 106

re-presented to students in the form of a dilemma analysis that

highlighted apparent contradictions and tensions within the views and
ideas they had previously reported (Gough and Scott, 2000).
One surprising aspect of this work was the very extensive interest and sup-
port that it attracted among the local community. Not only were students
and teachers keen to participate, but so were local business figures,
officials of more than one government ministry and local educational
administrators. It seemed clear from anecdotal evidence that this
external interest arose from the way in which the students tasks juxtaposed
enthusiasm for change, development and growth on the one hand, with an
equal enthusiasm for sta- bility, tradition, heritage and conservation on the
other. That this was a major concern for students was demonstrated
conclusively through the dilemma analysis process. To give just a few of
many possible examples, very many students agreed strongly with both
statements in the each of the following pairs. Note that all statements
originated with the students themselves.

1. It is important that businesses are truthful.

2. Businesses may need to conceal information for competitive reasons.
1. Development can make life safer.
2. Development can lead to more crime and the black market.
1. Brunei must avoid following the West.
2. Brunei must catch up with the West.
1. Growth will improve the quality of life.
2. Growth will increase the cost of living.
1. Brunei will become wealthier.
2. More individuals will get into debt.
1. Urbanization destroys the landscape.
2. Urbanization can improve the landscape.

We might ask which is the more rational position here: to assume that one
or other statement in each pair must ultimately, or mostly, be correct?
Or, to see in the tension between them the real uncertainties that govern
the students lives and prospects? The claim made for this particular
project is that, in a small way, it assisted students and teachers in
understanding how their management knowledge could help them think
about ongoing, intractable issues of direct significance for their own lives.
In so doing, we should note, it avoided the stark dichotomy presented
above by the juxta- positioning of quotes from Man-Gon Park (2009) and
107 Case Study Three: Management 107

Fien et al. (2009b). Yes, individuals sometimes have to sink or swim by their
own efforts in a wild
108 Case Study Three: Management 108

and uncaring world. And, yes, individuals sometimes need to contribute,

selflessly and collaboratively, to collective welfare. As James and Thompson
(1989) and Schwarz and Thompson (1990) show, this is an enduring
human dilemma that will not go away. It is not something that we should,
or even can, settle once and for all.
By way of a footnote, it is interesting that these apparent contradictions
were illustrated in wider events at the time the project was underway. On
the one hand, economic development was producing enhanced life-
chances for the young students of management perhaps most particularly
for girls. At the same time, corrupt developers in neighbouring
Kalimantan (a part of Indonesia that shares the island of Borneo with
Brunei and East Malaysia) started fires that shrouded the college where the
students studied in thick yellow woodsmoke for three months, closing the
airport and, sadly, impact- ing on their health in ways that have probably not
yet played themselves out.

Online Workplace Learning for Health Sector

Procurement Officers

The UK National Health Service (NHS) is one of the largest employers in

Europe, with a total staff of 1.3 million people. Its expenditure is
correspond- ingly large at approximately 19 billion each year. This
spending covers an extremely wide range of goods and services, including
surgical equipment, buildings, food, energy, transport, garments, and
pharmaceuticals. It is very significant in maintaining the commercial
health of communities at the local and regional levels. Further, NHS
spending has significant social and environmental impacts along the
supply chain.
The organization has a special kind of responsibility for its own actions.
To the extent that these lead to positive or negative effects on health, they
have direct consequences for subsequent NHS provision. For example, if a
restructuring or rationalization of spending to cut costs leads to reduced
demand for the products of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the
local level, and if this then results in redundancies that lead to a rise in
stress-related illness, it is the NHS itself that must provide treatment.
Sustainable development is therefore an idea that is readily incorporated,
at least at a broad policy level, into NHS planning. A joint statement from
the Public Health Minister and the Permanent Secretary (Department of
Health, 2006), notes that,
109 Case Study Three: Management 109

A number of existing Department of Health policies contribute to

sustainable development; our health focus on communities (eg. action
110 Case Study Three: Management 110

on health inequalities), our health focus on the environment (eg.

encour- aging choice of good food, and enjoyment of an active lifestyle)
and our health focus on the economy (eg. recognising the link between
poverty and ill health).

The body responsible for enhancing procurement managers

competence in relation to sustainable development is the NHS
Purchasing and Supply Agency (PASA). During 200405 PASA
commissioned a research and devel- opment project to develop an
innovative and effective training approach to this task. An inter-
disciplinary team of practitioners and academics was formed to oversee
the project (Walker et al., 2009). The director of policy at PASA recruited
35 NHS supplies managers to participate in the project. At the same time,
an advisory committee was formed including representa- tion from PASA
itself, and from government departments with overlapping concerns in the
area of purchasing.
Training took place through two courses, each lasting approximately
eight weeks in total. These were separated by a period of one month to
allow for an evaluation of the first course to be completed. Both courses
were designed in the same way. They began with an intensive meeting of
participants lasting two days. This was followed by six weeks of facilitated
e-learning using the Blackboard virtual learning environment, during
which time participants were also expected to attend to their normal pro-
fessional duties. In the fourth of these six weeks, they were required to
report by means of a video conference to the PASAs Chief Executive.
Finally, a further, formal face-to-face meeting of all participants was held,
together with policy makers, PASA senior managers, and representatives of
the private, not-for-profit and public sectors. Participants presented the
outcomes of their learning as a basis for wider discussion of key issues.
During the six week period of engagement through the virtual learning
environment, participants collaborated in fixed teams of four to six people
called Aspect Groups. Each of these was allocated a particular key aspect
of health sector procurement and sustainable development to explore.
These aspects had been identified by PASAs Head of Policy, and were:
development of sustainable supply chains; sustainable innovation; sustain-
able food chains; and, social enterprise.
Evaluation of the courses focused on two main issues: the extent to which
participants understanding and skills had been enhanced; and, lessons for
course design. Regarding skills enhancement, participants did report that
there had been benefits. However, many of them also reported the
111 Case Study Three: Management 111

existence of barriers that were likely to prevent them from fully applying
their learning
112 Case Study Three: Management 112

in the workplace. In particular, it was noted that sustainable development,

as an example of a rather ill-defined objective with uncertain and long-term
payoffs, was likely often to be given a lower priority than more measurable,
short-term measures. Immediately after the completion of the courses
there were few who identified the costs of implementing sustainable
development policy as a barrier. However, when they were interviewed again
three months later, the number doing so had increased significantly.

Some participants were able to report examples of how they had put their
learning into practice. This had usually worked best in projects that were
small and manageable. For example, it had proved possible to rationalize
deliveries of medical consumable products to five hospitals in the city of
Birmingham through improved coordination of those involved. This
reduced journeys, fuel consumption, costs and pollution.
One important assumption underlying the course was confirmed
participants were not primarily interested in learning more about sustain-
able development. Rather, they simply wanted to be better at their jobs.
Sustainable development could sometimes provide an opportunity to
improve professional performance in this way, through skilful context-
specific action that satisfied not just a set of abstract criteria, but the real
concerns of those involved, including NHS finance officers, patients and
consultants. A particular strength of the courses from this point of view
was, therefore, the way they actively involved specialists from across
professional levels, including policy-makers, those making purchasing
decisions on the ground, and everyone between.
A number of lessons for course design also emerged. Most participants
felt the mix of personalities within groups was important, and had some-
thing to say, whether positive or negative, about the composition of their
own Aspect Group. It was not possible to arrive at a firm conclusion about
the extent to which participant activities should be pre-specified in detail.
Some said they had been unsure what was expected of them, others that
minimum structure was conducive to creativity and original thinking.
It might be added that, in any case, a degree of challenge, and even discom-
fort, is not always pedagogically inappropriate, particularly when working
with adult professionals for whom managed conflict is a normal feature of
the working environment. A further lesson that emerged clearly was the
need to take the pre-existing, contextually-grounded understandings of
participants seriously, and to characterize academic inputs as a contribution
to a process of shared learning, rather than a set of answers. Finally, it was
also clear that there is a need to keep online learning technologies for busy
professionals as technologically simple as possible.
113 Case Study Three: Management 113

Applying the Framework for Analysis

We noted earlier the requirements that variously exist for management to

be competitive, compliant to regulations, and responsible. These play out
rather differently in our three examples of UNEVOC work on management
and CSR, college-based management education in Borneo, and training
for serving procurement officers in the UK Health Service. Nevertheless,
the tensions between them are evident in all three cases.
UNEVOC is primarily focused on providing support to developing coun-
tries, and so its commitment to CSR needs to be seen in a context of
concern about the impacts of globalization on the poor. This is particularly
the case at the time of writing, as the global financial crisis threatens to
force even more people around the world into poverty. There is no
doubt that the intended beneficiaries of management education that
promotes CSR are, above all, those same poor people: but, as we have seen,
a dilemma remains. Is the priority to provide individuals with the means to
make themselves useful in the capitalist marketplace? Or is it, rather, to
serve some higher ideal that might someday supersede that marketplace?
Should, therefore, employers figure unconditionally among beneficiaries
of training? Or is such training properly and/or realistically a means of
prompting change to business practices from within? One can ask a
similar set of questions in relation to management education and the
nation state. Should poor countries emphasize a model of training that
promotes collaborative alter- natives to capitalism, and local alternatives to
participation in the globalized economy? Or should they accept the
evidence that entrepreneurial skill is the handmaiden of prosperity, and
seek to develop it among the most disadvantaged of society (Mahmood,
2009)? This may raise a further question, which is the balance to be
struck between conservation of the old and adoption of the new. For
example, no one in the development community doubts the value of
empowering women, and this is as it should be: but it would be foolish in
practical terms not to recognize that both men and women may
sometimes struggle to reconcile this empowerment with their traditional
roles. The example of college-based management education in Brunei
illustrates how economic activity generates a range of tensions between
the values of the past and those of the present. These may well not be
transparent to outsiders, and may raise feelings that run very deep. In
short, it may be difficult not only to identify the appropriate beneficiaries
for TVET, but, sometimes, to say whether a given outcome is a benefit or
114 Case Study Three: Management 114

One of the reasons for the ubiquitousness of management education

around the world is that it transmits a number of very specific skills that
prove to have wide transferability. Basic techniques of financial management,
the use of tools such as decision-tree or SWOT analyses, simple structures for
the iden- tification of marketing opportunities, skill in writing and
presenting a plan, and the rudiments of pricing can all go a very long
way in a persons life. However, because it concerns the conditions under
which economic produc- tion takes place, management education also places
wider issues of social orga- nization, freedom and justice in sharp relief, as
well as the tension between conservation and change. Hence we find, in
these examples, evidence of stu- dents engaged in learning designed to
contribute to everything from making a basic living through to honing high-
level professional skills. The question of whether business activity and
management are best seen as an opportunity for those who suffer the most
from poor social organization, oppression and injustice, or whether,
rather, they are the principle causes of that condition, has been a
recurring one in this chapter. Individualists, applying a what works?
criterion, will take the former view. Egalitarians, focusing on what is fair?,
will tend to favour the latter position. Both may seek to enlist those of an
hierarchical turn of mind to formulate rules that embody their own point of
view. It should be clear, at least, that the answer to these difficulties, if there
ultimately is one, cannot be either competition or collaboration at a national
or global scale. One way or another, any and every society is surely
character- ized by both. As long as this is so, the question of the ends that
management education should properly serve will continue to loom large.
Our examples also illustrate a wide range of possible modes of delivery.
The NHS PASA project revealed that online provision has both strengths
and limitations, but that may perhaps be, to some extent, a matter specific
to the context. Certainly there are high hopes for the efficacy of informa-
tion technology-based solutions, both in the delivery of management train-
ing and its entrepreneurial application. Focusing on a context very
different from that of the UK NHS, Mahmood (2009, p. 222) writes,

The potential of ICT is enormous. The introduction of alternative

economic activities that take advantage of technology to create more,
reach more and produce more will further strengthen the economic
outlook and reduce poverty. Some relevant steps are strengthening
e-commerce and establishing more infrastructures to support the women-
led development of e-community centres and can subsequently build new
learning structures and income sources for the youth in rural areas.
115 Case Study Three: Management 115

This is a commendable goal. The example of the Mogalakwena HP

i-community project points to some of the doubts and possible difficulties
that attend it.
Finally, it is clear that, in any particular case, the assessment and
evaluation of management education may be anything from professional
and formal to non-existent. Assessment is not always desirable, but, except
in the most informal of settings, an evaluation plan should always be
included at the planning stage. The NHS PASA case study is a strong
example of this, with the senior managers of particpants involved from the
outset. Enough has been said earlier in the chapter about the
importance of both context and pedagogy in management training, and
these matters will be further discussed, at a general level, in later chapters.

Management Education as Investment

In Chapter 1 we noted the indispensibility of theory. In Chapter 3 we dis-

cussed the distinction between realism and instruentalism in the philoso-
phy of science, and in particular the issue of whether the underlying
assumptions of a theory either could, or should, be tested. For all the cases
described in this chapter, theory is only useful to the extent that it informs
good and improving practice. So, for example, we might feel on instrumen-
talist grounds that if both process-based and psychological-profile-based
theories of learning styles can yield equally useful results, there is no need
for or at least no urgency about further investigation of the differences
between them.
However, if we think of TVET as a form of investment then it is, in social
scientific terms, a very long game indeed. This chapter has touched on
decisions about TVET that include,

whether young people should be encouraged through TVET to

challenge or embrace the kinds of entrepreneurialsm, and pursuit
of personal gain, that is associated with, for example, growth and
prosperity on the one hand, and inequality and environmental
degradation on the other
the balance to be struck between the exploitation and
conservation of forest resources in a small country
purchasing priorities in relation to the construction and
operation of hospitals that will have implications for peoples
health over many decades
116 Case Study Three: Management 116

For any of these, 40-to-50 years would seem a not-unreasonable minimum future period to consider.
In the natural sciences, although some things move very fast indeed, the underlying characteristics
and ordering of the universe do not usually change very quickly, if they change at all. In the social
sciences including, as was shown in Chapter 1, economics 50 years is a very long time. Aspects of
the social world that once seemed more or less permanent may disappear. Events and
institutions that once seemed centrally important in determining the course of events, later appear
to be mere consequences of longer-term trends, or even entirely irrelevant. By way of illustration, in
2002 the author was privileged to be invited to give a presentation at Moscow State University. The
building that houses this famous and distinguished institution is one of the great landmarks of the
city. Built as an architectural paean of praise to the Soviet Union, those who saw it completed must
have felt it embodied the permanent political state of their world. In 2002, how- ever, in disrepair and
with its fabric crumbling, it seemed, rather, a massive, tragic footnote to a period of unprecedented
state hubris. Now, in 2009, as power in the Russian Federation is once more consolidated in
the Kremlin, one might regard it as a landmark in the long-continuing, broadly unchanging Russian
affliation to authoritarian government in one form or another.
That TVET is a form of investment is a useful idea only if our thinking about it is built upon secure
foundations. We need to start from intellectual bedrock. The next chapter begins to attempt this, by
exploring the signifi- cance of the relationship between three of TVETs possible beneficiaries: the
individual learner; society as a whole; and, the many institutions, including employer organizations of
one sort or another, that occupy the space between them.