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Meanings of management in the post-socialist higher education: the case of Lithuania

Irma Rybnikova (Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Science, Hamm, Germany)
Rainhart Lang (Department of Economics and Business Administration, Chemnitz Univerity of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany)

Baltic Journal of Management

ISSN: 1746-5265

Article publication date: 6 May 2022

Issue publication date: 30 June 2022




The study examines prevailing understandings and meanings of management represented in Lithuanian higher management education as a selected East European post-socialist country. While concentrating on the notion of management as an institution, the study draws upon the concept of “travel of ideas” by Czarniawska (2008). The study aims at analysing what reasons led to the development of specific management meanings in Lithuanian higher education by considering local historical and socio-political processes of transformation.


The empirical analysis is based on a qualitative content analysis of 23 relevant textbooks on general management in Lithuania, written by local authors.


The results show that the reception and translation of management concepts in Lithuania is mainly focused on rationalistic Anglo-Saxon concepts. Dominating meanings are informed by Taylorism, with alternative or critical management approaches remaining absent. The study additionally reveals the effect of “imprinting”, referring to the fact that local management pioneers have a considerable and sustainable impact on how and which management models and theories are adopted in management education.

Research limitations/implications

Since the analysis is limited to local textbooks in higher education of only one post-socialist country, there is a need for further research, especially for the inclusion of the remaining Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Additionally, other factors that may influence management meanings in higher education in post-socialist countries need to be considered by analysing translated books, management programmes or guest lecturers from other countries.

Practical implications

One of the central implications of the research into management in higher education is the call for a stronger inclusion of management ideas that go beyond Taylorist approaches. These could be team-based management or participative management, as these potentially better align with work-oriented expectations by prospective, especially young, employees.


The study shows the relevance of historic roots regarding managerial thought. The study identifies an “imprinting” by local pioneers in the field of management that establishes initial and enduring meanings of management in a considered country. The mechanism of “imprinting” serves as a selective filter and indicates a local general receptivity towards certain ideas and could, thus, enable or impede travelling of ideas. In the case of Lithuanian higher management education, the study shows that “imprinting” has led to a narrow meaning of management with a higher receptivity towards concepts and approaches that align with Taylor's scientific management theory.



Rybnikova, I. and Lang, R. (2022), "Meanings of management in the post-socialist higher education: the case of Lithuania", Baltic Journal of Management, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 447-466.



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