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Flawed organizational purpose? Changing the narrative in management education and practice

Joan F. Marques (School of Business, Woodbury University, Burbank, California, USA)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 8 March 2019

Issue publication date: 20 September 2019



The purpose of this paper is to challenge current and future organizational managers toward engaging in a process of reflecting on the purpose of their performance and the purpose of the organization they serve and also to challenge management educators and coaches to reflect on the emphasis of their training of those who will step into management positions.


This paper reviews the current criticism on organizational management education and practice, and brings global inequality in the scope to underscore the importance of correcting a flawed system based on a flawed perspective.


It is critical to change the narrative the authors use for management in organizations from, “organizations exist to maximize the value of their shareholders, and the managers in those organizations need to ensure that this happens” to, “organizations exist to support the communities in which they operate, and managers in those organizations need to ensure that this happens.”

Practical implications

Organizational managers will focus on a more socially acceptable set of priorities when adopting the narrative promoted in this paper. Business educators will focus on more transdisciplinary approaches to help their students think beyond self-centered and sheer profit-based boundaries, and plant seeds toward constructive and morally sound social change early on.

Social implications

Communities will fare much better when the organizations in their areas will focus more on well-being of those who reside in the community rather than a handful of often absent shareholders.


This paper questions the core of organizational existence and managerial performance therein. It reaches beyond technological, operational, and tactical levels of performance and questions the grand strategy of organizational existence and performance.



Marques, J.F. (2019), "Flawed organizational purpose? Changing the narrative in management education and practice", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 24-26.



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