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Philosophical assumptions undermining responsible management education

Mollie Painter-Morland (Department of Management, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham, UK)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to perform a philosophical interrogation of some assumptions that underpin management education. It offers an analysis of how these assumptions may influence the promotion the responsible management agenda within business schools.


This paper is a theoretical exploration based on a literature review and philosophical analysis.


The ontological and epistemological assumptions that underpin management education pose barriers to responsible management education. A combination of ontological and epistemological assumptions privilege an instrumental approach based on simplistic utilitarian premises. These assumptions make it difficult to engage with the long term, relational and complex nature of the ethics and sustainability concerns that are central to responsible management education.

Practical implications

Understanding the assumptions that underpin management education may assist in challenging the current paradigm and rethinking our approaches to responsible management.


The paper pursues the tacit assumptions that may underpin empirical findings around the blockages experienced when schools pursue responsible management education. It takes the research into the current state of business school education further by exploring what informs and sustains its current functioning.



Painter-Morland, M. (2015), "Philosophical assumptions undermining responsible management education", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 61-75.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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