Cultural Pragmatists? Student Perspectives on Learning Culture at a Business School

June 2009
Academy of Management Learning & Education;Jun2009, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p174
Academic Journal
Based on research carried out at a major Scandinavian business school, I explore students' perceptions of the way that culture is taught in an international business degree. Students' uncertainty about how to tackle cultural analysis in their study tasks is discussed in the light of their confusion over the concept of culture itself, the theoretical models they are taught, and the lack of conceptual integration on the IB programs. The findings indicate that even a strong emphasis on culture taught within the framework of a highly integrated, interdisciplinary international business program, with a student population that ought in theory to be particularly receptive to cultural matters, is not enough in itself to guarantee that students engage with culture seriously during their studies. I recommend strengthening conceptual integration in IB programs by providing students with readings that explicitly address business activities from a cultural perspective to avoid a situation where they opt for cultural "short-cuts" in their assignments in the form of overly general, values-based descriptive approaches to culture.


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