Intense, vigorous, soft and fun: identity work and the international MBA

Intense, vigorous, soft and fun: identity work and the international MBA Purpose – A critical debate has been on‐going about the desired nature of international MBAs. One aspect of this debate, which has remained significantly underdeveloped, is the impact on students' identity of the way that MBAs are shaped and projected. This paper seeks to address this issue. Design/methodology/approach – Taking the decision to do an MBA as a point of high intensity identity work, artefacts that input to that decision are subjected to narrative analysis. A total of 140 MBA brochures from the USA and Europe were analysed. Findings – The findings lay out the dominant narrative style of the MBA identity as projected through brochures and associated publicity material. Research limitations/implications – Narrative analysis emphasises some potential findings whilst de‐emphasising others. Its strengths are to be able to incorporate a large amount of empirical material and to uncover underlying patterns within that material. Its limitations are that it is not as focused on micro detail in the way that, for example, conversation analysis is, and nor is it focused on macro generalisation in the way that discourse analysis can be. Practical implications – The analysis has implications for those involved in designing and promoting MBAs. Originality/value – The outcome is a conceptualisation of some of the consequences of the projected identity of international MBA students. This is intended to be a contribution to the debate on the nature of international management education and to also have application within the debate on the nature and processes of identity work. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png critical perspectives on international business Emerald Publishing

Intense, vigorous, soft and fun: identity work and the international MBA

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1742-2043
DOI
10.1108/17422040610644153
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – A critical debate has been on‐going about the desired nature of international MBAs. One aspect of this debate, which has remained significantly underdeveloped, is the impact on students' identity of the way that MBAs are shaped and projected. This paper seeks to address this issue. Design/methodology/approach – Taking the decision to do an MBA as a point of high intensity identity work, artefacts that input to that decision are subjected to narrative analysis. A total of 140 MBA brochures from the USA and Europe were analysed. Findings – The findings lay out the dominant narrative style of the MBA identity as projected through brochures and associated publicity material. Research limitations/implications – Narrative analysis emphasises some potential findings whilst de‐emphasising others. Its strengths are to be able to incorporate a large amount of empirical material and to uncover underlying patterns within that material. Its limitations are that it is not as focused on micro detail in the way that, for example, conversation analysis is, and nor is it focused on macro generalisation in the way that discourse analysis can be. Practical implications – The analysis has implications for those involved in designing and promoting MBAs. Originality/value – The outcome is a conceptualisation of some of the consequences of the projected identity of international MBA students. This is intended to be a contribution to the debate on the nature of international management education and to also have application within the debate on the nature and processes of identity work.

Journal

critical perspectives on international businessEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 2006

Keywords: Business studies; Master of business administration; Curricula; Business schools

References

  • Identity regulation as organizational control: producing the appropriate individual
    Alvesson, M.; Willmott, M.
  • Accounting for change: a discourse analysis of graduate trainees' talk of adjustment
    Coupland, C.
  • The interpretation of organization: a contemporary analysis and critique
    Jeffcutt, P.
  • A road less travelled: beyond managerialist, critical and processual approaches to total quality management
    Knights, D.; McCabe, D.
  • Dividing organizations and multiplying identities
    Parker, M.
  • Strength is ignorance; slavery is freedom: managing culture in modern organizations
    Willmott, H.

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