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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

MBA at the cross road: Integrating Western management with Eastern philosophy

Lu, L and Li-Hua, Richard (2014) MBA at the cross road: Integrating Western management with Eastern philosophy. Journal of Management Development, 20 (3). ISSN 0262-1711

Item Type: Article


The purpose of this paper is to bridge the knowledge gap in designing MBA strategy between China and the West by examining the content, context and process of MBA delivery. This paper challenges the assumptions and pedagogical approach underpinning the current design and delivery of MBA programmes that were originally moulded with Western management history and development in the era of globalization. There is consensus that MBA was used to train business managers; however, nowadays, people are inclined to state that MBA is used to develop global business leaders or full-fledged global competitors. How can we develop global business leaders without a global vision when designing MBA strategy?

Based on extensive literature review and critical analyses through the strategic management approach, this paper examines the status quo of current MBA programmes in the West and in China. This paper presents a conceptual framework that draws on the current MBA literature and on-going debates around management education and development in the West and in China.

The designing strategy of MBA has been originally strongly influenced by Western ideology and ethos. Therefore, the difficulties of management knowledge transfer are often explained through culture acclimatization and emphasize has been on cultural divergence rather than convergence. With synthesis between Western and Eastern management identified, we argue that the appropriateness and effectiveness of the traditional philosophy of MBA designing strategy based on Western management history has been challenged in the 21st century. The perception has fuelled criticism of business schools in the post-recession. They have come under fire for allegedly failing in their obligations to educate socially responsible business leaders (Barker, 2010). This leads to rethinking of the philosophy and vision underpinning the MBA designing strategy. A new philosophical approach – integration of Western management with Eastern philosophy has been under scrutiny, which is necessary in business education to enable future business leaders to become full-fledged competitors in the global market.

The output of this discussion helps to establish a conceptual framework which will provide strategic insight in enabling business/management school and MBA providers to address the current deficiency in MBA teaching and learning strategy and develop more appropriate arrangement when considering the design and development of a successful MBA programme in the 21st century.

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More Information

Depositing User: Michelle Marshall


Item ID: 2872
Identification Number:
ISSN: 0262-1711
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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2012 12:58
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2020 15:25


Author: L Lu
Author: Richard Li-Hua

University Divisions

Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism > Sunderland Business School


Business and Management > Business

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