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Managerial learning challenges in a complex world

Abreu Pederzini, G. (2018) Managerial learning challenges in a complex world. Journal of Work-Applied Management, . pp. 1-14. ISSN 2205-2062. E-ISSN 2205-149X. (doi:10.1108/JWAM-04-2018-0009)

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https://doi.org/10.1108/JWAM-04-2018-0009

Abstract

Purpose – Managers’ work is surrounded by complex environments, from which they need to learn, in order

to understand them. However, complexity poses several challenges to managerial learning, for which usually

management educational programs have not prepared managers. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to explore

such challenges and possible ways to overcome them.

Design/methodology/approach – This is a conceptual paper that explores in depth the issue of

managerial learning challenges in a complex world. Managers face these challenges during their practice, yet

sometimes management education has not prepared them for this.

Findings – Three managerial learning challenges due to complexity are identified. First, through cognition

and cognitive structures, managers simplify the world around them. Nevertheless, biases, inertia and

inaccuracy emerge, as managers’ mental models are not truly capable of capturing complexity. Second,

managers look for information to aid them in their learning processes, but the information they gather is

sometimes bogus, invalid or unfounded. Third, managers could seek for support from management research

to improve their learning. However, given management research intricacies, limitations and particularities, a

learning challenge emerges as well, as management research has been rarely capable to capture complexity.

Originality/value – Having explored these managerial learning challenges due to complexity, this paper

discusses a carefulness-based management learning ideal, which by being underpinned by the quality of

carefulness and the related concepts of critical thinking, negative capability and a deep learning style,

suggests a potential new way to approach management learning in light of complexity.

Keywords Management education, Complexity, Cognition, Management practice, Managerial learning

Paper type Conceptual paper

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/JWAM-04-2018-0009
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Business School
Depositing User: Gerardo Abreu Pederzini
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2018 13:31 UTC
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2019 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/69315 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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