A friend of mine told me he as a guest lecturer recently taught students on topics in the area of information management. He felt the session was not as successful as he wished it was. He thought to explain this by the fact that he is used to talk to an academic audience interested in well-considered elucidations on the pros and cons of certain conceptual models that professionals use when executing their job. The previous class, however, wanted to hear what should be done in concrete terms; no confusing reservations, please.
Here, we touch on an issue that is particularly relevant to business and management education. Considering the turbulent times we are in today, students must learn to both absorb incessant flows of information and interpret them based on grounded concepts and theories. However, information can be incomplete and biased. Theories (at best) have the features of an on-going process of thinking and discovery. You cannot take them on board as an always reliable compass.
This together requires modes of thinking and mental flexibility which are helpful (they do not question only but also give support), intriguing (so that the student is triggered to know more about them) and manageable (they can be applied without being a genius). Voila, a true challenge to higher education.
Dr Teun Wolters