Volume 8, Issue 1     Editorial
The Search for Knowledge in Management Education A well-known joke says: "Education is learning what you didn't know you didn't know." This is just a joke we used in formative workshops to reflect about the meaning of management education. Results always emphasize two different things. First, most of the times we have not learned what we think we have, and second, the most obvious result of learning is knowledge’s acquisition. But, what kind of knowledge must we look for? In this first special issue about management education we would like to stress the importance of searching for not only-domain specific knowledge but also knowledge about the process of learning. Management education is not only education about management concepts. It is also education about anticipatory learning, about developing a systems thinking approach to problem solving, and about creative thinking. They are critical factors when dealing with a business world that is vague and uncertain. In the process of learning, teachers, consultants and lecturers must help the learners to develop a knowledge-base that allows them to respond efficiently when exposed to new situations and problems. The learning process has to promote the ability to solve novel problems that have not been seen before by either the learners or the teachers. This is what researchers call “anticipatory learning”. On the other hand, “systems thinking” is critical for addressing management problems. In recent organizational theory, organizations are seeing as open sociotechnical system with subsystems and interactions that are co-producers of management problems. For that reason, a systems thinking approach has to be used as a part of our way of teaching. Finally, in his book, Creating the corporate future: plan or be planned, Professor Ackoff (1981) states: “There are three ways of dealing with these or any other problems; they can be resolved, solved, or dissolved. To resolve a problem is to find a means that does well enough that satisfies. To solve a problem is to find a means that performs as well as possible that optimizes. To dissolve a problem is to redesign the relevant system or its environment so that the problem is removed.” (p. 248). Dissolution requires creative thinking. This special issue in management education provides a valuable reference, integrating perspectives from researchers and educators on knowledge acquisition and transfer. With many prominent professionals contributing to this work, this special issue in management education outlines a sound foundation of some outstanding methodologies and practices in the field. Advanced topics include experiential learning, building communities of practice, on line education, effective classroom management, active learning, system thinking, and critical thinking. Thanks are due to contributors and reviewers. The contents of this special issue were made possible because of the contributors and the generous cooperation and suggestions given by the reviewers, to whom we express our thanks. We are indebted to them for sharing their knowledge with us.
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Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain