International learning groups: synergies and dysfunctions

Yiannis Gabriel, Dorothy S. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


Based on intensive fieldwork of a single cohort of MBA students at a high-profile university, this article examines how international groups of students work together in learning groups. In particular, the article identifies some of the factors that account for why some groups generate synergies for students, whereas others lapse into dysfunctional group relations. The importance of language difficulties, leadership, free-riders and the presence of `difficult individuals' are assessed. The authors conclude that the ability of learning groups in transcending cultural and other difficulties depends crucially on their ability to enable all their members to discover a voice that is both heard and respected within the group. When groups fail in this respect, intense voice anxieties lead to the questioning of the legitimacy of the educational programme as a whole, the participants, the knowledge being generated and even the institution
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-518
Number of pages16
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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