Management studies educational knowledge: Technical, elite or political?

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This paper draws on the technical, elite and political interpretations of the purpose of management, to identify demands for particular forms of educational knowledge in the management studies curriculum. The varied character of this knowledge is discussed using Bernsteinian concepts of verticality, grammaticality, classification and framing, and illustrations from a benchmark statement and MBA programme documentation. It is argued that the development of rational and technical knowledge for management education is confounded by the absence of a definable 'profession' of management, which could aid the specification of a body of abstract knowledge. Meanwhile, the promotion of weakly classified and framed forms of elite and political knowledge or 'knowing' in management programmes negates the potential for conceptual and contextual coherence in the curriculum, and suggests that the inclusion of forms of rational and technical knowledge may primarily support the consolidation of particular social formations and managerial identities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-396
Number of pages12
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number4
Early online date6 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014


  • curriculum
  • knowledge
  • management studies
  • MBA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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