Journal Article

Filling the pail or lighting a fire? The intellectual development of management students


This paper examines the intellectual development of undergraduates with reference to research undertaken with a cohort of undergraduates on entry to a business and management degree. Using Baxter Magolda’s Measure of Epistemological Reflection (1992; 2001), findings indicate that the majority of new students hold dualistic and absolute beliefs in which knowledge is seen as certain and a transmission approach to teaching valued. Statistical cross tabulations on age, gender, nationality and academic performance revealed two of significance, academic performance and nationality, and these are discussed along with the wider implications for learning, teaching and assessment. The paper concludes that intellectual development of students can be supported by appropriate assessment and learning activities, and that there are strong arguments for commencing an intentional process early in the unfrozen, transitional period of the first year of an undergraduate degree. Such a process may result in an uncomfortable student experience and therefore provoke negative student evaluation. Consequently, students need to understand the development process and reasoning behind adopted pedagogies, not only to militate against negative course evaluation and alleviate anxiety, but also to support their intellectual development. It takes time for substantive intellectual development to occur and a programme approach is a necessity.

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O'Donovan, Berry

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Business and Management


Year of publication: 2010
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-06-11

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


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