MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    A Threshold Concept in Managing: What Students in Introductory Management Courses Must Know

    Donovan, Paul (2017) A Threshold Concept in Managing: What Students in Introductory Management Courses Must Know. Journal of Management Education, 41 (6). pp. 835-851. ISSN 1052-5629

    Download (86kB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    In the field of management, a practice–theory gap has developed and consequently, management education has been criticized for being irrelevant to the needs of stakeholders. This article argues that introduction to management courses in higher education perpetuate this gap by not teaching what managers do. These courses fail to communicate well the threshold concept of managing as accomplishing results through other people. Understanding this threshold concept would give students clearer perspectives on the distinction between doing work and managing work in organizations—between being “one of the team” and “managing the team.” Using a class exercise as exemplar, the author demonstrates the use of a set of debate questions in the form of contestable statements regarding doing and managing, which are argued by students in small groups in class before final resolution in a plenary session. Students emerge from these debating sessions with a clearer definition and understanding of the core work that managers actually do. Learners also become cognizant of the need for managers to have an appropriate balance between the amount of managing and doing work they engage in on a daily basis. Without these understandings students become “stuck” and their learning lacks posteducational relevance.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: management education; threshold concept; doing; managing work; introduction to management;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Business
    Item ID: 11314
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Paul Donovan
    Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2019 11:56
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Management Education
    Publisher: Sage Publications
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads