Inclusion and exclusion in professional management education and learning: A deliberative approach to conferences

King, Daniel; Griffin, Martyn and Bell, Emma (2022). Inclusion and exclusion in professional management education and learning: A deliberative approach to conferences. Academy of Management Learning and Education (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2020.0089

Abstract

Unconferences are non-hierarchical, participant driven, self-managed meeting formats which seek to avoid top-down hierarchical knowledge transmission found within traditional conferences. This articles explores how unconferencing, which aspires to the participatory ideals of Habermasian deliberative exchange, can contribute to inclusivity within conferences and Critical Management Education (CME) more generally. Informed by empirical data collected at four unconferences we explore how they encourage a move: i) from exclusion towards inclusion of individual voices; ii) from hierarchical towards horizontal group learning and iii) from passive disengagement towards a spirit of engagement and inclusion. Drawing on the deliberative feminist critique of the Habermasian foundations of CME, we highlight the implicit assumptions around inclusion within unconferencing at the individual, group and structural levels. We argue that by adopting these more explicitly inclusive practices management education can be opened up to a broader range of voices. In doing so the article demonstrates the potential of unconferences as a way of rethinking professional management education that challenges power-relations and can increase inclusivity.

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