Management learning and the corporate MBA: situated or individual?

Legge, Karen; Sullivan-Taylor, Bridgette and Wilson, David (2007). Management learning and the corporate MBA: situated or individual? Management Learning, 38(4) pp. 440–457.




The perceived failure of full-time MBAs to foster ‘situated learning’ has given rise to a new form of MBA programme, the Corporate MBA, which in theory, aims to correct this deficiency. The very rationale of CMBAs and their differentiating feature from open programme MBAs, is the development of situated learning. This article is based on an in-depth study of four CMBA programmes in three different types of business school: the university based, non-university based and the hybrid. Using qualitative data derived from 40 in-depth interviews and from open ended survey questions, we examine how the outcomes sought by individual participants, business schools and sponsoring organizations and the relationships that developed between these stakeholders either facilitate or hinder situated learning. The data indicate a lack of situated learning in two of the three cases studied. Explanations for the lack of learning focus primarily around the incompatible interests of participants, business schools and sponsoring organizations. Suggestions for future research are presented.

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