Experiential learning: inspiring the business leaders of tomorrow

Denise Baden, Carole Parkes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The complex challenges of sustainable development and the need to embed these issues effectively into the education of future business leaders has never been more urgent. The purpose of this paper is to discuss different approaches taken by two UK signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). Design/methodology/approach: The two approaches examined are: MSc Entrepreneurship students opting for placements with social enterprises; and MBA students undertaking workshops using "live" case studies. A content analysis of the experiences of students from their written reflective narratives is presented. This is supplemented by reflections of the facilitators and tutors. Findings: The analysis reveals that the opportunity to work with social entrepreneurs and/or "responsible" business professionals provides the business students with inspirational role models and positive social learning opportunities. Research limitations/implications: This paper suggests that experiential learning is an effective way of integrating ethics, responsibility and sustainability into the curriculum but the research draws on the experience of two schools. Further research is important to explore these findings in other contexts. Practical implications: The authors argue that direct exposure to a business culture (and/or behaviour) that is predicated upon ethical/social responsibility and sustainability is an effective means to embed these values in the curriculum. Originality/value: This paper contributes by drawing on social psychological research related to behaviour change to examine how experiential learning on traditional Business Masters programmes can provide students with the knowledge, motivation and skills to contribute positively to society, in a way that more traditional pedagogies cannot.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-308
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Management Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • curricula
  • experiential learning
  • learning
  • masters degrees
  • principles of responsible Management Education
  • service
  • social enterprise
  • social psychology
  • universities


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