Implicit Mental Models in Teaching Cases: An Empirical Study of Popular MBA Cases in the United States and China
To identify the possible mismatch between what MBA students are supposed to learn and what they are actually exposed to in the case methods, we analyzed the manifest and latent meanings of popular MBA teaching cases in the United States and China. Our findings suggest that despite repeated calls for a more holistic approach to management education, overemphasis on the rational framework persists. We identify five patterns common to both U.S. and Chinese cases; namely, rationalistic framework, undersocialized protagonist, strategy-driven organization, manager-as-analyst, and naïve and biased politics. We also discuss the likely causes for the biases and propose possible ways to develop better-balanced teaching cases.
Academy of Management Learning and Education