Problematizing Mainstream Graduate Management Education: Intersectional Critical Discourse Analysis of Harvard Business Publishing / Harvard Business School Cases
Date of Award
Campus Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Maureen A. Scully
Donna Haig Friedman
Global poverty and increasing income inequality leave many without basic necessities and human dignity. Organizations, particularly private businesses operating in an environment of global neoliberal capitalism, play a central role in maintaining conditions that keep some 15 percent of people in the United States living in poverty. What I label "mainstream global management education" (MGME) is a system of hundreds of business schools that train students to become the "future managers" in these organizations. This dissertation began with what seemed like a worthwhile but infrequent inquiry: What do aspiring managers learn about poverty and inequality in the context of MGME? To address that question, I turned to the predominant tool of business education: the case. Specifically, Harvard Business Publishing and Harvard Business School produce and distribute a collection of over 10,000 cases. My initial examination of these cases required adding feminist intertextual readings and employing critical discourse analysis. While these tools revealed much about the silences in the cases, they appeared inadequate for a fuller understanding of the lives, challenges, and agency of the workers who appeared - or disappeared - in these cases. Therefore, at the heart of this dissertation, I developed intersectional critical discourse analysis (iCDA) as method, methodology, and theory for probing the cases, seeing and honoring the lives they (mis)represent, and identifying the totalizing yet quietly assumed global neoliberal context in which the cases are situated. Using iCDA, I look anew at cases on "welfare to work" that I initially analyzed, and also take a fresh look at 21 cases on HIV/AIDS in Africa, work that is necessarily incomplete and ongoing. I close with my reflections on what is potentially emancipatory about this work, but also, more realistically, how my future work is highly constrained, particularly in this time of precarity in the U.S. academy.
Kweder, Michelle A., "Problematizing Mainstream Graduate Management Education: Intersectional Critical Discourse Analysis of Harvard Business Publishing / Harvard Business School Cases" (2015). Graduate Doctoral Dissertations. 225.
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