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Paradigms in Responsible Management Learning and Education Research

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Cristina NeeshamORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by SAGE Publications, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


In this chapter, we take the view that responsible management learning and education (RMLE) is not reducible to teaching the sustainability, responsibility and ethics (SRE) curriculum (Laasch & Moosmayer, 2015) in management programmes. It involves teaching management, in all its forms, in ways that embed principles of business ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability in how the content is presented, problematized, debriefed and assessed. It means adopting and applying particular assumptions about the SRE of management practices in the teaching and learning of management, both as a practice and as an academic discipline.We can discern research in RMLE as an area of inquiry with a distinct history comprising two stages: A fragmented stage, characterized by iterative but irregular feedback relations between SRE research, on one hand, and critical management education (CME) research, on the other hand, leading, in time, to closer dialogue and mutual acknowledgment of common purpose; andA catalyzing stage, marked by the United Nations’ introduction of the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) in 2007, and spurring a consistent stream of RMLE research that promotes responsible management beyond units dedicated to the SRE nexus, and using a shared language and discourse that is now well established. Within this stage, which includes the state-of-the-art RMLE research literature, we further distinguish two research methodology streams that build on, and feed off, each other: one that supports the philosophical assumptions of the PRME manifesto, and one that challenges these assumptions with a view to improve RMLE practices and to generate new, more radical-emancipatory social movements. Both contribute to developing the RMLE research field to maturity. This chapter follows the past–present–future logic and structure promoted throughout the Handbook, and summarizes the evolution of RMLE literature through the prism of research paradigms. This prompts us to also reflect on the scope and limits of using paradigms as analytical-organizing instruments in a historical account of the field. In doing so, we explain the role of paradigmatic thinking in research design; document the main paradigms that have influenced RMLE research to date; and suggest future directions in RMLE research methodology, including an alternative solution to the use of (single and multiple) paradigms and paradigmatic thinking.

Publication metadata

Author(s): St John J, Neesham C

Editor(s): Moosmayer, DC; Laasch, O; Parkes, C; Brown, KG

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: The SAGE Handbook of Responsible Management Learning and Education

Year: 2020

Pages: 502-521

Print publication date: 10/08/2020

Online publication date: 10/08/2020

Acceptance date: 01/05/2020

Number of Volumes: 1

Publisher: SAGE Publications

Place Published: London


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781526460707