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  • 2015louwphd

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Institutional perspectives on the implementation of the United Nations principles for responsible management education in UK business schools

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Jonathan Louw
Publication date2015
Number of pages231
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis provides an account of an empirical study into the institutionalisation of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) in UK university business schools. 29 academics in 22 schools were engaged in dialogic interviews to address three questions: (1) What are the reported practices and strategies deployed by PRME advocates (institutional entrepreneurs) in their work to institutionalise PRME in their business schools (2) What are the dimensions of institutional logics within business school settings that hinder or promote the work of PRME institutional entrepreneurs and (3) How do PRME’s field level characteristics affect PRME outcomes at organisational level?
A context for PRME is presented, including recent critiques of alleged ethical failings in business education. Core constructs in neo-institutional and relevant other theoretical domains are outlined. The social constructionist, interpretivist basis of the research design and related methodologies are explained. Findings are presented in a way consistent with institutional theory; at individual entrepreneur, organisational and field levels. Conclusions include the proposition that PRME as currently enacted lacks the capacity to disrupt dominant institutional logics and enable sustained institutional change. Despite strategic, adept and emotionally demanding institutional work by PRME advocates, the power of current logics and weaknesses in PRME’s framing appear to mean that implementation is often partial or easily derailed.
Closing reflections include an evaluation of the research design and process. Contributions to future practice as well as to theory, particularly in relation to institutional logic complexity and an understanding of the affective dimensions of institutional work, are suggested.