Measuring the complexity of students’ cognitive maps of corporate social responsibility

Preuss, Lutz, Fischer, Isabel and Luiz, John (2021) Measuring the complexity of students’ cognitive maps of corporate social responsibility. 81st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Virtual, 29 July - 4 August 2021. Published in: Academy of Management Proceedings. 2021 (1) Academy of Management ISSN 0065-0668

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Decision-makers in industry, government and NGOs have to deal with a multitude of tensions and uncertainties; not least, this applies in the context of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. Interdisciplinary thinking is recognised as an essential prerequisite for tackling such complex problems. Many business schools therefore pride themselves to be encouraging students’ interdisciplinary thinking. Using an undergraduate business degree capstone module, taught at a research-active university in South-East England, we analyse the interdisciplinary thinking of business students by measuring the structure of cognitive maps through with which these students synthesised their knowledge of CSR. We find a range of demographic differences, for example female students outperforming male students in the complexity of their maps. We also find a ‘lecturer effect’ associated with the amount of real-world experience of lecturers. Overall, however, our results point to a lack of students’ interdisciplinary thinking. Drawing on sensemaking literature, we examine how we can deepen students’ understanding of the complexities associated with CSR; not least, unpacking the importance of moving beyond scanning for information, towards interpreting and developing meaning, and finally responding on that basis.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Strategy and Marketing
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SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2021 07:12
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2021 13:12

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