Problem-posing in management classrooms for collective sustainability transformation

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International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
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Brunstein J.
Walvoord M.E.
Cunliff E.
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© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the possible benefits of approaching sustainability-related teaching cases from the perspective of problem-posing (PP) instead of problem-solving (PS). Design/methodology/approach: A document analysis methodology (Silverman, 2011) was used to analyze sustainability teaching case study abstracts and learning objectives from business databases. Cases were reviewed and classified as PP, PS or other. PP cases were further subclassified on one of three axes. Findings: Of 117 cases reviewed, most were PS (66%) with only 9% PP. Theoretical and pedagogical implications are discussed with recommendations for writing or converting, PS to PP cases for classroom use. Theoretical contributions include identification of three distinct and complementary views of PP, described in these axes: emancipatory; problematizing metaphors and premises; and rational, process and means-focused cases, not triggering transformative learning theory. Of 10 cases classified as PP cases, 3 were subclassified as emancipatory. Research limitations/implications: This research is limited to case study titles containing “sustainability” and analyses of their descriptions and learning objectives only. Next phases of the research will examine differences in student learning between PS and PP in situ. Practical implications: The research identifies a unique approach to the authoring and use of case studies that hold the potential for increasing students’ critical thinking capabilities and production of solutions to sustainability issues. Originality/value: There is limited research and analysis of the identification and implications of using PP pedagogy.
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