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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 2E - Paper 1

Bringing Innovation to Management Education: Using the Inquiry-Based Learning Approach for Enhancing the Innovativeness of Management Students

Session slides

Dr Oguz Ali Acar - Cass Business School, City, University of London
Dr Aybars Tuncdogan - Cardiff University
Professor Dawn DeTienne - Colorado State University

The paper focuses on how to improve students’ innovativeness, which we argue is an essential employability skill.

The session will focus on a specific learning outcome, student innovativeness, that is acknowledged to be very important both in the management education literature as well as in the wider management literature, and propose a teaching method that can provide the means to reach this outcome. This discussion may help creating a greater awareness of this widely recognized pedagogical approach and in turn help better utilization of it in higher education. Finally, we will end this presenting by developing a brief research agenda, by means of which we hope to help invigorate the discussion on student innovativeness as well as the role of IBL as an antecedent of student innovativeness.

Innovation is critical for success, growth and survival of companies, and executives realize the need for continuous innovation to remain competitive in the rapidly changing and unpredictable business landscape of the 21st century (e.g., Crossan & Apaydin, 2010; Hauser, Tellis & Griffin, 2006). It is, therefore, not surprising to see that innovativeness became one of the most important employability skills for management graduates (CBI, 2009; WEF, 2016). In this paper, we focus on how management students could be better prepared for being innovative in the workplace and argue that an inquiry-based learning approach (IBL) (a pedagogical approach in which students follow the inquiry-based processes scientists engage in for constructing knowledge) can be an effective approach for this purpose. Drawing on research on social and cognitive processes of innovative behavior, we develop a conceptual model that links IBL and student innovativeness, and introduce two teacher-controlled moderators of this relationship: mode of inquiry and team-based learning. In particular, based on the prior literature on IBL (e.g., Healey, 2005; Levy and Petrulis, 2012; Spronken-Smith and Walker 2010), we identify four different modes of inquiry, and propose that an open and discovery-focused mode of inquiry has the greatest potential for enhancing innovative skills of management students. Moreover, we argue that the use of team-based learning in orchestration with inquiry-based learning (also known as a team-based inquiry) can amplify the positive effect on student innovation. We also consider a number of research directions towards a better understanding of how we can equip students to meet the innovation-related demands of the industry.


CBI. 2009. Future fit. Preparing graduates for the world of work. Retrieved from: http://www.bisa.ac.uk/files/Permanent Files/cbi_uuk_future_fit.pdf.

Crossan, M. M., & Apaydin, M. 2010. A multi-dimensional framework of organizational innovation: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Management Studies, 47(6), 1154-1191.

Hauser, J., Tellis, G. J., & Griffin, A. 2006. Research on innovation: A review and agenda for marketing science. Marketing Science, 25(6), 687-717.

Healey, M. 2005. Linking research and teaching: Exploring disciplinary spaces and the role of inquiry-based learning. In Reshaping the university: New relationships between research, scholarship and teaching, ed. R. Barnett, 67–78. Maidenhead, UK: McGraw Hill/Open University Press.

Levy, P., & Petrulis, R. 2012. How do first-year university students experience inquiry and research, and what are the implications for the practice of inquiry-based learning? Studies in Higher Education, 37(1): 85–101.

Spronken‐Smith, R., & Walker, R. 2010. Can inquiry‐based learning strengthen the links between teaching and disciplinary research? Studies in Higher Education, 35(6): 723–740.

WEF, 2016. The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Retrieved from: http://reports.weforum.org/ future-of-jobs-2016/