Management Education in Spain: An Exploratory Analysis

Article excerpt

This paper describes the results of an exploratory study of the current situation of management education in public and private institutions in Spain. It assesses the inputs, processes and results of the educational system and the environment in which the schools function. The inputs were analyzed in terms of faculty qualifications and teaching resources. The processes were assessed according to the pedagogical methods used, and the evaluation criteria used for faculty assessment. The results were evaluated in relation to the skills acquired by the students. Finally, the education environment was analyzed with respect to two characteristics: tendencies in Management education in Spain and the impediments that management professors face in their work.

1. Introduction

There is more interest today than ever in assessing the quality of education. According to theory and empirical studies, education is vital to economic development (Jonathan and Slengesol, 2000), so improving its quality is an essential task for all nations (UNESCO, 2000). This is a concern not only among developing countries, but also in countries like the United States, where education is a national priority (Alavi et al., 1997). Changes and innovations in higher education in the U.S. have generated abundant literature in the last decade (Norma, 1992; Alavi, 1995; Leidner and Jarvenpaa, 1993; and Schneiderman et al., 1995).

Consequently, the importance of management education for society raises a number of questions such as, "Who will train the corporate directors of the 21st century?", "How should we develop, train and educate the future managers of the 21st century now?", "What kinds of environments will they encounter and what challenges will they have to face?", and "What should we know in order to prepare them?". In-depth research and studies on different business settings are needed to answer these questions. We believe that the results from our exploratory analysis contribute to these answers, and provide useful data for evaluating and reflecting upon some of the variables associated with management education in a sample of Spanish universities.

2. Research Design and Implementation

Information for the data base of Spanish university professors was collected from electronic directories and some telephone canvassing. The target population consisted of individuals identified as professors of management by their home institutions. The rate of response from the sample of 55 institutions contacted for our study is summarized as follows: 80 % from public universities and 20 % from private institutions.

3. Research Results

3.1 Education and Qualifications

Most universities agree that their prestige as an institution depends on the quality of their faculty, consequently, it is common practice to rank institutions of higher learning according to the quality of their teaching staff (Morse, 1991).

Keeping this in mind, it is important to examine the kind of education and qualifications that management teachers have since the field itself has certain peculiarities. Unlike other disciplines where student competency can be achieved through the use of laboratories or technical equipment, management training depends chiefly on faculty knowledge and capabilities. Notably, only 54.54% of the sample had doctorates, which indicates that there is a void to fill in terms of teacher training. This finding is consistent with recent press statements regarding what issues should be addressed during the upcoming review of Spain's University Reform Law. Specifically, legislators are urged to consider making a doctoral degree a prerequisite for any teaching position at the university level (El Pais, 2000).

The results reveals that professors have little international experience, and that 56% of the sample have had no contact with educational practices or singularities in other countries. Given the fact that globalization directly influences management education as much as it does any other field of business, the lack of faculty intercultural experience is significant. …