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This article examines under what conditions business schools may decouple the structural effects of their engagement in responsible management education from actual organizational practices. We argue that schools may be unable to match rising institutional pressures to publicly commit to responsible management education with their limited internal capacity for change. Our analysis proposes that decoupling is likely if schools (a) are exposed to resource stringency, (b) face overt or covert resistance against change processes, (c) are confronted with competing institutional pressures, and (d) perceive institutional demands as ambiguous. We discuss two implications of this proposition. On one hand, decoupling can cause dissonant legitimacy perceptions, leading to cynicism around responsible management education within business schools. On the other hand, a temporary inconsistency between talk and action may help schools to articulate future ambitions for responsible management education, which, over time, could inspire recoupling effects.

Publication information

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Volume24
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)239-252
ISSN1056-4926
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

ID: 43802689