Collaborative Competence: Redefining Management Education Through Social Construction


  • Douglas J. Gilbert DBA, JD

    1. University of the Rockies
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    • Douglas J. Gilbert, DBA, JD, currently serves as the Dean of the School of Organizational Leadership of the University of the Rockies. He is an international executive turned academic with extensive experience in management education. In addition to over a decade of executive experience in Europe and North America, his experience includes over 20 years of developing and teaching in executive management programs in France and the United States. He has earned a Doctor of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa, and an MBA from the IMD/University of Geneva, Switzerland. He is currently completing the PhD program at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. His major research areas include management education and management models for bottom-of-the-pyramid markets. He may be contacted at


The purpose of this article is to stimulate discussion and further research on the topic of a fundamental and wholesale change in management education across a variety of organizations. The proposed model for management education is focused on interpersonal relationships as core to all aspects of educating managers. The article's premise is that management education should evolve to a design based on management itself as a relational social practice. The emergent model developed in the article rests on a historical analysis of approaches that demonstrate a flawed focus on rationalistic concepts. A new model is grounded in collaborative competence, an approach to achieve results over and above the sum of individual contributions. Collaborative competence is designed based on social construction principles. The episodic criticisms of the value of management education demonstrate that the approaches to educating organizational managers remain lacking. Shifting the pivotal focus of management education from rational and technical notions to a focus on relationships first rooted in social construction provides an enabling framework for organizational performance. The change in focus also addresses the need to educate managers to act in more ethical and socially responsible ways.