Avoiding the valley of death in educating strategists

Rafael Ramírez, Nicholas J. Rowland, Matthew J. Spaniol, Andrew White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Billions of dollars and hundreds of millions of hours are invested every year in executive education. However, much of this investment dies in a familiar “Valley of Death” (VoD) wherein what is learned in the classroom is not applied when the strategist returns back to work. Based on 30 in-depth interviews and live observation, we investigate the architecture of an executive education program designed to avoid the VoD. In the observed program, senior partners of a strategy consulting firm, and their key strategist clients, are brought together to co-learn strategy associated with scenario planning, and, at the same time, improve their ongoing business relations. We find that adopting a “paired learning structure” and utilizing “live case content” results in “group-level co-learning” (or the co-production of knowledge) that, participants report, avoids the VoD. This research contributes to the scholarship on learning architecture in executive education by establishing linkages to the literature on client-partner relationships, modelling the student, and service co-production in knowledge-intensive organizations, and, in the end, provides a blueprint that professional service firms and business schools, seeking to produce more value for their participants, can jointly emulate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102000
JournalLong Range Planning
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management

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