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MBA Courses Need the ‘Feminine’ Touch


Researchers from Brunel University’s Business School are calling to ‘feminise’ the MBA by incorporating softer skills into the curriculum.

Condemning the current structure as largely ‘masculine’ Brunel argue that ‘harder’, analytical skills are prioritised to the detriment of more ‘feminine’ skills relating to personal and interpersonal development.

In particular, they have identified listening, trust building skills and adaptability as critical to the successful manager but aspects that are often neglected in terms of course content.

Brunel say the current MBA culture is out of touch with modern workforces. For many women, it says, the MBA is a way of breaking through the ‘glass ceiling’. One woman, it quotes, referring to her male co-students reinterpreted MBA as ‘Mighty Big Attitude’ as a way of conveying the aggressive and overconfident attitudes in her class.

Ruth Simpson of Brunel University's Business School said: "In today's diverse workplace, the 'hard' skills, which have served managers well in the past, must be added to a greater focus on 'softer', perhaps more feminine skills.

"Giving more time and space to critical reflection of individual and team practices could enhance personal and interpersonal skills in a work environment. Some programmes are moving in this direction, but there is still a need to adapt courses across the board to address the modern, increasingly female, environment."


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