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Title: Transient, unsettling and creative space: Experiences of liminality through the accounts of Chinese students on a UK-based MBA
Authors: Simpson, R
Sturges, J
Weight, P
Keywords: Culture;Identity;International students;Learning;MBA
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Sage Publications
Citation: Management Learning, 41(1), 53 - 70, 2010
Abstract: This article explores the experiences of liminality through the accounts of Chinese students on a UK-based MBA programme. The transient nature of the MBA experience, as well as the international status of the Chinese student, is resonant with conceptualizations of liminality as ‘in between’ space. Based on semi-structured interviews with 20 MBA graduates who had subsequently returned to China with their qualification, we explored their perceptions of outcomes from the course and their experiences as international students on a programme imbued with western norms and values. Results support the unsettling yet creative implications of liminality, as well as the fragmented insecure nature of identities, as individuals pass through the MBA ‘rite of passage’ in terms of ‘becoming’ a manager and entering a new phase of career. Accounts suggest the creation of hierarchical structures within liminal space whereby Chinese students, through their positioning at the margin, have uncomfortable yet illuminating encounters with alterity. At the same time, they experience levels of ambiguity and uncertainty in the post-liminal phase of China-located employments, as new western-based managerial identities collide with dominant discourses of Chinese organization.
Description: This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published article is available from the link below. Copyright @ The Author(s) 2009.
ISSN: 1350-5076
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Research Papers

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