Spring 2004     ISSN 1096-1453     Volume 8, Issue 1     Editorial
The Search for Knowledge in Management Education 
A well-known joke says: "Education is learning what you didn't know you didn't know." 
This is just a joke we used in formative workshops to reflect about the meaning of 
management education. Results always emphasize two different things. First, most of 
the times we have not learned what we think we have, and second, the most obvious 
result of learning is knowledge’s acquisition. But, what kind of knowledge must we 
look for? In this first special issue about management education we would like to 
stress the importance of searching for not only-domain specific knowledge but also 
knowledge about the process of learning. Management education is not only education 
about management concepts. It is also education about anticipatory learning, about 
developing a systems thinking approach to problem solving, and about creative 
thinking. They are critical factors when dealing with a business world that is vague 
and uncertain. 

In the process of learning, teachers, consultants and lecturers must help the learners 
to develop a knowledge-base that allows them to respond efficiently when exposed to 
new situations and problems. The learning process has to promote the ability to solve 
novel problems that have not been seen before by either the learners or the teachers. 
This is what researchers call “anticipatory learning”.

On the other hand, “systems thinking” is critical for addressing management problems. 
In recent organizational theory, organizations are seeing as open sociotechnical 
system with subsystems and interactions that are co-producers of management problems. 
For that reason, a systems thinking approach has to be used as a part of our way of 
teaching. 

Finally, in his book, Creating the corporate future: plan or be planned, Professor
Ackoff (1981) states: “There are three ways of dealing with these or any other problems; 
they can be resolved, solved, or dissolved. To resolve a problem is to find a means 
that does well enough that satisfies. To solve a problem is to find a means that 
performs as well as possible that optimizes. To dissolve a problem is to redesign the 
relevant system or its environment so that the problem is removed.” (p. 248). 
Dissolution requires creative thinking. This special issue in management education 
provides a valuable reference, integrating perspectives from researchers and educators 
on knowledge acquisition and transfer. 

With many prominent professionals contributing to this work, this special issue in 
management education outlines a sound foundation of some outstanding methodologies 
and practices in the field. Advanced topics include experiential learning, building 
communities of practice, on line education, effective classroom management, active 
learning, system thinking, and critical thinking.

Thanks are due to contributors and reviewers. The contents of this special issue were 
made possible because of the contributors and the generous cooperation and suggestions 
given by the reviewers, to whom we express our thanks. We are indebted to them for 
sharing their knowledge with us.
Dr. Teresa Torres-Coronas         Dr. Mario Arias-Oliva         Mar Souto-Romero
E-mail:             mttc@fcee.urv.es                 mao@fcee.urv.es             masr@fcee.urv.es             

Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain