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Behavioral assumptions and management ability

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Abstract

The paper explores the consequences that relying on different behavioral assumptions in training managers may have on their future performance. We argue that training with an emphasis on the standard assumptions used in economics (rationality and self-interest) is good for technical posts but may also lead future managers to rely excessively on rational and explicit safeguarding, crowding out instinctive relational heuristics and signaling a “bad” human type to potential partners. In contrast, human assumptions used in management theories, because of their diverse, implicit and even contradictory nature, do not conflict with the innate set of cooperative tools and may provide a good training ground for such tools. We present tentative confirmatory evidence by examining how the weight given to behavioral assumptions in the core courses of the top 100 business schools influences the average salaries of their MBA graduates. Controlling for the self-selected average quality of their students and some other schools’ characteristics, average salaries are seen to be significantly greater for schools whose core MBA courses contain a higher proportion of management courses as opposed to courses based on economics or technical disciplines.

Suggested Citation

  • Benito Arruñada & Xosé H. Vázquez, 2009. "Behavioral assumptions and management ability," Economics Working Papers 1157, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1157
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Why the hyper-rationality of economics isn’t so good as a management education
      by Nicholas Gruen in Club Troppo on 2009-06-18 20:31:30

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Evolutionary psychology; economics; management; relational heuristics; rationality; self-interest.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A23 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Graduate
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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