Responsible leadership in management education: A design-based research study


  • Saskia Raatz University of St. Gallen
  • Dieter Euler University of St. Gallen



attitude change, design principles, management education, responsible leadership


In recent years, the quality of management education in general, and particularly of MBA and Executive MBA programs, has been called into question. There are serious doubts about universities’ ability to give students the competencies they need to deal with complex problems in modern society. One part of the discussion focuses on ethical issues and the process through which students develop values and attitudes. In line with the economic crisis, there has been increasing interest in the development of learners’ attitudes to responsibility.

We report the results of a study that starts with an ambitious and yet ill-structured learning goal in a demanding educational practice area: How can pedagogical interventions in management education be designed to promote learners' attitudes to responsible leadership? As a starting point, there are neither consensual definitions of responsible leadership nor substantial theories available to design promising interventions. De-sign-based research (DBR) provides a structured process to deal with research problems, starting with innovative but imprecisely defined objectives and unknown ways to reach them.

We introduce the DBR design and describe the research process and results from a project conducted at St.Gallen University’s Executive MBA program. In close collaboration with practitioners, interventions evolved through multiple cycles of development, testing and refinement with the pursuit of theory-building and practical innovation.

Author Biographies

Saskia Raatz, University of St. Gallen

Saskia Raatz studied Linguistics, Business Administration and Business Education at the University of Stuttgart (2003-2009) and graduated in 2009. After an internship with Daimler (China) in 2010 she worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Business Education and Educational Management at the University of St.Gallen (2010-2015). She gained her PhD degree in 2015. Recently she took a position in the Human Resources area at the Mobiliar Insurance Company at Berne, Switzerland.

Dieter Euler, University of St. Gallen

Dieter Euler holds the Chair for Educational Management at the University of St. Gallen / Switzerland since 2000. Before that, he was Professor for Business Education at the University of Potsdam (1994-1995) and Nuremberg (1995-2000). He studied Management, Business Education and Social Philosophy at Cologne University and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Prof. Euler holds several mandates in international scientific bodies and is involved in various innovation projects in the area of Quality Development, Higher Education Development and Vocational Education and Training.

His research interests focus on innovative ways of teaching and learning, strategical aspects of educational management (including quality development at Higher Education), vocational education and training and corporate learning.




How to Cite

Raatz, S., & Euler, D. (2017). Responsible leadership in management education: A design-based research study. EDeR. Educational Design Research, 1(1).



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