Behavioral coursework in business education: Growing evidence of a legitimacy crisis

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Academy of Management Learning & Education

DOI of Published Version


Start Page



Business recruiters generally report seeking to hire well-rounded students who have not only technical knowledge and skills, but also behavioral ones. However, business students appear to be somewhat skeptical of this claim. One reason for this skepticism may be students' attention to recruiter signals concerning the importance of behavioral knowledge and skills during the recruitment and selection process. In an attempt to determine whether the addition of significant behavioral coursework to a student's portfolio enhances recruiters' assessments of student employability, two studies were conducted using different methodologies. Results showed that when asked directly about their preferences (Study 1), a clear majority of recruiters (78%) indicated that they preferred business graduates who supplemented functional-area (e.g., finance, accounting) coursework with equivalent amounts of behavioral coursework. However, when evaluating specific student resumes (Study 2), recruiters gave the same employability ratings to students who took only functional courses as to those who focused both on functional and behavioral courses. Results are discussed in the context of growing evidence that behavioral science is regarded as a marginal topic both in business and in business education. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

Published Article/Book Citation

Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2:3 (2003) pp.269

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