Learning Style Differences between Undergraduates, MBAs, Nonmanagement Workers, and Managers in Japan

Yoshitaka Yamazaki, Hitoshi Umemura


Using Kolb’s experiential learning theory, this study aimed to explore how learning style differed among four cohorts: undergraduate management majors, master’s of business administration (MBA) students, nonmanagement workers, and managers. The research context was Japan, with 1080 participants from two universities, one business school, and two different firms focused on sales and production. To compare the four cohors, this study applied a cross-sectional study. Results indicated that managers showed the strongest preference for active over reflective learning, followed by MBA students, nonmanagement workers, and undergraduates. Managers’ active learning orientation did not statistically differ from that of MBA students, but did statistically differ from the groups of nonmanagement employees and undergraduates. With regard to the learning dimension of thinking versus feeling, MBA students were the most abstract learners, while the other three groups exhibited concrete learning orientations. The present research was the first to empirically compare groups according to career transitions from undergraduates towards management positions. This study provides insight on how individuals differ in learning styles as their careers develop.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jbar.v6n1p1


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Journal of Business Administration Research (Submission E-mail: jbar@sciedupress.com)

ISSN 1927-9507 (Print)      ISSN 1927-9515  (Online)

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