Sensing: the elephant in the room of management learning

Alina Bas, Marta Sinclair, Viktor Dörfler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


This conceptual paper examines reasons why analytically educated learners may be reluctant to engage in sensory-based learning. Sensing is indispensable for constructing knowledge and should be employed on par with the intellect, particularly in today's complex and uncertain context. Yet, we have observed learners' reluctance to engage with sensing and attempted to understand the reasons for it. Our theoretical contribution illuminates the underlying causes of this phenomenon, thus furthering the study of sensing in the fields of individual learning and management learning. Our practical contribution prompts researchers, learners, educators, and managers to think more systematically about ways to overcome this reluctance and openly bring sensing into management learning practice on par with intellectual processing. With the help of phenomenal theorizing, the presented exploratory study identifies the following common barriers to sensory-based learning for analytically educated learners: corporate social norms against sensory-based evidence, discomfort of learning outside of one’s comfort zone, inadequate vocabulary for sensory experiences, lack of sensory awareness, preference for sequential reasoning, mistrust in sensory-based evidence, dismissive attitude, and denying (or not admitting to) the use of sensing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489–510
Number of pages22
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number4
Early online date25 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • sensory-based learning
  • sensing
  • management learning
  • sensible knowledge


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