Cultural capital in business higher education

Senia Kalfa, Lucy Taksa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


This paper examines the impact of the neoliberal agenda on tertiary education by focusing on the increased interest being shown by universities in the development of employability skills or ‘graduate attributes’ for students. Many universities have demonstrated their commitment to translating such interest into practice by elaborating lists of ‘graduate attributes’ and by encouraging their staff to adopt specific pedagogical tools for such ends. Implicitly, this approach is informed by a human capital perspective. Our aim in this paper is to identify the limitations of this perspective and to present an alternative conceptual framework for interpreting the growing attention to student employability within the context of business higher education, which draws on the notions of field, habitus and cultural capital elaborated by Bourdieu. The value of our framework is threefold. First, it overcomes the neglect of the situated nature of learning. Second, it provides a useful tool for critically assessing students’ experience of higher education, and how it is being influenced by teaching methods that are designed to enable the development and transfer of graduate attributes. And finally, it enables consideration of these stakeholders in relation to the other key stakeholders in the sector.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication9th European Academy of Management annual conference
Subtitle of host publicationrenaissance and renewal in management studies
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventEuropean Academy of Management annual conference (9th : 2009) - Liverpool, UK
Duration: 11 May 200914 May 2009


ConferenceEuropean Academy of Management annual conference (9th : 2009)
CityLiverpool, UK


  • employability
  • human capital
  • cultural capital
  • habitus
  • field
  • teamwork


Dive into the research topics of 'Cultural capital in business higher education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this