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Increasing Student Engagement and Learning: Using Big Hairy Audacious Goals as an Empowering Semester Project

Author: MATTHEW L. SANDERS, ALAN D. BOSS, R. WAYNE BOSS and MARK L. MCCONKIE
Published in PAQ, Vol. 35 No. 4

Empowering students in ways that significantly increase their engagement and learning is challenging. This paper describes how Collins and Porras’ (1994) concept of the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG, pronounced bee-hag) functions as an empowering semester project that significantly increases student engagement and learning. Based on Thomas and Velthouse’s (1990) operationalization of empowerment as intrinsic task motivation, this essay outlines how to implement the BHAG as a semester project and offers evidence of increased student empowerment and learning. The discussion and findings in this essay will help management educators develop ways in which they can empower students in the courses they teach as well as increase their students’ engagement and learning through this open-ended semester project.

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