"There is nothing new under the sun", says the common dictum of the Bible, but the Sun keeps moving very quickly, I would add. Those were my first words at EFMD’s Deans conference yesterday in Rotterdam. The conference was attended by over 225 deans from all continents, very nicely hosted by Rotterdam School of Management and splendidly supported by EFMD’s staff.
David L. Dinwoodie, Deputy General Director, EADA.
The "blended-lives, blended-executive education" formula presented a fundamental philosophical challenge to our "learning by doing" approach at EADA. Within our organisational genetic code is embedded the absolute conviction that our trainers bring value to a face-to-face, interactive, facilitative teaching environment. Such an environment is what allows participants to grow, not only from their own learning process, but also from the experiences of other top notch managers.
This week’s issues of The Economist and Fortune dedicate respective articles about the current challenges posed by the digital world to the media industry. We are going towards a business world where "what you supply matters far more than how you supply it" a world with "an abundance of virtually costless ways to supply consumers with what they want to watch, whenever they want it", in the words of The Economist.
Following on from the earlier comment on Cambridge, Arnoud De Meyer (current deputy dean of Insead) will be take over as dean in September 2006. A recent article in the Financial Times informs us of this.
There is nothing like a visit to a top-notch, friendly competitor to spark reflection regarding one’s own organization and that of the entire industry that one competes in. My visit last week to Instituto de Empresa in Madrid has left me with this tormenting question, "What do executive education institutions really have to offer to the corporate world and in what format can it be delivered?"
Della Bradshaw, The Financial Times Business Education editor.
What an excellent quote! Darwin, as many people may know, was a Cambridge man. In the Financial Times on Monday January 30 there will be an excellent article from Sandra Dawson, dean of the Judge Business School at Cambridge University, explaining why she believes managers and business schools alike can learn much from the work of Charles Darwin.
An Homage to W.A.Mozart on the 250 Anniversary of His Birth
People make a mistake who think my art has come easily to me. Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not studied over and over."
One of those precious occasions that academics value and enjoy most is when they are lucky to find sharp and intelligent critics. Acute and smart criticism is what has fostered the progress of human thinking in all fields from philosophy to the sciences and the arts. Criticising and questioning lies also at the basis of the methodology used at the fundamental stages of professional academic life, such as the defence of PhD dissertations or the publication of papers and books.
Ronald Dworkin, a renowned philosopher who I was fortunate to have as tutor during my doctoral years -and whose work was the object of my dissertation-, used to say that he considered himself an extremely lucky person because he had many detractors. He even recognised that his most productive work were his replies to critics (1). Certainly, his publications had an apologetic character and he built up his law theory on the basis of comments, criticisms, replies and refutations. He was praised -and at the same time rejected- for making philosophy a profitable task, due to the many papers, articles and books published by and about him. Indeed, Dworkin was, and still is, a controversial and prolific academic example (a recent contribution), two attributes that I really admire.
When people make mistakes, the last thing they need is discipline. It's time for encouragement and confidence building. The job at this point is to restore self-confidence. I think "piling on" when someone is down is one of the worst things any of us can do"
Jack Welch: “Jack: Straight From The Gut” (with John A. Byrne; Warner Books, 2001; p.29)
This is an annual event that gathers the largest international representation of business school deans. On this occasion the host is the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University, Netherlands). Certainly, it is an conference that should not be missed by the chief executives of management education institutions.
This year, the theme of the conference is "Facing Strategic Options". The rationale behind this theme is that strategy is about choosing between the different available options and rejecting those opportunities that are not consistent with each business school’s mission and resources. This topic was discussed previously in an exchange between Peter Lorange, President of IMD, and I in this blog.
I have the honour of speaking at the opening plenary session of the conference jointly with my colleague Ted Snyder, Dean of the Chicago Graduate School of Management. We will be talking about what choices are available for business schools in an increasingly global education sector. The major tenet of my presentation is that management education is changing in terms of its business model, not undergoing a change of cycle. This, I believe, has decisive consequences for the strategies of business schools and for the decisions that deans have to make in the future.
I agree with Dean Danos with the need to contemplate CSR (corporate social responsibility) in the context of the complexity of contemporary corporations and their environments. This sophisticated approach needs to take into account many dimensions, but basically the “rightness” of managerial decisions from the perspective of the individual –the executive who takes a singular decision- as well as the adequacy of its potential impact and effects. In addition, it seems that the cultural dimension is also very relevant.
Let me refer to an article written by Thomas Donaldson, Professor of Legal Studies at Wharton, first published by the Financial Times and subsequently by Wharton at knowledge some years ago. It is a very good compendium of the state of the art of CSR at business schools and the reasons behind its élan.
The article refers to a study developed by the Conference Board, in 1999. According to this report
Paul Danos, Dean Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Dean Iniguez introduces the very important subject of corporate responsibility in his recent entry. I would like to touch on the relationship between the “right” individual actions and the “right” corporation actions; and how we as educators of principled leaders should approach the coverage of this in our programs.
Some see a simple rule—just do the “right” thing as an individual. In my view that is necessary but not sufficient, because I do not believe that there is an “invisible hand” that adds up all the “right” individual-level decisions and ensures “good” corporate outcomes. Leaders of corporations must be knowledgeable about the complexities of their organizations, and how all the pieces fit internally and affect society, if they are to ensure that the corporation is making ethical decisions in the overall sense.
Business schools therefore must make students sensitive to the consequences of decisions—not only of personal decisions, but also in terms of the awesome responsibility of making the complex systems of interactions (which is the modern business) work to the advantage of all of the business’s constituents.
I am not against emphasizing personal morals in business contexts. I believe that adhering to a personal code of conduct is essential for any leader. In addition, students often must see business decisions in personal terms in order to be fully engaged in the learning process. But a sophisticated understanding of business procedures, processes, theories, practices, the regulatory structure, the investment regimes, the industrial organization, and a myriad of other contexts are crucial before a leader can be truly principled in his/her decisions, because even a personally ethical, but not fully informed, individual can make decisions that do unintended harm.
A recurrent debate today is whether there exists a causal relationship between economic growth and the practice of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). If the answer to this question is inthe affirmative, a second question raised promptly is: which is the cause and which the effect. There may be different answers to both questions.
Some people believe in the idea of "Moral Progress", which supports that, in line with the evolution of knowledge, technology and social institutions over time, human beings have experienced a parallel progress in morals. Today, for example, most countries are signatories of human rights’ conventions, something that could not have been imaginable two centuries ago. The idea of "moral progress" entails that evolution and growth results in wealth, better standards of living and, consequently, brings higher grounds of liberty, recognition of rights and fairer social schemes than before. According to this perspective, social justice presupposes some prior economic growth: poor countries should first get richer and then think about justice and rights since the other way round does not work. This conception could be named as the "Libertarian" approach. The direct application of this approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is sharp: a company can only afford the duties of CSR if it generates enough profits and serves it shareholders. A good exponent of this conception is Milton Friedman who stated that "the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits".
Quality approval shift – initial steps in Denmark from local or national public authority signatories to international assessment and accreditation
The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has – till now – been responsible for issuing approvals of study lines offered by Danish universities and business schools – thus linking authority and responsibility directly to Parliament.
For obvious reasons the ministry is currently challenged by the increasing complexity and volume of the initiatives launched – especially when taking into consideration international demands from the future globalisation, requiring first-hand update on performance, content and quality.
Consequently, the Minister recently disclosed the initial step towards relaying the approval of general study lines (non-authorisation-lines) to international accreditation processes. By doing so, future access to collect public funding for universities and business schools will be subject to quality standards set and supervised by international accreditation agencies.
The implementation of above approval shift implies that the Danish universities are well under way to meet the GATS – globalisation demands, under guidance by the business school community, which is already in compliance with the international EQUIS accreditation standards.
This is a clear signal to authorities, universities and business schools, depending on traditional public / ministerial based approval systems, to make a move for the future by adapting to the conditions of the market for research based education: - identify relevant internationally operating accreditation agencies, and get going…