How can business schools integrate purposeful business into teaching and research?
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Professor Julia Balogun, Dean of the Management School, University of Liverpool, highlighted that the report would be useful to business schools. She said that "business schools have an important role in disseminating management and business practice. The report very evidently has content that business leadership and therefore business schools need to pay attention to."
She said that for her, "one of the most important phrases from this report on purposeful businesses is the reference to 'inspirational leadership'. So, of course, business schools should embed the notion of purpose in what we teach and of course, this should be embedded in all subject areas. However, we do also educate the future generation of leaders so there should be a reflection on the role of inspirational leadership.''
She also added that "although not all students on school programmes will have personal experience as leaders, and may not graduate into leadership positions, they should be encouraged to reflect on what it means to be a leader in a corporation, seeking to deliver profitable solutions, which benefit, not just customers, but their employees, investors, communities, societies, and the environment."
Caryn Beck-Dudley, President and Chief Executive, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) shared that she thought "The Future of the Corporation Project is an important catalyst in raising awareness of the critical role business plays and the success of society."
She reflected on her experience, saying, "graduates at every level from our undergrads to doctoral graduates have a desire and commitment to make a difference and business schools must support that. I have been struck by how the pandemic has shown us how we all need to work together. For example, it required and still required the research, science, supply chains, finance and marketing to really solve the problems. We all have a shared goal of contributing to positive societal impact."
She also mentioned that "Business education is a force for good, and all our accredited schools are expected to make a positive contribution to society."
Anne Kiem, Chief Executive, The Chartered Association of Business Schools, pointed out that "education clearly has a role to play. On its own, it cannot change behaviour, but it does have a significant role to play."
She also added that "business schools have always been looking at what is it that people want? Moreover, there has been a shift in what universities and business schools, in particular, want to do but also a shift in what students want. Students in the UK are now seen as demanding consumers. They have evolving social values that put purpose and sustainability at the heart of what they want their futures to be about."
She concluded by saying that "the pandemic has made us all re-evaluate our lives and what they mean, and this is being reflected I believe in what business schools are delivering."
Dan LeClair, Chief Executive, The Global Business School Network, welcomed the report saying, "the elegance of the vision holds great potential for this core. The challenge has always been that if you put a course into the core, it's a recipe for isolation. If you infuse it throughout the curriculum, that is a recipe for invisibility. The reality is it must be both. What I see in this report is a tool. I see great progress as a consequence of that."
Professor Mette Morsing, Head of Principles for Responsible Management Education, UN Global Compact, congratulated the British Academy for its work on the report. She stated, 'let me start by warmly congratulating the British Academy. It is not difficult to agree with the report's conclusions, and I hope it is going to be a very impactful report.'
In her discussion, she raised the point that 'it would be interesting to think about what the curriculum would look like if we put society at the centre of the stakeholder model.'
She also raised the question, "about what does success look like when you are a purpose-driven business? It is interesting to see how the definition of success is reflected in the textbooks."
Andrew Jack, Global Education Editor, Financial Times who moderated the event welcomed the report and said that he was committed to "ideas of the essential role of business schools in trying to promote best practice, to integrate values, and environmental, and societal, objectives and to teaching and research, and operations, and ultimately, in that next generation of managers, and entrepreneurs."
Moderator: Andrew Jack
Global Education Editor, Financial Times
Professor Julia Balogun
Dean of the Management School, University of Liverpool
President and Chief Executive, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Chief Executive, The Chartered Association of Business Schools
Chief Executive, The Global Business School Network
Professor Mette Morsing
Head of Principles for Responsible Management Education, UN Global Compact