Providers of management education

The term business school represents multiple organization types, ranging from components of state universities through to commercial for-profit training organizations. These recommendations offer scope for any organization engaged in management teaching or research to take action without waiting for society to force change upon them.

We have not developed recommendations for universities, leadership or executive development centers, corporate universities, professional training institutes, research institutes, think tanks, and professional journals. A great deal of work remains to be done in these spheres; we recommend that these are either developed by the stakeholders groups directly through a gap analysis, or that we organize a variety of collaboratory events where such suggestions can be developed via a multi-stakeholder approach.

Existing Business Schools

  • Develop suitable criteria for evaluation and tenure of faculty that are mindful of their contribution to society and its challenges. Introduce new reward, recognition and promotion systems for faculty to shift current narrow subject focus in research and teaching to future-oriented, broader issue-based research serving the common good. Encourage and reward the faculty to participate in the public debate around a diverse range of societal, economic and environmental issues.
  • Provide development training to faculty to equip them with the knowledge and skills to operate in an environment of collaboration. Retrain faculty to research, teach and collaborate in multi-dimensional teams, across disciplines and nations on broader issues (see example).
  • Open the borders between academia and business professionals to create a rich environment in which theory meets practice to resolve burning and relevant societal issues, including economic and business challenges.
  • Introduce the collaboratory as a new form of learning and research. Set up a flat central space in your school where issues can be discussed. Become an expert in open learning methodologies.
  • Shift the teaching body from academic subject experts only to a rich mix of experts, including professional entrepreneurs and innovators with first-hand experience in business and management in SMEs and MNCs in emerging, developing and developed markets and industries – as well as and in other disciplines (such as philosophy, history, biology, arts). Introduce coaches and trainers as recognized equals into the teaching body in charge of developing the personal leadership aspects of future leaders.
  • Shift the focus from conveying segmented subject knowledge to encouraging and accompanying a life-long learning of inter-connected, systemic entrepreneurial and action-oriented scenario thinking and doing. Recognize externally and alternatively acquired subject knowledge through validation of expertise and facilitated entry credits.
  • Challenge the underlying assumptions of every discipline and open up learning space for alternative, critical, common good-oriented approaches to every topic. Remove anything which accepts the underlying principles of the present system as inherently valid. Value and valorize pluralistic economic thinking and alternative economic systems. Turn down the hyper “free market” ideology underlying most business school curricula.
  • Replace standard subject or case-based curricula with unique issue-centered learning journeys, both on campus and in the field for all advanced courses in business, entrepreneurship and management. Develop projects that get students to engage in real-life learning opportunities that have the bottom of the pyramid concerns at their core.
  • Introduce personal development through whole-person and experimental learning as a pathway to leadership development. Replace auditorium lectures with smaller class sizes for experiential learning.
  • Elevate students from recipients of knowledge (“empty buckets”) to co-learners in a mutual journey. As a result of this mind shift, stop calling these co-learners “students” – rather call them “participants” to anchor the desire of teachers, to create a powerful and safe environment where the joint learning adventure can unfold.
  • Develop new conceptual frameworks, models and theories that integrate sustainability into functional areas of finance, accounting, marketing, management, strategy and operations / decision sciences. Develop sustainability case studies, simulations and embodied learning exercises for use in classes. Redesign all subject knowledge courses to include holistic and transdisciplinary perspectives including ethics, culture and sustainability. Replace conventional and old teaching materials and content with new thinking that focuses on ethics, sustainability and social engagement.
  • Initiate platforms (such as the collaboratory) for exchange, discussion and problem solving for all concerned stakeholders, (including students) of existing and emerging broader societal, economic and environmental issues. Examine relationships between traditional research topics in your area and the challenges the world needs to address to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable system.
  • Create transdisciplinary research units (diverse business subjects with arts, engineering and science) to investigate, test and propose alternative avenues for organizations to address societal, environmental and economic challenges. Adjust research definition, execution and reporting to a collaborative effort with stakeholders (corporations, government, NGO, civil society) and conduct transdisciplinary action research.
  • Join and engage in PRME and similar organizations to share best practices in relevant meetings, projects and working groups.

Academic journals

  • Include practicing managers and other societal roleplayers on editorial boards to ensure direct relevance and applicability of the research agenda to societal challenges.
  • Expand citation indexes and ranking systems to include measures for applied research.
  • Assume leadership in transforming current research into a field that serves society.
  • Embrace new forms of dissemination of knowledge and acknowledge research that gets wide acceptance through social media (measured in number of downloads, Twitter and blog discussions).