Academic journal article Advances in Competitiveness Research

Interdisciplinary Education for Global Strategy

Academic journal article Advances in Competitiveness Research

Interdisciplinary Education for Global Strategy

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Succeeding among multidisciplinary teams in solving real world problems and innovative solutions has not only been challenging but is now required for survival for business school graduates. While teamwork has been intertwined with the business school curricula around the globe for decades, providing thorough training within one field such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, information technology, or operations is usually the focus of higher education business programs. However, the fast changing global environment has forced organizations to develop integrative tools and cross-functional problem-solving teams to sustain competitive advantage. Recognizing this trend, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the highest ranking accreditation body for business schools around the world, has asked business schools to become a global business school (eNewsline, 2011). Forming a special task force, the AACSB has now placed its focus on helping business schools understand the need for educating students in the frameworks and paradigms that could allow them to ask the right questions in unfamiliar business and global contexts. The need for adequately trained faculty for teaching students how to succeed in such 'foreign' situations has now been brought to the forefront (eNewsline, 2011).

Preparing the student for a career has always been a primary goal of educators of higher education. Reacting to the criticism that graduates are being prepared with a silo mentality or for stand-alone disciplines (Horsley, 2009), business schools have begun experimenting with courses or even whole new programs that simulate the real world. In the past decade, a handful of pedagogical articles have discussed the results of such experiments: one involved students across schools such as graphic design and marketing (Johansen, Scaff, &Hargis, 2009), one attempted to develop an integrated project management course with a real family-owned firm (Haretneian, Schelenger, & Fredrickson, 2001), while other experiments put students from Master of Science in Accounting and MBA programs in collaboration (Kruck & Teer, 2009). While business strategy and policy capstone courses within undergraduate programs devote a whole semester to learning and applying all areas of business into integrated strategic plans, coverage of international business concepts sometimes have to be limited and creative projects are often impossible due to time constraints. In another attempt to break the traditional business pedagogy that emphasizes a single discipline rather than a collection of disciplines, this paper investigates enhancing education through collaborative learning, product development, and interdisciplinary project teams. Specifically, the originality of this study is reflected in an effort to combine faculty expertise in marketing and international management in two different courses over different semesters to teach the process for developing an innovative global strategic plan. The methodologies described herein have the potential to inform a range of disciplines on collaborative work within the classroom setting.

RELATED LITERATURE

With the ever-expanding world of information, we must foster lifelong learning skills in students (Speck, 2002; Sibley, 2008). Innovation in an academic setting that blends fields of business such as marketing, finance, human resource (HR), legal and public relations is this project's focus. Technical advancements, specialized jargon, and shorter product life cycles have called for simultaneous work on related tasks to be coordinated and negotiated. The organization and team leadership need to foster a climate that allows for openness, risk taking, effective communication and conflict resolution in an environment that feels safe (Edmondson, 2009). The current focus and need for successful entrepreneurship requires the business student to be well groomed for a career in business commercialization. …

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