Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Sharing the Knowledge

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Sharing the Knowledge

Article excerpt

Between Enron and the Wall Street-induced credit crisis that has thrown the world economy in turmoil, business ethics and entrepreneurship professors like Dr. Laquita Blockson are in short supply.

Blockson, who gave up a lucrative career in corporate America for academia, hopes her research--on the marriage of business and social responsibility--can inform and influence responsible business practices.

"People have a negative perception of what business does and some perceptions are valid," Blockson says. "But businesses can and do contribute to society in a number of positive ways and can be viewed as being socially responsible. A lot of my work speaks to how businesses can engage within society in a way that allows them to be not just relevant but also socially responsible."

Blockson's groundbreaking research, including a grant-funded collaborative effort with a number of colleges across the country, has focused on high-growth firms owned by Black women. As a Black woman, she has particular interest in studying this often overlooked group's entrepreneurship behaviors. Past research focused on profitability as the main indicator of a business' success. But Blockson finds Black women tend to define success much more broadly.

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Other factors were "equally as important or more important than economic success ... so while economics was important, it was not the sole or primary factor," says Blockson.

These business owners consider themselves successful if they are providing a legacy for their families, serving as a role model and hiring within their communities, providing stability in their neighborhoods, achieving work-life balance, and fulfilling a spiritual calling or passion.

Though not an entrepreneur herself, Blockson fits the mold of many of the business women she studies. Like them, she sees her work within a broader context. Blockson says her goal is for her research to "help influence the current and next generation of minority and women entrepreneurs. But also I want to influence business in general to operate in a more socially responsible manner."

She's making her mark through the academy, thanks to the business professors at Florida A&M University, where she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees. Fascinated by numbers as a little girl, she loved tax season since the first time she filled out her 1040 as a teenager and wanted to be a certified public accountant. But through her FAMU professors, she saw other possibilities. …

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