Reorienting Management Education for Sustainable Prosperity

By Rawal, Debyani Mukherjee | Review of Management, June 2013 | Go to article overview

Reorienting Management Education for Sustainable Prosperity


Rawal, Debyani Mukherjee, Review of Management


Introduction

Change is at the core of our existence. A revolution - a paradigm shift is what keeps the society moving and going up the growth trajectory. Global economic crisis, rapid technological changes and a titanic shift in our own value system is what is moulding a new form of society. There is constant resistance from all sides to the change, but this is leading to the opening of new vistas of leadership, new opportunities being identified and new challenges being thrown open that is breeding a new generation of vibrant entrepreneurs. The 2007 financial meltdown has evoked a gamut of queries about the rationale and role of business education - and how does it eventually shape business practices. Many a time, business and our society seem to have moved in opposite directions. Can future management education bridge this gap? Can we implement new modes of management education that will give a fresh direction to business practices in times to come?

Michael Porter, has very aptly said that advancement in business education is dependent to a large extent on management schools adopting innovative approaches addressing globalization and promoting cross functional assimilation.

The last ten years have witnessed a significant inclination towards corporate social responsibility, especially as manifold concerns have emerged about climate change. There is a lot of criticism about corporate social responsibility from the free trade consumerist camp and from those opposing globalization. But, the tide is taking us in a different direction. The conventional attitude towards competition and profitability are being eroded. However, trends show that efforts are not proportional to the desired results, which means that the gap needs to be filled in.

Literature Review

Management education focuses on all those activities that are undertaken by business schools to hone the conceptual skills and develop the managerial aptitude of students. Management education has been defined by Keys and Wolfe as "the acquisition of a broad range of conceptual knowledge and skills in formal classroom situations in degree-granting institutions" (Wolfe, 1988). Management can be considered as the most volatile field, as it is subject to quick changes as per the dynamism of the social order. It is the fast technological innovation along with the vibrating nature of the markets that calls for continuous practical learning by both faculty and students of management institutions (M. London, 1999).

The United Nations' Global Compact Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) (2nd Global Forum For Responsible Management Education, 2010) is an all-inclusive UN initiative undertaken to assimilate corporate accountability and sustainability in the core activities of business schools. Management schools are closely integrated with the community that they serve, ie the corporate world and their main stakeholder organizations. It is the uncertainty about the future course of events caused due to rapid technological development that is changing the character of competitive strategies, which has been rightly termed as the 'new competitive landscape' (Bettis&Hitt, 1995). There is a severe necessity of the affirmative role of management education in churning a new genre of leaders who would have the ability to manage the multifarious challenges of society in the 21st century.

Around five decades back, many business schools in the United States came under severe attack for being extremely theoretical in their pedagogy and also employing poorly exposed faculty who have been kept aloof from the factual world (Howell, 1959). As a result, complacency had to give way to a pro-active approach, and the entire faculty worked towards a revamp in approach and work style. However, years down the line, the same faculty has come under severe criticism for the lack of research and experience in practical fields (Porter, 1988), (Raelin, 2000). …

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