Nearly every business school in America is (or recently has been, or soon will be) engaged in a serious and thorough review and revision of its curriculum. This creates an opportunity for OB to claim its worth in the education of business students. We must bring the combined richness of the disciplines we represent to the crucial problems of human behavior faced by our graduates. Then, we can substantially enrich the lives of our students and ourselves. If we let this opportunity escape, we will lose our place in the business school curriculum. We will deserve that fate for our inattention to what is important, but our students will not deserve the opportunity loss they will suffer as a result.
Of course, rethinking what we do is never without risk. Breaking away from safer harbors of the base disciplines will not be comfortable, nor will it always pay off. However, overcoming the inertial features of academe described by Cummings ( 1990) and Oviatt and Miller ( 1989) can save OB faculty members from themselves. They must be saved from natural tendencies toward academic fragmentation and practical irrelevance. They must trust in the resource already incorporated in a diverse and intellectually active professional population. They must reach out to welcome more participation and ideas from disciplines that, until now, have made only marginal contributions (anthropology, political science, demographics, and behavioral economics readily come to mind).
Most of all, OB faculty members must take their place as the embodiment of a business school discipline that has its own boundaries and focus. So long as faculty members define themselves, and evaluate themselves, in terms of the social science disciplines from which they came, they create their own self-defeating boundaries. When they declare independence and purpose for OB, they invite a future of excitement, positive surprises, and meaningful contributions.
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