From relevance to relevate: How university-based business school can remain seats of “higher” learning and still contribute effectively to business

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to tease out the real value-adding contributions university-based business schools can make to the business community and to society at large without compromising in any way its own ethos of academic rigour and scholarship in seeking knowledge and understanding for its own sake. Design/methodology/approach – This is a discursive discussion piece that excavates and examines the philosophical and historical underpinnings of universities as places of “higher” learning with a view to interrogating and clarifying the unique role university business schools can play in straddling the university/industry nexus. It draws from the author’s extensive hands-on experiences in business, from the author’s philosophical interests honed in academia, and from the author’s wide-ranging experiences of being involved in bespoke executive education provision for senior business practitioners in large multinational corporations. Findings – The paper concludes with the view that paradoxically, university-based business schools must resist the temptation to capitulate to the demands to teach only what appears immediately “relevant” to the business world in order to be actually useful to business. Instead, they must rigourously seek to expand horizons of comprehension amongst students and business executives through the process of relevating the seemingly irrelevant. This way they can genuinely help prepare students and business executives for the challenges and exigencies of a dynamic and fast-changing world. Research limitations/implications – The paper points to a need for reframing and refocusing the aims and agenda of management education such that greater pedagogical priority is placed on refining perceptual sensibilities and expanding horizons of comprehension over that of content-knowledge dissemination. Practical implications – Business schools will have to revise their curriculum from a conventional emphasis on teaching functional business disciplines to include drawing from the wider humanities fields of study in order to emphasize the cultivation of aesthetic sensibilities and a deeper awareness of underlying global trends, patterns of relationships and social forces shaping business priorities and perceptions. Social implications – An enhanced sensitivity and awareness of the interrelatedness of socio-political, cultural and economic contexts, and managerial situations leads to more effective executive decision making that is economically sustainable, ethically informed and more attuned to the collective common good. Originality/value – There has been much debate surrounding the rigour/relevance issue within business schools. This paper shows that this false distinction is created by an insufficient examination of the underlying commonality mutually shared by both the very best of rigourous scholarship and the very best of business practices.
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CO-OPERATION – THE MISSING VALUE OF BUSINESS EDUCATION

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Abstract

Purpose – The article demonstrates that co-operation is a vital behavioural skill that should be developed in educational systems, particularly business and management programs, because it is an intangible factor that boosts productive output.Design/methodology/approach – The article explains why cooperation is an important intangible factor for organizations and the larger economy. It recommends the development of educational designs to remediate the pedagogical lack of focus on the cooperative disposition. Findings – Co-operation is contingent on trust – an indispensable factor to engage in distant relations, accept rule of law across nations, and confer in intermediaries the authority to arbitrate unresolved differences between organizations. In other words, without cooperation, people within organizations commit themselves to parochial concerns, inhibiting efforts to combine resources towards a collective goal. The lack of a cooperative attitude is not destiny – it can be forged through careful educational designs and organizational strategy.

Research limitations/implications – There is little empirical data available to measure co-operation in a diverse environment and co-operation is an intangible concept that is difficult to pin to specific organizational habits. The concepts developed here based on broad social science data would do will to be tested in an empirical framework at the micro level.Practical implications – Low co-operation arises in an environment which does not foster trust. Management might inadvertently reward low organizational capacity by not evaluating cooperation and monitoring narcissism. Recruiters need to adapt recruitment strategies that pinpoint individuals capable of managing the specific cooperation needs of situational organizations, especially in diverse situations. A successful managerial education program will target training that optimizes thoughtful and sustainable co-operation.Originality/value – Formal management training to instill a thoughtful sense of co-operation would complement the current emphasis on teamwork and leadership. Without the moral and methodological goal of being co-operative for the greater good, organizations waste human resources and fail to reap benefits from collective productions.
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Management Learning, Performance and Reward: Theory and Practice Revisited

Abstract

Purpose – Purpose: This paper explores the extent to which organizational learning is recognised through performance management systems as contributing to organizational effectiveness and competitive advantage.

Design/methodology/approach – Methodology: It reviews several pieces of research, employing a wide range of methods, including: content analysis of managers’ reflections; questionnaires completed by managers and mentors; a large scale survey involving ethnography, interviews and questionnaires and; analysis of documents from professional bodies and management delivery centres.

Findings – Findings: Genuine integration of individual and organizational goals or transfer of learning from the individual to the organization is not evident. Few qualitative measures of organizational performance are employed. The impact of metrics such as IiP or EFQM on organizational effectiveness is nor discernible. Management Learning and Development is rarely measured even when it is encouraged by the organization. There is a clear divide between research, teaching and learning and, workplace practice. Performance management systems create perceptions of unreliability and inequity.Research limitations/implications – Research implications: Espousing the value of learning and learning to learn, measuring them accurately and rewarding them with meaningful changes to working life can only improve organizational effectiveness. Research into the few organizations that have successfully embraced triple loop learning in their development of managers may offer a template for transformational learning to sustain competitive advantage.Originality/value – Originality: Management Development processes have been successful in developing individuals but less successful in achieving organizational development. This paper offers new insights into that gap and the omissions in the metrics by which performance is measured.
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Transformational leadership: a quasi-experimental study

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report a field-based quasi-experimental study designed to examine the effectiveness of a transformational leadership intervention in remediating poor performance. The intervention was conducted on elements of the organization that senior management perceived as being low performing. Design/methodology/approach – A quasi-experimental pre-test post-design was employed to evaluate the effectiveness of the transformational leadership intervention. Pre-test data were collected four months prior to the intervention starting and the post-test data were collected eight months after the intervention had started. Follower perceptions of their leader’s behavior and group cohesion, together with training outcome data were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. Findings – Results revealed that from pre-test to post-test changes in perceptions of leadership, group cohesion, and training outcome indicated that the intervention had beneficial effects. These beneficial effects were evidenced in one of two ways: desirable behaviors increased in the experimental group from pre-test to post-test while they remained the same or were decreased in the control group; or desirable behaviors remained the same in the experimental group while they decreased in the control group. Originality/value – The current study is the first to utilize a quasi-experimental organization wide design to examine the efficacy of a transformational leadership intervention. Furthermore, the current study provides evidence that transformational leadership can buffer negative environmental effects.
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How global leaders develop

Abstract

Purpose – Globalization is driving an increased need for leaders who possess global leadership competencies that enable them to lead effectively. The purpose of this paper is to explore the developmental experiences of global leaders in order to understand the experiences that they report to be developmental, to understand what they learned from their experiences, and to explore how the leaders learned and developed from the experiences. Design/methodology/approach – For this study, the researcher used Moustakas’s phenomenological research method. Findings – Conclusions indicate that global leaders: develop through first-hand global leadership experience; learn the importance of cultural sensitivity, relationships and networks, and curiosity or desire to learn; require a unique set of global leadership competencies; are driven by curiosity, openness, and a desire to learn; and develop and learn intuitively. Originality/value – Utilizing a phenomenological research approach yielded new insight, from the perspective of the global leader, into how global leaders learn and develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motives or values, and mindsets that are important to their role, and suggested areas for further research. The findings of the study are useful in identifying implications for improving or adding to the methods, approaches, and tools organizations use to develop global leadership competencies.
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Hybrid purposes of performance appraisal in a crisis

Abstract

Purpose – Purpose/Design: This theoretical paper examines one aspect of the implementation of the performance appraisal with a focus on its operation in an economic downturn and particularly a global economic crisis. Design/methodology/approach – It identifies the stated purposes of the performance appraisal in multinational corporations (MNCs) and explores the unstated purposes of the performance appraisal, which emerge during performance evaluation and feedback stages. The paper then investigates the different expectations employees and managers have of the performance appraisal and finally examines the changes to these expectations in an economic downturn.
Findings – Findings: The principal conclusion that can be drawn from this analysis is that there is a weakness in the design and substance of the performance appraisal research. The international appraisal is not exclusively conditioned by culture but also by the numerous contextual-organizational, institutional and economic factors found in the typical MNC
Practical implications – Practical implications: It is suggested that possible strategies could include careful implementation of performance appraisal with attention to both the cultural and contextual environment. It is argued that by addressing both cultural and contextual variables the appraisal will be effective in helping achieve the MNC’s strategic goals, even in a time of global economic crisis.
Originality/value – Originality: This paper adds to the body of knowledge of international human resource management research by illuminating the consequences of an uncertain economic environment on performance management across borders and also paves the way for future research in this important area of management research.
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How global leaders develop

Abstract

Purpose – Globalization is driving an increased need for leaders who possess global leadership competencies that enable them to lead effectively. The purpose of the study was to explore the developmental experiences of global leaders in order to understand the experiences that they report to be developmental, to understand what they learned from their experiences, and to explore how the leaders learned and developed from the experiences. Design/methodology/approach – For this study, the researcher used Moustakas’s
phenomenological research method.Findings – Conclusions indicate that global leaders (a) develop through first-hand global leadership experience; (b) learn the importance of cultural sensitivity, relationships and networks, and curiosity or desire to learn; (c) require a unique set of global leadership competencies; (d) are driven by curiosity, openness, and a desire to learn; and (e) develop and learn intuitively.Originality/value – Utilizing a phenomenological research approach yielded new insight, from the perspective of the global leader, into how global leaders learn and develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motives or values, and mindsets that are important to their role, and suggested areas for further research. The findings of the study are useful in identifying implications for improving or adding to the methods, approaches, and tools organizations use to develop global leadership competencies.
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