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AOM Symposium: BUSINESS WITH PURPOSE AND THE PURPOSE OF BUSINESS SCHOOLS IN A POST PANDEMIC WORLD

  • 1.  AOM Symposium: BUSINESS WITH PURPOSE AND THE PURPOSE OF BUSINESS SCHOOLS IN A POST PANDEMIC WORLD

    Posted 21 days ago

    On behalf of Hector Rocha,



    BUSINESS WITH PURPOSE AND THE PURPOSE OF BUSINESS SCHOOLS IN A POST PANDEMIC WORLD

     

    Sponsoring Divisions: SIM / OMT

    Organizers: Hector Rocha, Michael Pirson, and Roy Suddaby

     

    Abstract

     

    Both the Covid-19 crisis and the emergence of innovative business models like B-Corps, Conscious Capitalism, and Blueprint for Better Business offer a powerful signal that the foundational assumptions of competitive capitalism are increasingly in doubt. Business schools, however, appear to be followers rather than leaders in this historical moment of social change. While consumers and businesses are experimenting with new models of capitalism premised on balancing profits with social purpose, business schools have been slow to change and appear to be struggling with their identity and purpose. But, what might be the purpose of business in a post-pandemic scenario? What would a post-pandemic business school look like? What might be the foundational values of a post-pandemic market system? The aim of this Symposium is to explore these questions in conversation with five thought leaders and prominent innovators of management education and business practice.


     

     

    1. Overview:

    Participants

    Jay Coen Gilbert  

    Co-founder of B-Lab

    Executive Co-Chair of Imperative21

    Email:   jay@bcorporation.net

      Charles Wookey (CW)

    Founder and CEO of Blueprint for Better Business

     

    Email: charles.wookey@blueprintforbusiness.org

    Raj Sisodia, Ph.D.

    FW Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and Whole Foods Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism at Babson College.

    Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Conscious Capitalism Inc.

     Email: rsisodia@babson.edu

    Gerald George

     Dean, Lee Kong Chian School of Business
    Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

    Email:   ggeorge@smu.edu.sg

    Elaine Hollensbe

    Department Head and Professor of Management

    Carl H. Lindner College of Business

    University of Cincinnati

    Email: elaine.hollensbe@uc.edu

    Hector Rocha

    Professor of Business Policy and Entrepreneurship

    Director, Center for Integral Sustainable Development

    IAE Business School

    Austral University

    Email:  hrocha@iae.edu.ar

     Michael Pirson

    Director, Center for Humanistic Management

    Associate Professor for Global Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship

    Fordham University

    Research Fellow, Harvard University

    Email:  pirson@fordham.edu

    Roy Suddaby

    Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

    University of Victoria

    &

    Carson College of Business

    Washington State University

    Email:  rsuddaby@uvic.ca

     


    Introduction

     

    The COVID-19 crisis has exposed serious flaws in the institutions of modern capitalism. Global supply chains have been slow to react to spiking demand for medical equipment. The pandemic has disproportionately affected the poor, contingent workers, and the elderly, and threatens to accelerate the pace of global inequality. The virus has also revealed the errors of decades of chronic underfunding of public institutions by governments elected on the promise of continually reducing taxes. Perhaps most critically, the virus has inverted the assumptive logic of neoliberalism which places economic interests at the base of our implicit hierarchy of needs and consigns health, related humanitarian needs, and, ultimately, happiness to the secondary status of epiphenomena. The COVID crisis fundamentally challenges the prevailing assumptions of corporate market capitalism, that is, profit as the fundamental purpose of business  (Friedman, 1970), opportunism as the key feature of managers´ behavior (Jensen & Meckling, 1976), and competition as the key process for reaching prosperity (Porter, 1998). The crisis demonstrates that there are more profound ontological 'givens' such as human dignity ( Pirson et al., 2016) than the right to earn profits. The global pandemic questions the prevailing assumption that a thriving economy will ensure social wellbeing, inviting academics to understand and tackle the new societal grand challenges (cf. George et al. 2016).  

     

    These challenges hold serious implications for the role of business schools and management education. For some time now, business schools have been subject to considerable criticism for their failure to lead the process of normative change in a context where the ontological assumptions of capitalism have become increasingly suspect. In particular, there has been a growing concern that management education places excessive emphasis on profit maximization at the expense of societal wellbeing and concern for the natural environment (Ghoshal, 2005; Pfeffer, 2005), that prevailing management theories and business school education actually reinforce negative social values of greed and self-interest (Wang & Murnighan, 2011; Rocha and Ghoshal, 2006), and that business schools have been complicit actors in a long list of prominent corporate scandals (Podolny, 2009). Management education appears to have lost its soul and purpose (Bennis & O'Toole, 2005; Khurana, 2007; Murcia, Rocha, & Birkinshaw, 2018).

    The quarantine response to the COVID-19 crisis has created the reflective space to revisit the core assumptions of business and management education. The crisis also appears to have granted us an opportunity to rethink the foundational institutions of capitalism. The aim of the Professional Development Workshop is to explore the purpose of businesses and management education within a context of a re-imagined Capitalism in a post-pandemic era.  We will explore three main questions:

    • What might be the foundational values of a post-pandemic market system?
    • What might be the purpose of business in a post-pandemic scenario?
    • What would a post-pandemic business school look like?

    We will explore these ideas in conversation with thought leaders and prominent innovators of both management education and business practice. Briefly they are:

    • Jay Coen Gilbert (JC), the co-founder of B-Lab a non-profit organization that promotes B-Corps and serves a global movement of entrepreneurs using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Jay is currently executive co-chair of Imperative 21, a business-led network driving a RESET of our economic system. Network stewards include:  B Lab, The B Team, CECP, Common Future, Conscious Capitalism, GIIN, Just Capital, and Participant
    • Gerald George is the Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
    • Rajendra Sisodia (RS) is the FW Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and Whole Foods Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism at Babson College. He is also Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Conscious Capitalism Inc. an organization that supports a global network of business leaders devoted to elevating humanity through innovative business practices.
    • Charles Wookey (CW) is the founder and CEO of Blueprint for a Better Business, an UK charity that challenges the foundational assumptions of business and what motivates people in an effort to redefine the purpose of business and its relationship with society.

     

    Collectively, these individuals have led an emerging movement dedicated to redefine the purpose of business and the nature of market capitalism. A unifying assumption of their individual projects is the shared belief that the challenges of capitalism are insurmountable obstacles but, rather, require a creative restatement of the core values and purpose of business in society. They also each share a unifying assumption that business schools play a pivotal role in legitimating this change.

    We engaged these innovators in conversation around the broad question of how we might "re-enchant" (Suddaby, Ganzin & Minkus, 2019) market capitalism and the role that business schools might play in that process.

    In this PDW we will allow for a collaborative space to discuss options for concerned educators and administrators on how business can serve the interests of humanity and make business schools leaders in this historical moment of social change.  

    1. c) Description of Workshop Format

    The Workshop will consist of an introduction followed by an interactive, collaborative dialogue between the convenors, the leaders, and the audience around the three proposed questions.  

    Introduction

    Hector Rocha, Michael Pirson, and Roy Suddaby will outline the workshop goals and introduce the structure of the PDW.  

    Question 1 - What might be the foundational values of a post-pandemic market system?

    Roy Suddaby will moderate this panel

    Question 2 - What might be the purpose of business in a post-pandemic scenario?

    Michael Pirson will moderate this panel

    Question 3 -  What would a post-pandemic business school look like?

    Hector Rocha will moderate this panel

    Closing remarks

    Elaine Hollensbe will identify themes and ideas that emerged from the panel discussions and provide closing remarks.


     

    REFERENCES

     

    Bennis, W. G., & O'Toole, J. (2005). How business schools have lost their way. Harvard Business Review, 83(5), 96-104.

    Friedman, M. (1970). A Friedman doctrine: The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. The New York Times Magazine13(1970), 32-33.

    George, G., Howard-Grenville, J., Joshi, A., Tihanyi, L. 2016. Understanding and tackling societal grand challenges through management research. Academy of Management Journal, 59(6): 1879-1894.

    Ghoshal, S. (2005). Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management learning & education, 4(1), 75-91.

    Khurana, R. (2007). From higher aims to hired hands: The social transformation of American business schools and the unfulfilled promise of management as a profession. Princeton University Press.

    Jensen, M. C., & Meckling, W. H. (1976). Agency Costs and the Theory of the Firm. Journal of financial economics3(4), 305-360.

    Murcia, M. J., Rocha, H. O., & Birkinshaw, J. (2018). Business schools at the crossroads? A trip back from Sparta to Athens. Journal of Business Ethics, 150(2), 579-591

    Pfeffer, J. (2005). Why do bad management theories persist? A comment on Ghoshal. Academy of Management Learning & Education4(1), 96-100.

    Pirson, M., Goodpaster, K., & Dierksmeier, C. 2016. Guest Editors' Introduction: Human Dignity and Business. . Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(4).

    Porter, M. E. (2008). On competition. Harvard Business Press.

    Rocha, H. O., & Ghoshal, S. (2006). Beyond self‐interest revisited. Journal of Management Studies43(3), 585-619.

    Suddaby, R., Ganzin, M., & Minkus, A. (2017). Craft, magic and the re-enchantment of the world. In Management Research (pp. 41-72). Routledge.

    Wang, L., & Murnighan, J. K. (2011). On greed. Academy of Management Annals5(1), 279-316.



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    Vincenzo Vastola
    SIM AOM Connect Manager
    Montpellier Business School
    Montpellier, France
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