5/30/14 There is no doubt that the business of business schools is going through a major transformation. What is this business?
For some people, business schools are not academic enough and for others too academic. Is our focus on knowledge advancement and generation, or is it on skills development? Are we here to develop and train the next generation of corporate leaders or are we focused on changing existing mind-sets?
Should we be researching best management practice (learning from what is happening) or encouraging ‘pie-in-the-sky’ thinking that radically turns the status quo on its head? Do we continue to teach the traditional subjects, given the tremendous shortage of management skills and capacity, or is the focus on the creation of an enabling environment by stressing leadership development? In any other case all capacity-building exercises are likely to happen in a vacuum.
As business schools question their raison d’être, we have discovered at Rhodes Business School that, unless one attempts to do this by thinking in an integrated fashion, any attempt to articulate a purpose is not likely to succeed.
Since 2004, we have attempted to give recognition to the responsible purpose of business by bringing environmental management courses into the mainstream MBA curriculum. Implicit in this was the recognition that organisations need to think about how they acquire, transform and exchange the products from and of natural capital in a way that the needs of future generations are not compromised.
Was this a seismic shift?
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