Building Sustainable Legacies


Management education of the future

Incremental change is not an option when looking at the planetary boundaries[1]. We need radical, disruptive thinking and vision that fundamentally question the unconscious underlying assumptions that form the mainstream discourse that determines the way we look at business, society and the world. While many traditional business programs today have a focus on leadership or entrepreneurship, few fully integrate these areas and even fewer integrate responsible leadership, sustainable entrepreneurship or enlightened statesmanship.  As Kenneth Mikkelsen (2010) notes, the speed of change is now so intense that firms must adapt faster than ever before, thus, linking leadership and entrepreneurship is mandatory if the adaptive organization is to be realized.

Holding the space for sustainable leadership for a sustainable world is a tall order and the single ideas brought together in this vision are not new. In fact, many of them are well established in other fields. We are hopeful that the magic of the vision lies in the clarity of focus in which these state-of-the-art ingredients are brought together and the purpose which they are dedicated to.

The future management school not only develops globally responsible leaders, it does so by walking the talk. It embraces globally responsible leadership by embodying its key dimensions of entrepreneurship, leadership and statesmanship as defined by GRLI[2]. We suggest that beyond developing leaders, the future management school needs to also support organizations, particularly business organizations, to successfully transform into operations to serve society and the world. And, we believe it is high time for the management education profession to actively engage in and lead the public dialogue on how to transform the existing flawed economic system into a structure that isn’t purely self-serving but contributes to the world vision we have defined above.

 

Figure 1: Holding the space for providing responsible leadership for a sustainable world


[1]            Johan Rockström: “Planetary Boundaries” (2010)

[2]            As defined by Philippe de Woot of the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI)

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A call to service: management education for the world

The influence of management educators is vast. They train the majority of leaders of the most influential business organizations worldwide and they impose and promote their vision of the firm and their philosophy of management. If they chose to, they could become major change agents for a better world.  To understand the link between a better world and management education, we need to clarify and agree on some upfront parameters:

Figure 1: The call to service for management education for the world by holding the space for provide responsible leadership for a sustainable world

Business schools and institutions, public or private, engaged in educating managers and leaders need to extend their scope beyond business to educate existing and emerging leaders active in organizations of any type, shape or form in business and beyond. To stress this point, we shall consistently replace the term “business school” with “management school”. The challenges described above are summarized in a call to service to provide management education for the world by “holding a space for responsible leadership for a sustainable world”. Its parameters are leadership, entrepreneurship and statesmanship.