Three days of humanities, business, problems, and possibilities. The “Workshop for Humanities and Social Sciences in Management Education: Writing – Researching – Teaching”, was the latest meeting of the minds of teachers, professors and students in the ongoing debate on how to integrate humanities and social sciences to business education.
The fact that higher education, especially business education, is in need of reform is not news. But the role of the humanities in such reform has been gaining momentum in the U.S., mostly in reaction to a recently published report by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a sort of “humanities rescue plan.” As we see in our coverage of the Carnegie Roundtables, this is a conversation that has materialized as a movement in both the U.S. and Europe, with a gathering of key departments, faculty and major universities.
Published in 2011, the second Carnegie Report evoked numerous debates among business scholars. According to the report, business schools are in need of a makeover, specifically to incorporate more humanities and social sciences. Alongside US-based Carnegie Foundation and Aspen Institute, teachers at University of St. Gallen, Barcelona’s ESADE Business School and Copenhagen Business School are trying to move the report’s agenda forward.
In a previous article, several university administrators argued that business students are overly rational and mainly money- and career-oriented. However, speaking to a variety of students on the Copenhagen Business School campus draws a different picture: the large number of business majors specialized in numerous sub-fields bears quite a variety in different reasoning. And few of them purely evolve around money and influence.
Business is the largest undergraduate major in the US, according to the book Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education from the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching. The book also states that the business sector plays a central role in the well-being and prosperity of society. This is a call for the humanities, the discipline that can guide single minded conceptualizations of business graduates that there isn’t such thing as a single answer, argues Ulrike Landfester, Professor and Vice-President at University of St. Gallen.
Despite a deteriorating reputation of managers due to the ongoing financial crisis, business administration and management studies still rank among the most popular academic programs around the globe. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, about 200,000 out of 2.4 million students in Germany were business majors in 2011. This means that almost one in every ten students in Germany was studying business at the time.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark – In the wake of the financial crisis, an era of severe turbulence, rapid changes and increasing complexity has emerged. A black cloud hangs over the past decade’s economic prosperity and global consumption habits, which fundamentally challenges the purpose of business. All too often the approach to business practices has been one-dimensional, lacking in richness and depth. This goes for both the cheerleaders and the critics of the current business practices. In these times, it is important to be able to view the world in different shades – one of possibilities, rather than constraints.
It`s fashionable to refer to the state of business and the financial economy as being in crisis. The metaphor of crisis triggers the cues for emergent action. But few people (can and do) take action to slow down, reflect and initiate thoughts for iterative transformation. A partnership between the University of St Gallen Contextual Studies program, the Copenhagen Business School`s Department of Management, Politics, and Philosophy, and the Haniel Foundation Germany took the lead and did so with management education. In 2011, the European consortium of management schools embarked for a European debate on what the Carnegie Foundation Study on Rethinking Management Education initiated in the US.
The attraction of a Davos Open Forum session is obvious as the audience arrives much in advance to guarantee themselves a seat. Normally, we would enter the transformed swimming pool to find a neatly arranged row of chairs on the stage. The blue and white colored name tags are an early announcement of who will speak during the evening. But Thursday evening was different. Instead of chairs, we have a set of instruments and no label revealing the upcoming star of the evening.