8 August 2016, New York, USA | PRME Secretariat — The 2016 meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM) concluded its five-day session this week in Anaheim, California with a call for more responsible and meaningful organisations, including those in the field of responsible management education.
Under the theme Making Organisations Meaningful, nearly 10,000 participants from over 80 countries gathered to debate current and future trends in the management education industry.
“The theme suggests that organisations should and can make a difference in addressing global challenges,” said Barbara Bitter, the chair of the division of management education at the Academy of Management, and Dean of the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration at Coastal Carolina University.
Responsible management education was a key focus at this year’s AOM meeting, underscored by the fact that organisations and institutions of the future will inevitably be run by today’s business students. This necessitates a focus on teaching and academic programmes at the world’s business schools that encourage responsible managers and leaders.
“Organizations play an increasingly important role in this picture and should bring solutions to the table instead of exacerbating the problems. This makes the relationship between academia and practice even more important than it has been in the past and brings responsible management education to the forefront of our priorities.”
This year’s meeting also featured insight from Jonas Haertle, the Head of the Principles for Responsible Management Education, during a panel discussion on Friday, August 5th.
At an event titled “Responsible Management Education in Action: Developing Faculty Competences,” the discussion explored ways for faculty in the management education profession to further their own understanding of the teaching styles and ways of thinking that will be necessary to educate the business leaders of the 21st century.
It provided opportunities for faculty to share experiences and engage with colleagues with the intention of building a professional network that can support participants in developing their own competencies for responsible management education when back in their home institutions.
Haertle, who was one of the dozen presenters at the event, pointed out that since 2007 the United Nations has called for more “responsible” management education, guided by the Six Principles of PRME.
“The need to consider sustainability, responsibility, and ethics as guiding principles in management and the education of managers has been increasingly agreed among educators,” Haertle said.
“Besides agreeing that responsible management is important, faculty needs to be prepared for the changes in curriculum, teaching styles and ways of thinking that responsible management requires.”
In the context of the recently adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, key figures in the private sector as well as academia have noted with concern the slow pace of change in the business community towards addressing the world’s lingering development challenges. The United Nations Global Compact — the only major UN-affiliated body that seeks to galvanize progressive and responsible change in the world’s private enterprises — is an example of an effort to corral greater action from this sector.
PRME, an initiative of the Global Compact, seeks to provide a platform to raise the profile of sustainability in business schools around the world and to equip today’s business students with the understanding and ability to deliver change tomorrow. The initiative engages business schools to ensure they provide future business leaders with the skills needed to balance economic and sustainability goals, while drawing attention to the SDGs.
During the 2015 AOM meeting in Vancouver, session president Paul Adler highlighted the role of PRME and its engagement with members of the Academy.
“I’m so delighted to see so many of our members playing key roles in launching and sustaining these initiatives,” Adler said, while adding that many of the business school responsible management education initiatives are being evaluated and discussed in the Academy of Management Learning and Education journal.
“I'm eager to see the academy become a host platform for more discussion and more debate on the best ways we can move forward together,” he added.
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