Details for Henley Business School
Type of Organization
Type of Education
Undergraduate, Post Graduate, Doctoral, Executive
Institution is part of
University of Reading
Reading, United Kingdom
Sign Up Date to PRME
18 Oct 2013
Current Sharing Information on Progress Report Submission
05 Sep 2017
Sharing Information on Progress (2017)
Period Covered: Sep 2015 to Sep 2017
Achievements Curriculum Integration in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability
In accordance with the Business School’s Value that Character and integrity are as important as capability, consideration of ideas of corporate responsibility and sustainability is pervasive through the programmes delivered by the Business School, such as the MSc in International Planning and Sustainable Urban Management, as well as explicitly taught in a wide range of relevant modules. All Masters’ degree programmes in the area of Management include either specific modules on ethics/corporate social responsibility or have such issues embedded within broader modules, whilst Undergraduate degree programmes include modules on Ethics and on Sustainability.
Issues of corporate responsibility and sustainability are key elements of the Business School’s MBA programmes. Modules such as Global Business Environment, Sustainability, Corporate Finance and Governance, and Leadership and Change all cover such concepts. However, these issues are particularly discussed within the Reputation and Relationships module and the Full-time and Executive MBA programmes each include key activities which greatly enhance students’ knowledge, understanding and experience in these areas. Through its links in South Africa, the Business School has for many years run a one week Study Visit as part of the module for students studying on the Executive MBA programme. Initially run in Cape Town, this initiative has now broadened to include Johannesburg. During their time in South Africa, students work with and provide free consultancy for local charities and other Not-For-Profit organisations in relatively deprived parts of Cape Town and Johannesburg, and at the end of the Visit produce a Management Report which forms the basis of their assessment for the module. Coming towards the end of the MBA programme, this Study Visit integrates knowledge from a range of earlier modules and is often described by students as transformative and life-changing, and which revises their views about the Not-For-Profit sector. The Business School has, over the last two to three years broadened this activity as part of an initiative called’ MBAid’, so that it now encompasses not only the Study Visit but also staff research and consultancy. This initiative has encompassed work with over 50 NGOs in Cape Town and a further 120 organisations in Johannesburg, making it one of the largest educational NGO initiatives in Africa, and has provided over £2 million of assistance to such organisations as well as a strong sense of engagement and societal relevance to the learning provided by the Business School.
The Business School has now expanded this initiative to its Full-time MBA programme from 2012 onwards. It has launched the Henley Community Partnership, an initiative which has established a community of charities and Not-For-Profit organisations in the Reading area, with which the Business School works, not only as part of modules on the Full-time MBA programme but also more widely. Students undertake a pro bono consultancy project for a number of local organisations such as:
• the Reading International Solidarity Centre, which promotes social justice and Fairtrade;
• two local women’s refuges, Berkshire Women’s Aid and Your Sanctuary; and
• the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC);
• the Reading Rockets basketball team which is engaged with over 4,000 young people through its work initiatives.
In addition to activities within the curriculum, the Business School supports a range of extra-curricular activities for students relating to corporate responsibility and sustainability. In particular, in 2013 it introduced an initiative called the Henley Challenge in which individuals or teams of students were asked to submit a paper addressing the question ‘In today's society, what do the concepts of trust, character and integrity mean in any business area which interests you?’ Papers were submitted to the judging panel and five were selected to present their work to an audience of their peers and academic staff. At that event, the audience was asked to vote for the most compelling presentation. The presentations were also videoed and subsequently put onto the web for online voting and the group receiving the largest amount of votes won a cash prize. The Henley Challenge was a considerable success and it is intended that this will be come and annual event, with the Business School believing that this is a very effective way to reinforce its Values to its students and to build an integrated Business School community.
The Business School views Leadership as an integrated, holistic activity and as such it includes consideration of issues relating to ethics, responsibility and sustainability as part of its executive education programmes. The design of Custom programmes is, of course, influenced by client needs and issues such as sustainability, business ethics and corporate governance and responsibility are increasingly at the forefront of clients requirements, and are therefore now becoming key parts of programmes eg sustainability, corporate governance and business ethics. The Business School is currently exploring with the wider University of Reading how it can provide existing and future clients with an enhanced range of services and areas by leveraging the expertise that exists outside the Business School, for example in relation to ‘big topics’ that encompass themes relating to sustainability such as climate change and food security. It believes that including such significant issues into executive education programmes meets the growing need among executives to understand the wider context of business, not just the industry and organisational environment.
Achievements Research Development in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability
The Business School’s core Value relating to character and integrity, and its ethical ethos, applies equally to research and knowledge development as to its other activities. Research is undertaken in line with these principles and in accordance with the University’s Code of Good Practice in Research (http://www.reading.ac.uk/UnivRead/vb/RES/qar/QAR_documents/UCOGPR2012(UKRIOWebAugment)_VersUBRIapproved_July2012_web_09Jan13.pdf). As part of their research programmes, postgraduate research students are provided with training in good research practice and other students in the Business School are also provided with appropriate guidance and support for any projects that they might undertake. The ethical scrutiny of research and research projects is an important element of the governance and operations of both the University and the Business School. The University convenes a Research Ethics Committee to assess the ethical propriety of all research using human subjects, human samples or human personal data to be undertaken in the University, or under the auspices of the University, however funded.
There is a range of research-related activities within the Business School relating to corporate responsibility and sustainability that are undertaken with companies and other organisations. These include:
• Research relating to urban sustainability, and into community involvement and the environment. This research covers a wide range of areas including real estate, planning and urban design. In particular, faculty within the Business School undertook a major research programme, which attracted significant European and other funding, focussing on the examination of major international sustainable cities and major functional urban regions. This adopted a specifically global framework to assist governments, professional bodies and practitioners to develop strategies which can take into account the connectivity of growing cities in world-wide flows of information, knowledge, skilled labour and office real estate finance in the advanced producer services economy. The research has informed theory, practice and policy in the European Union, North America, United Arab Emirates and Pacific Asia regions as well as in the UK;
• Research by faculty as part of the cross-University Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments (TSBE) Centre (http://www.reading.ac.uk/tsbe/), relating to sustainability and IT infrastructure;
• The recent establishment of the Governance, Accountability & Responsible Investment (GARI) Research Centre, which aims to provide a forum for international collaborative research into the broad area of governance with a specific focus on accountability. GARIs research into corporate governance covers issues such as the governance of public, voluntary and charity sector organisations, institutional investor engagement and dialogue and responsible investment, corporate accountability including sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and climate change governance;
• Research as part of the Business School’s MBAid initiative, in which reputation-related models developed within the Business School are being used within consultancy projects to add value to Non-For-Profit organisations in South Africa. A recent independent audit of this work estimated that through this work, the Business School had added value of between £2-3 million to such organisations in the last five years. In addition, the Centre is also currently undertaking a longitudinal research study of the impact of immersion learning in the area of reputation on both participating organisations and on students, particularly into the impact on them as responsible leaders;
• A number of past and current Doctoral Students have undertaken their research in the area of Corporate Responsibility. Current students are working on projects relating to Understanding the Business Case for Corporate Responsibility, Building responsible relationships with employees, and Corporate social responsibility and its link with mergers and acquisitions. Recently graduated Doctoral Students were working in the following areas:
- What can Corporate Responsibility learn from the theory and practice on Diplomacy;
- Understanding individual and cultural differences in Corporate Social Responsibility; and
- Developing a stakeholder-centric perspective of Corporate Responsibility in the Developing World: Case studies from rural India.