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Message from Morsing SIP and Business School Impact on Society
04 August, 2021 New York, United States

SIP and Business School Impact on Society

Dear PRME Community,

Not so long ago, I was in a meeting about business school impact, and I was overhearing a business leader asking a professor how he accounts for his impact on the world. The professor’s immediate response was very clear: my google scholar citations! The business leader looked a little bewildered.

Now, I don’t want to downplay the role of google scholar citations. They send a signal about peer-recognition of our scholarly work. But I want to emphasize its narrow perspective on the impact of business school professors on the world. In that meeting, the business leader then got an explanation of the phenomenon of google scholar citations, which led her to repeat her question. This started a good and long conversation about that professor’s possible other kinds of important impacts on the world.

Over the past six months, fourteen PRME-dedicated people from around the world have spent a considerable number of hours rethinking and discussing how to produce a framework that will enable business schools and universities to better account for their action and impact in creating a more sustainable world. In January 2021, the Global PRME Board appointed these individuals to form the ‘PRME SIP Impact Sub-Committee’ to revise and further develop the SIP Reporting Framework.

The ambition is to build on the past thirteen years of PRME SIP Reporting (Sharing Information on Progress), which all PRME Signatories produce every second year to account for their work with Six Principles of PRME and more generally with sustainable development. The current SIP Guidelines are from 2014.

No doubt that PRME SIP Reports are a valued ‘treasure’ for the individual school in demonstrating action and results over the years. As a professor, I have myself worked with SIP Reporting and have seen how the SIP Report itself has served to engage colleagues across many disciplines to demonstrate and advance their action. However, there are two main challenges with the current SIP Reports:

First, the SIP Reports are an ‘under-explored gem’ of possible global exchanges of novel insights, excellent ideas and robust knowledge across schools about what works and what does not work. At the Virtual PRME Global Forum in June 2021, one of the themes that occurred, once again, was how can we advance learning from each other. And one of the ambitions with the SIP review process is exactly that: to identify ways of making the SIP Reports become ‘living documents’ where those excellent insights and ideas can easily be found, disseminated and come to life in other parts of the world.

Second, the SIP Reports have focused too little on accounting for impact and have delivered few concrete details with regards to indicators and narratives of impact, including how business school operations impact society. Over the past few years, accreditation associations as well as ranking and rating agencies are nudging higher education institutions to improve and demonstrate not only their policies and aspirations but also their action and impact for social betterment. The review of the SIP Reporting Framework aspires to develop a helpful and improved way for busines schools to evidence this.

The basic design principles for the revision of the SIP Report are the following:

1: MULTI-PURPOSE. Beneficial to multiple users

The revised SIP will create value for Deans, individual faculty members and students, as well as center directors, admissions/placement/development officers, and the external stakeholders with interest in the state of business education in the world today (such as firms, NGOs/NFPs, government, media, prospective students, alumni, and donors).

2: LEARNING. Inspire for innovation & progress

The revised SIP will invite novel thinking and accounts of planning and progress, demonstration of success (and yes, failures) of problem solving to inspire others, and be a source of knowledge exchange across disciplines and institutions.

3. TIME. The revised SIP will inspire to account for past and present action and impact, but importantly invite new future goal-setting to continue advancing progress.

4: IMPACT. Use indicators and narratives to evidence progress

The revised SIP will capture narrative reports of a school’s work and add the counts and analytics of initiatives and quantitative assessments of impact with regards to the Six Principles of PRME.

5: SHARING. Inspired by open science values and smart technology

We will explore the emerging (selective open) knowledge base of stored information that will help the individual business school easily exchange and achieve experiences from each other while it will also serve to develop a collective account for the impact of business schools on the world.

A few weeks ago, the PRME SIP Impact Sub-Committee concluded the first phase of its work, which will serve as a baseline for the second phase, taking place from September. In this second phase, a first version of indicators and narratives will be developed and discussed in consultation with PRME Signatories and other relevant constituencies.

The goal is for the SIP Impact Sub-Committee to end its work in 2022, with the end goal of introducing the revised SIP Reporting Framework from 2023. It is a complex task and an important journey, and we do not want to rush this through. But the ambition is to make the SIP Report a framework that will help business schools and their professors to provide an enriched account of their impact on the world when business leaders and others ask them about it.

I look much forward to engaging in this strategically important work again from September.

Warm regards,

Mette Morsing

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