Business School and Business Research
Some of the institutions whose mandate is to generate managers and leaders who upon graduation bring good leadership, effective business practices and change in the business world are business schools. The expectation is that graduates from these institutions will introduce effective business practices which ought to be reflected by their decisions which should cushion the larger population of their countries against harsh economic situations. This can be seen their involvement in policy formulation, offering investment advice, image establishment, policy execution, and corporate social responsibility.
It is the responsibility of business schools to play a role of ensuring the wellbeing of the society because they are institutionalized in the larger society. Following the economic meltdown that faced the world recently, people have been debating on the role played by business schools in the social and business context because the society has been affected adversely by this economic shaking. As such, business schools should be concerned because the society is losing confidence in their abilities and functions. This has also made the research that is conducted by these institutions to be questioned as well as its relevance in the business world and business institutions.
2.0 Role of Business School
Business schools’ institutionalization starts from their being circumstances’ by-product. Their strategies and rationales will never be separated from their place, society, culture, history, and time completely (Khurana, R. & Spender, J. 2012, p 621). Consequently, the prevalent situations when business schools and organizations are established have profound impact on their characteristics especially after the conditions come to an end. The characters of these institutions therefore are engrained within the institution’s system and this makes the organizations frequently incapable of adapting to their actual environment with time (Khurana, R. & Spender, J. 2012, p. 621). Nevertheless, the most saddening fact is that students who join these schools are affected by these characters.
This raises the question of the influence that students get from these schools especially in reference to insider trading, LIBOR fiascos, Enron’s collapse and the recent financial crunch that affected every country. Thus, the pertinent query that should be asked in this context is: “How do the higher learning institutions that claim to nurture business leaders affect the conduct of these leaders so that they can let down many people who depend on them for guidance and advice” (Pentriglieri, G. 2012, Podolny, J. 2009).
Business schools should address current problems that the corporate sector and the society are facing. They should provide the tools that leaders need for effective adaptation in the contemporary economic and social situations. In addition, the tools should enable the leaders to anticipate future occurrences and make appropriate preparations for the eventualities.
Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA) is among the oldest business schools world over. During its establishment, the established and institutionalized practices and approaches were aimed at creating a management-oriented institution for research which would facilitate addressing of the major issues facing the socio-economy after the Second World War by business schools as well as by the produced business leaders. (Khurana, R. & Spender, J. 2012, p. 621). During this time, the issues were considered technical by majority of the business academics. Therefore, they considered scientific method as their best remedy.
A vital role that business schools play is to produce leaders. Every business school aims at making this contribution within the society where it operates (Petriglieri, G. & DeRue, D. S. 2011). Nevertheless, business schools have disappointed some students who join them due to the denigration that has faced the programs of most business schools. Among the factors that have caused this disillusionment come from the era when scientific methodology and research were used in finding solutions to business problems. Some business schools were established at this time.
Aptly states, “although this is a model that led to an increase in PhDs and literature in management research, it produced little insights on the real problems that business managers are facing- indeed, practising managers see very little of this as being relevant in solving problems-this reinforces the sense of belonging to a world that is full of technical expertise with little enlightened leadership” (Bennis, W. & O’Toole, J. 2005).
Business schools’ criticism is based on the fact that they do not offer the experience of the real world to students. Instead, they offer a mimic or reproduction of reality. The basis of the criticism is the fact that there is a tendency of science faculties to describe a problem. On the other hand, management faculties which form the academic basis of the business schools tend to imitate. The contention of this is the notion that the business schools initiate students so that they can join leadership programs by using case studies.
The case studies show the real world’s predicaments to the students (Cornuel, E. 2005, p.819). Business schools’ obligation is to equip learners with requisite skills and abilities that they need to become successful managers after graduating. Nevertheless, this is a convoluted vision going by the notion that business school’s students lack adequate experience. The schools expose them to an artificial reality and this does not provide them with comprehension of the operations of the real corporate world.
In addition to preparing leaders, it is the mandate of business schools to prepare creators and innovators and thrust them to the world of reality where they should introduce change. Additionally, in the sense of the situations of the current world, it is the mandate of these schools to introduce change globally (Cornuel, E. 2005, P. 819). Nevertheless, this is facing risk considering that the schools prepare students to reproduce memorable situations consistently without having a room where they can engage in creative adventures.
Considering the scenario of the current era (where people connect and are equalized while at the same time changing stakes and means) it is the mandate of business schools to not just prepare learners so that they can change the entire world but also to prepare them so that they can manage varying elements in the evolving world of business and the entire society. Such elements include opportunities and risks that individuals and organizations are facing. These elements ought to be navigated carefully with knowledge that business schools should offer to learners.
Globalization has led to a free economy that is constantly opening. In such a world, business schools are at the core of providing skills, information and education that is required for optimum management of institutions. Both private and public institutions are covered by this management whose aim is to enhance their levels of growth. When students get skills, information and education from business schools, the expectation is that they will remarkably improve the organizations and the lives of the people.
Business schools’ purpose is largely pegged and equated to training and providing personnel. As such, business schools are expected to supply individuals with technical knowledge that is required for better management due to their MBAs or other qualifications. When hired by different companies, they should perform better and enhance their countries’ economic competitiveness (Grey, C. 2002, p. 498). This is a view that is held by different groups in the society including the government, business schools and MBA employers.
Nevertheless, this view has received disparagement onslaught over the recent past. “Nobody has ever demonstrated convincingly that MBA graduates manage organizations better than non-MBA graduates or that economies and companies perform better because of them” (Grey, C. 2002, p. 498). Contrary to this, the claim is that the effects on the performance of MBA swelled organizations and economies are opposite. Examples of countries that can be cited in this case include Japan and Germany which seem successful without many MBA graduates like the United States and the United Kingdom.
3.0 Role of Business Research
The view that the business sector has of business schools is that of powerhouses that produce quality research that is aimed at enhancing the best practices in the business sector while playing a crucial role in the resolution of problems that the business sector is currently facing. Nevertheless, the impact that the research of the players in these schools have produced has not met these expectations. Recently, it was claimed that the academics in business schools compete with other faculties such as physics in research. Most of their research is of a theoretical nature and therefore it lacks practical solutions and choices that can be used in dealing with the problems of the contemporary business sector.
However, most managers concur that business research ought to consider challenges and problems that are facing the business sector. The research ought to try to give solutions to the problems. The solutions ought to be applicable on long term basis rather than short term basis. In addition, there has been contention on the essence of research in establishing a link between graduate programs and research (Worrel, D. 2009). As such, the academia research in these schools ought to not only affect the outside world but also appear to contribute to the overall improvement of the teaching methodology of business schools.
The clamour for business schools’ research relevance continues. However, in the setting of these schools there is fear over the deterrence of the outcry that comes from studying abstract subjects whose impact maybe greater at the end. Additionally, the insistence of the enhancement of the business sector can hinder the discovery of innovative practices which is a major essence of business schools’ research.
The nature of business research should entail coverage of different phenomena. It should provide information about the economy, organizations and market as well as other uncertainty areas (Fincham, R. & Clark, T. 2009). Additionally, there are questions about the business sector from departmental heads that need answers. These include questions about long term financing, necessary employees’ training and sales monitoring methods. All these require information to facilitate decision making among different departmental heads and managers. Only business research can provide answers to such questions.
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