A social role for business in the post-COVID era;Implications for business strategy and management education (Part 2) | Inquirer Business

A social role for business in the post-COVID era;Implications for business strategy and management education (Part 2)

(Conclusion)

To make management practice and the training of managers more attuned to the times, we propose the following list of courses to form part of our recommended program format.

For introductory courses, we propose:

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  • Business and society: A description of an innovative approach to management by which firms pursue their traditional goal of profit maximization by creating value for all their stakeholders—their customers, their workers, their business partners and the communities of which they are a part.
  • Current issues in business and management: A discourse on economic and business topics relating to current global trends and developments, such as isolationism among nations, political polarization within nations, global warming, rapidly evolving technologies, the coronavirus pandemic, the Ukraine war and other conflicts; a discussion of what these imply for business strategy and economic policy.
  • A general theory of the firm: An overview of alternative concepts of the firm from the perspectives of neoclassical economics, behavioral theories of the firm, structural functionalism, social Darwinism and complexity theory.

For basic courses, we propose a breakdown of stakeholder strategy into its four basic components, a.k.a. environment, social and governance or ESG investing.

FEATURED STORIES
  • Strategies for creating consumer value
  • Strategies for creating worker value
  • Strategies for creating value of business partners
  • Strategies for creating value for the community

For electives, we suggest:

ʎ Knowledge management: classification and properties of knowledge, network effects and the learning organization

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ʎ The organization of production 1: The boundaries of the firm—vertical and horizontal dimensions.

ʎ The organization of production 2: The digital platform business model, extended value networks (a.k.a. supply chains) and value capture theory

ʎ Big data analytics: an introduction.

For the capstone strategy course, there must be Business Strategy in the post-COVID-19 era, a discussion of how stakeholder strategy can help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals alongside illustrative business cases.

A distinctive feature of this program is its focus on the interest of all stakeholder rather than the exclusive concern for profit or shareholder wealth.

Directions for curricular reform

To make business more inclusive and more egalitarian, we propose that management courses and programs should be revised to give more emphasis on the creation and utilization of human capital —today’s most important resource, and of which knowledge is a major component —and less on physical and financial capital. Knowledge is more readily and more cheaply available to the economically disadvantaged members of society, including the unemployed, manual workers and street vendors who are among the poorest of the poor.

We also suggest that greater importance should be given to the training of workers, individual entrepreneurs and managers of small and medium enterprises—which comprise the majority of productive enterprises in the country and employ the larger majority of workers— and less on the development of managerial and technical skills of future executives of large corporate entities.

Finally, we recommend a number of guidelines in the implementation of our proposed curriculum:

  • Design basic courses around broad strategic objectives and general problem areas and those that stress the ability to deal holistically with wide-ranging, inter-related issues, rather than the computational skills required to “solve” isolated and well-defined problems.
  • Develop elective courses that focus on behavioral and relational skills that enable organizational leaders to build cohesive, adaptive and productive organizations.
  • Eschew long-standing “management principles” and so-called “best practices” that are of little usefulness in specific contexts.
  • Stress ingenuity, adaptability and flexibility as opposed to strict adherence to rules, procedures, plans and programs.

Caveat

We fully realize that pulling off our recommendations for curricular reform is easier said than done. There are a number of reasons for being less than sanguine. Change tends to be resisted by incumbents whose interests lie in the status quo. Change is resisted if externally imposed (not made here mindset). Change must be tied to the institution’s performance evaluation and reward system in order to encourage position holders to cooperate in its implementation.

But change we must. It’s about time! INQ

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The article reflects the personal opinion of the author and not the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or MAP. The author is a retired professor of economics and management at UP Diliman. Feedback at map@map.org.ph and nspoblador@gmail.com.

TAGS: Business

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