The Global Alliance in Management Education (CEMS) has recently published a book that sheds light on how business schools can and should contribute to a better and more sustainable society.
The making and editing of the book was entrusted to our Dean Alfons Sauquet, and to Mette Morsing, Director of the CBS Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at Copenhagen Business School.
The book – a compendium of contributions from more than 40 business school deans, rectors and distinguished scholars from around the world – aims to bring the role of business schools and their contribution to society to the public debate.
“Business Schools and their Contribution to Society” addresses the legitimacy of business schools as agents for social change, and stimulates self-reflection and critical thinking, embracing a healthy debate that translates into different points of view around the challenges facing business education today.
The book starts off with a chapter by Harvard professors Rakesh Khurana and Daniel Penrice that provides an in-depth overview of the history of American business schools since their emergence in the XIX Century, their rapid expansion and transformational stages during the XX Century, and the identity crisis they faced in the nineties that forced them to redefine themselves. The authors state that to live up to their mission of enhancing society’s welfare, business schools today must embrace a more complex and integrative view of the relationship between business and society.
This starting reflection by Harvard experts is echoed throughout the book, with several contributions from deans and distinguished professors from around the globe that share historical perspectives, new trends, and concrete examples of how business schools are contributing to social change.
The authors also discuss in detail what new measures could be taken to improve business schools’ contribution to society. It’s inspiring to see the openness and honesty they all share in presenting the major challenges that still lie ahead for business schools to become really effective social agents.
Although opinions differ throughout the book, all the authors share a similar overall perspective: They all acknowledge that business schools have a profound obligation to contribute to society, and that efforts still need to be made to strengthen their legitimacy as agents for social change in the years to come. Their humbleness is inspiring, and it will hopefully serve as a platform for a better future.