Dr Marianna Fotaki (Manchester Business School): The role of Business Schools in the current financial crisis
The series of financial crises shaking the foundations of the Western societies and the global economy has brought ever more starkly the question of the role of business in society. In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 and the current Eurozone crisis, there is not only a demand for a new standard of ethics and probity for business professionals but there are also calls for the redefinition of the purpose of business.
The raison d’être of management and business education is once more becoming crucial in this context. The leading newspapers and journals such as The Economist and the Financial Times have often criticized the current business education as impractical and irrelevant. Similar views were voiced by influential management scholars. However, only a few critics have pointed the moral indifference of such theories which failed to instil the requisite values and ethical reasoning in students, which might have prevented the worst excesses of corporate misbehaviour.
The reasons to be concerned with the ethical aspects of training offered to students of business and management are both substantive and practical. The education has an essential role to play in nurturing ethical business leaders and the global financial crisis has re-ignited further interest in management as a profession. These developments raise the following questions for business and management educators: are our disciplinary paradigms unduly concerned with instilling skills and less about cultivating values? And what are the ways of cultivating these values in the context of management education? Do business schools have a role in promoting ethical values over and above the profit maximisation objective, and if so how can such role be defined? Finally, are business schools well positioned to lead on the requisite change – in other words, what is the role of a public educator and intellectual in the times of crisis?
The speaker, Dr Marianna Fotaki will first outline briefly the intersections of business education and financialization of the economy and will then discuss the way of developing axiological system of management and business education to impart into our students the resources necessary for catalyzing positive social change. Dr Fotaki will then argue that a necessary step towards developing such approaches would entail a serious engagement with societal implications of what we teach and what we omit from our teaching concerning climate change, inequality, human rights and poverty.
Marianna Fotaki is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Manchester Business School, teaches business ethics in society and organizational behaviour and researches the role of the markets in public policy, the creation of the new user consumer of public goods and the ethics of diversity in organizations and society. Before joining academia Marianna worked for seven years as a senior advisor to governments in transition for the European Union in Russia, Georgia and Armenia and as a medical doctor for the humanitarian organizations Doctors without Borders and Doctors of the World in Turkey, Iraq and Albania.
A Business and Management Research Seminar.
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