What They Should Be Teaching at Business Schools

Robert Reich

Robert Reich, Former Secretary of Labor

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton had a recent blog in the Harvard Business Review entitled “How Business Schools Can Help Reduce Inequality

Here is my response:

“What is needed is an ecological framework of “both…and” to embrace and contain the “either/or” of economics. Only then will we be able to see effective management practice as the integration of the “hard” and the “soft”, the sciences and the humanities. The most encouraging indicator of this at HBS has been the appointment of Nitin Nohria as dean, with his academic interest in the power of context and contextual intelligence. An article on this topic┬áby Tarun Khanna appeared in a recent issue of HBR.

An ecological perspective is the quintessential contextual view. From this vantage point we can see that enterprises are conceived in passion, born in communities of trust, grow through the application of reason and mature in power, where they tend to get stuck. This sets them up for crisis and destruction but with the possibility of renewal. At business schools an ecological perspective can be used to address complex existential questions like these:

  • What kind of person am I (people are we)?
  • What kind of situation is this?
  • What does a person like me (a people like us) do in a situation like this?
  • What are my/our options? How do I/we generate options?
  • What are my/our decision criteria? how do I/we make decisions/choices?
  • What are the consequences of my/our decisions/choices?”

In a subsequent posting Judith Samuelson refers to a helpful document from the Aspen Institute on the subject of corporate purpose and business education

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.