A panel discusses the Manifesto at the CEEMAN conference in Prague last September. From left to right: Andreas Antonopoulos, rector of the University of New York in Prague; Danica Purg, president of CEEMAN; Roger Martin, former dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business; Derek Abell, CEEMAN board member and founding president of the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin; and Sotiris Foutsis, general manager, UNYP.
AT ITS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE last September in Prague, the International Association for Management Development
in Dynamic Societies, or CEEMAN, introduced its Manifesto, a 36-page
document that lays out the rationale for business schools to embrace
new models of teaching and research.
In his opening remarks at the conference, Derek Abell, a CEEMAN
board member and founding president of the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin, Germany, announced,
“Change is urgently needed to make management education more
relevant to the needs of business and society.”
The Manifesto, say its creators, is in response to a level of dissatisfaction with management education and research that has been
increasing for the last 20 years. At the conference, attendees and panelists discussed the fact that, for too long, most management development institutions have been more intent on pursuing scientific excellence than managerial relevance; for that reason, schools have not felt
any urgency to shift their priority away from academic peer recognition
and quantitative rigor of research, and more toward teaching and building bridges to the business community.
“There is an infrastructure that
massively rewards academics to speak to
other academics,” said Roger Martin, former dean of the University of Toronto’s
Rotman School of Business in Canada
and strategy advisor to CEOs. “In this milieu, it is considered academic infidelity
to speak to nonacademics. The only way
to get [a paper into] an ‘A’ publication is
if it clearly speaks to other academics.”
Martin went on to say that the academic
infrastructure—which is focused on faculty retention, tenure, and promotion—is
designed to maintain the status quo.
“Institutions have become disconnected from the market, partly, because they are affluent,” Abell noted in his
remarks. “This is why the change will
come from developing nations … the
rising part of the world does not have the
money to ignore the marketplace.” According to Abell, management education
is not keeping pace with the speed of innovation and complex changes happening in business. Abell is betting that the
Manifesto will help to upend an academic system that is separate and apart from
its mission of serving business.
Johan Roos, chief academic officer
and professor of general management
for Hult International Business School
headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, agreed that business education’s approach to research needs to be
overhauled. “We are now stuck with
an academic system in which business
schools are run as if they are deaf,
blind, and dumb to a completely new
The Manifesto is a natural step
forward in CEEMAN’s progression, says
Danica Purg, president of the organization since its inception in 1993. “As
Central and Eastern European countries
began their conversion to market economies, we learned by ‘taking the best from
the West,’” she said. “Then, we learned
to share our best practices. Now, we are
charting a new, more sustainable course
with the Manifesto.”
All 17 of CEEMAN’s board members
have signed on and pledged to support
the principles of relevance and excellence in teaching and research. Ultimately, the purpose of the Manifesto is
to trigger a change of course in management teaching and research worldwide.
“We know it will be hard,” Purg noted,
“but we have to try.”
Astrid Sheil is a professor of communication studies at California State University, San Bernardino.
Read more and download the Manifesto.