CEEMAN Releases Manifesto

The Manifesto lays out the organization’s plan to change the course of management development.
CEEMAN Releases Manifesto for Management Research

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 emerging world.”

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.