‘Have Business Schools Failed Society? How and why?’
Enron, Arthur Andersen, Sotheby's and Christie's, Martha Stewart and, most recently, the Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch are most known examples of ethical lapses. Some academics, such as Ghoshal (2005), Giacalone and Thompson (2006), Mitroff (2004) and Pfeffer (2005) make most responsible for the recent scandals the influence of the theoretical underpinnings of business education on managers, teaching a profits-first perspective. Others affirm that MBA programs are irrelevant to the needs of practicing managers (Mintzberg 2004; Pfeffer & Fong 2002 as cited in Slater & Dixon-Fowler 2010). However, are these critics justified? Have business schools failed society? I answer: ‘Certainly’. The aim of this essay is to provide a critical analysis of the ideas I explored through my readings of academic literature about the responsibility of business schools in the past corporate scandals. To do so, I identify how business schools have contributed to perpetuate the wrongness of our society. Nevertheless, I finally depict some improvements encountered in current and for future practices.
Finally, and most important, the neoclassical model is now challenged by others perspectives, one of the most important being the ecological economics. This latest aims to articulate alternatives towards a socially responsible capitalism. Indeed, this economic current is conscious that current levels of material inequity are immoral and do not support human dignity, and that a continuing and unlimited economic growth is not sustainable anymore. Considering that the neoclassical model has existed since the industrial revolution, a change of paradigm would be unprecedented (S Grob 2010, pers. comm., 2010). Change would engender an impression of chaos because of the sudden listening to voices that we were not used to hear.
- Julie Thériault, 2011 -