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Respecting the Place

On May 21, 2022, Knut Ims, Eleanor O’Higgins, and Laszlo Zsolnai gave a presentation on “Reorienting Business Schools to Respect Place” at the European SPES Annual Conference in Urbino, Italy.

Urbino, Italy

Ims, O’Higgins and Zsolnai argued that modern business organizations, especially corporations, are disembedded from the environmental and social context in which they operate. Tese organizations are rootless in an ecological and social sense, disinterested in the “place” that provides the larger context for their functioning. In parallel, the current functioning of business schools and the ranking systems which evaluate their performance reflect the disembededness of modern business organizations.

The Common Good perspective may change the functioning of business schools. This can help re-embedding business schools into their local socio-ecological context. Loyalty to place is not antagonistic to universal human and ecological values, as local society and ecosystems and their inhabitants can represent and exemplify both the “human” and the “ecological.” Nurturing the spirit of place may have a number of positive implications such as strengthening the propensity to relate to ideals and values, refining the ability to interpret ideals and values in concrete cases, facilitating the capacity to form a united organizational “reality,” and reinforcing enthusiasm, commitment, and spontaneity.

In their presentation “The Common Good University: Searching Out an Alternative Path for Business School Education” Tamas Veress together with Mara Del Baldo, Gherardo Girardi, Hayden Hubbard, and Knut Ims argued that business schools should educate young people to give them the capacity to lead a troubled world in the interest of the common good. It is time to rethink the educational concepts that frame the work in present-day institutions, placing more emphasis on creativity, compassion, collaboration, and community.

The Common Good University model implies that business schools should become prosocial and eco-oriented organizations. This feature should appear in students’ culture and curriculum content as well as in the mission formulation and the strategy of business schools.