A Spotlight on Responsible Leadership and Education with Prof. Tanusree Jain & PRME

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Chosen as PRME’s first Twitter Voice for end-August, Prof. Tanusree Jain of Trinity Business School and the Council on Business & Society: A look back at a “week that was” on responsible leadership and education.

We’re delighted at the CoBS that our partner PRME – UN Principles for Responsible Management Education – selected Tanusree Jain, professor of Ethical Business & Sustainable Entrepreneurship at Trinity Business School, and a leading contributor to the Council’s online insights and magazine with her research in the field of CSR, as its first social media voice for the week of 24-28 August on the theme of responsible leadership and education.

The choice comes at a critical and telling time. 2020 has been marked by an unprecedented turn of events linked to the global pandemic, the impact of which is now sinking in and which will have a lasting effect on business and society – and some say for years to come.

These days, the main news coverage has shifted from the immediate need to combat the virus to the threat of oncoming recession, job losses in sectors hard-hit by the crisis, the difficulty for young people to find internships and employment, racial tensions and climate-related disasters from India to Europe and the Americas.  

Chosen as PRME’s first Twitter Voice for end-August, Prof. Tanusree Jain of Trinity Business School and the Council on Business & Society: A look back at a “week that was” on responsible leadership and education.
Professor Tanusree Jain

If we turn these issues around, then the work of people such as Prof. Jain’s, her fellow faculty from the member schools of the CoBS committed to CSR and sustainability, and our peers linked to PRME, becomes all the more essential. For it is in times of crisis that leadership moments arise. Moments that offer hope and a way forward, away from the grey and gloom towards a shining vision of the future.

It is a time for leadership in companies and at national level to show commitment and action in ethical leadership. Where people, jobs and long-term vision come first before short-term profit and the benefit of the few. Where the notions of diversity and inclusion and fair treatment of all employees regardless of race, colour, gender, persuasion and background are emphasised and made the rule. Where the lessons learnt from lockdown and economic slowdown can change our approaches to work, spark innovation in business practices and lead to reductions in pollution levels. And finally, where education brings awareness, opportunity and the gift of knowledge to help make our generations the responsible leaders and actors for a better world.    

Prof. Tanusree Jain’s Week that Was doesn’t stop here. It is also a Week that Will Be – through continued research in CSR and sustainability, making that research understandable to all, nourishing our business education institutions with it, and finally, putting it into action. Featured over the last 7 days on Twitter:

Education

Issue #1: Business education and tomorrow’s managers and leaders.

Numerous high-profile ethics scandals, rising inequality, and the detrimental effects of climate change dramatically underscore the need for business schools to instil a commitment to social purpose in their students. At the same time, the rising financial burden of education, increasing competition in the education space, and over-reliance on graduates’ financial success as the accepted metric of quality have reinforced an instrumentalist climate. These conflicting aims between social and financial purpose have created an existential crisis for business education. 

  • Food for thought: How do you think we can instil purpose to business education?
  • A focus on Tanusree’s latest research published in the Journal of Management Inquiry. Watch this space for a forthcoming article for the wider public based on this research! 
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Issue #2: Is COVID disrupting academia?

Covid-19 has given us a once in a lifetime chance to create a sustainable future society and business in the future. It’s a second chance that we can’t ignore (Prof. Andrew Burke, Dean of Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin).

  • Food for thought: Let’s not resuscitate the Frankenstein economy. How are PRME signatory schools overcoming the ‘valley of tears’ of shock, denial, anger, sadness, acceptance and hidden gift?

Issue #3: HigherEd is transforming.

A Post-COVID Higher Ed: Which programmes will thrive, which won’t – and why?

  • Food for thought: How can we re-imagine education and learning?

Leadership

Issue #1: Leadership Matters: But can all of us be leaders?

  • Food for thought: COVID offers a leadership moment on a silver platter beyond the C-Suite
Women in leadership

Issue #2: Women and leadership

An interesting experiment shows that strong, assertive women can access leadership when economic, social or political context conveys uncertainty.

  • Food for thought: Could the COVID crisis dispel the myth of the father figure?

Issue #3: Human behaviour during a crisis

A master list of research from the Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware reveals that humans are more likely to behave prosocially and altruistically during a crisis. Students are helping frontline workers.

  • Food for thought: What about student leadership at PRME schools?  
  • Focus on the Trinity Business School EMBA student initiative to help frontline workers https://bit.ly/34GlLhb

Governance

Issue #1: How to prevent corporate social irresponsibility

  • Corporate boards are crucial in reducing and eventually preventing corporate social irresponsibility, but it’s the way you bundle them that can make all the difference.
  • Food for thought: What factors do you think influence a board in order to walk the talk of CSR? 
Corporate irresponsibility

Issue #2: Companies, organisations and sustainability

Repeated workplace interactions on sustainability issues can create sustainability champions and trigger change, according to research by Prof. Sara Soderstrom of the University of Michigan.

  • Food for thought: What practical initiatives in the workplace can help organisations and their employees become sensitive to climate ?  

Issue #3: Modern leadership style – from paternalistic to maternalistic

Time to look at other contexts of governance and the case of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

  • Food for thought: Shouldn’t we explore the black box of university governance?
Time to look at other contexts of governance and the case of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Stakeholders

Issue #1: The future of capitalism

The COVID crisis has heightened awareness of the shortfalls of our system, with various figureheads calling for a conscious Capitalism or Capitalism 2.0.

  • Food for thought: What are the pros and cons of Capitalism? How have the last 40 years highlighted the emphasis on efficiency over effectiveness in the way we do business?
Business and the New Normal

Issue #2: Business and the common good

“Most executives and business school professors are familiar with the ‘stakeholder perspective’. Its principles are simple: all organizational stakeholders, not just shareholders, should matter to the organization. The key stakeholders are customers, suppliers, and the community, but there may be numerous others who have a stake in the company’s actions.”

  • Food for thought: A stakeholder perspective often forces companies to choose favourites. A systems perspective is better for everyone.

Research Responsibility

Issue #1: The research race

The crisis has exacerbated the “research race” – How can we as researchers balancing quick actions with rigor?

  • Food for thought: An explanation of what’s happening with the COVID vaccine…

Issue #2: Governments and research

What role should governments play? Slashing funding is definitely not the way to go.

Issue #3: Research with an impact

Heads up to academics in CSR, ethics, sustainability and leadership. While we move from “interesting” to “important” we also need to engage in research that is actionable.

  • Focus on Prof. Tanusree Jain’s articles on CoBS Insights and published research papers:
  • Download Prof. Tanusree Jain’s research papers via Researchgate

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Learn more about the Council on Business & Society

Discover Responsible Business and Leadership. Download Global Voice, the Council’s quarterly eMagazine:

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The Council on Business & Society Global Alliance is an international alliance between seven of the world’s leading business schools and an organiser of Forums focusing on issues at the crossroads of business and society – The Council Community helps bring together business leaders, academics, policy-makers, students and NGOs from around the world. Follow us on Twitter @_The_CoBS . Visit the Council’s website for a host of information, learning opportunities, and free downloads.  

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