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Professor Peter McKiernan Kaynote Address IAM Conference 2012 at NUI Maynooth
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Professor Peter McKiernan Kaynote Address IAM Conference 2012 at NUI Maynooth



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  • 1. READ THIS…Indicative Evidence “Business Schools have to start extending their boundaries and work with other disciplines in Universities (history, politics, sociology for example). Easy to say but very hard to do. And it is easier in research. Teaching collaboration is a nightmare and most sane Business School teachers stay safe in their own haven”....(Dean for Teaching and Exec Programmes) “Business Schools are in danger of becoming obsolete....why couldn’t Departments of Economics, Social Sciences and Mathematics teach the syllabus? They would probably do a better job” (Deputy Dean) “Professional accrediting bodies constrain the curricula most. But, in fostering (a culture of) standardisation, we lose judgement, variety, reactivity and innovation” (Dean) “In the process of accreditation, we try to celebrate diversity but, in practice, it is very difficult” (EQUIS expert)
  • 2. The 21st Century Academic 15th Irish Academy of Management Conference University of Ireland Maynooth September 2012David Wilson Peter McKiernan
  • 3. Key MessageThe trajectory of B-Schools has been one of isomorphicstandardisation with trust in an ‘old school’ tradition not ininnovation. New school models of customised, digitisedlearning mark a broader trust in innovation that willchange the shape of business education in the future.
  • 4. Accreditation Rankings& Regulation School School A B SchoolMimetic C MimeticTendency Tendency Homogeneity
  • 5. Homogeneity differs: less in staffing; some in mission; more in curriculla
  • 6. Issues Critique and plateau of B-SchoolsB-Schools as ‘legitimate parts of society’ or ‘guilty of moral failure’; ‘abdication ofmoral responsibility’; as self referencing, self serving, self centred, self preserving: Cornuel, 2005; Ghoshal, 2005; Currie, Knights & Starkey, 2010; Podolny, 2009;Schoemaker, (2008); hence debate amongst voice in the currentdebate (Muff)…what to become? (Chia)...Schools of theology?(Greensted)…or…’sugar and spice’? (50:20) Theoretical situating of B-SchoolsInstitutional Theory: DiMaggio & Powell, (1983); Zucker, (1987); Granovetter,(1985)… ”to construe actions and behaviours as independent is a grievousmisunderstanding”; Polyani (1957) on non-economic agencies, but warned byMizruchi & Fein, (1999) on isomorphic mimicry as socially constructed Institutionalisation of a Sector (Tolbert & Zucker, 1996): Habitualisation-Objectification-Sedimentation Isomorphism
  • 7. Pressures to conform Isomorphism as “the constraining process that forces one unit in a population to resemble other units that face the same set of environmental conditions”…contingency theory (Woodward, 1958; Burns & Stalker, 1961; Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967) to population ecology (Hannan & Freeman, 1977)Three key pressures (coercive, normative, mimetic) : ‘dependence and power’; competitive : professionalisation…the badges and triple accreditation;staff training & policies, external examiners, international transfermarket Accreditation and RegulationAACSB, EQUIS, AMBA, CEEMAN and professional agencies e.g.,CIPD, ACCA etc; ‘elites’ Lowrie & Wilmott, (2009)… “a group of foxes,guarding the MBA hen-houses”; Durand & McGuire, (2005)
  • 8. Pressures to conform Rankings: schools…game playing & templates (Wedlin, 2007); morale (Kogut, 2008); first mover advantages (Devinney et al, 2008); quantitative sociology (Espeland, 2007); audit society & commensuration (Power, 1994, 1998); ‘engines not cameras’ (MacKenzie, 2006)…the ‘Life Form’…back to Bourdieu (1984) research…RAE/REF; Lists (ABS); stickiness; pay for papers; 4x4; type 1 & 2 errors; no big projects; structure follows strategy; ‘conservative young’; journal lists as incongruous and unreliable (Hodgskinson et al, 2012) cash cows; MBA model; journal dictats; use of English; freemarket philosophy (Khurana, 2007; Starkey & Tempest, 2008; Parker,2008) whither co-ops, unions, third sector, mafia, Amish, Al Qaeda(‘coca cola of terrorism’…Monnet & Very, 2010)?
  • 9. Old School Model Sedimentation; the end game? Supply led accreditations and Trip Advisor Increasing consumerism Generation Y and Z? Open Innovation, quadruple helix, innovation networks (Curley) Dynamic and dysfunctional context Price and cost Established, conservative players Too much love ruins innovation(Molina-Morales & Martinez-Fernandez, 2009; Bidault & Castello, 2010)
  • 10. Social Trust in Innovation Institutionalisation of a Sector (Tolbert & Zucker, 1996): Habitualisation-Objectification-Sedimentation but this is dynamic and habitualisation can be triggered by innovation…a new model dawns (cp legitimacy in social process as innovation, local validation, diffusion and general validation; Johnson et alia, 2006) The B School sector had reached sedimentation placing trust in the old school model of supply-led delivery but on line digitised, customised learning through both content and interaction are changing the game from supply led to demand based and a new habitualisation has begun Emergence from old model through DLMBA in two stages i) content & ii) interaction Who is in the new game and why?
  • 11. New Game, Old Players? Floating University (Jack Parker Corp & Big Think); Khan Academy (Google and Gates Foundation); Udacity (ex Stanford Profs); i Tunes U (Apple); TED-ED; MITx; Minerva Project; Coursera (ex Stanford Profs backed by Intel billionaire); edX (Harvard & MIT) As of Jan 2012, i Tunes U had 700 million downloads “The stuff of learning…lectures, course materials, instructional videos, explanatory songs, syllabi is largely in place…the next challenge is to make (social) engagement around it” Sankar, CEO Piazza (platform for I Tunes U social engagement and interactive class discussion) Fall 2011, 160,000 global subscribers to Stanford’s first on line courses “I would have to teach for 250 years to reach the same number of students that I did on one semester with this on line course” Prof Ng, ex Stanford now Coursera Students attending the actual lecture fell from 200 to 20 as Stanford went on line: “These are students who pay $30000pa to see our brightest and best professors, and they prefer to see us on video? This was a shock to us” Porf Thrun ex Stanford now Udacity
  • 12. Changed Learning Pattern and Scale Short, basic format 5 to 10 minute lectures with embedded assessment; same content as paid courses; interaction on FB/Blackboard/WiKi now but new tools from artificial intelligence, robotics, crowdsourcing allowing grading and teaching without staff; everyone gets the answer eventually It’s Free now, but qualifications will mean charges later “ I believe that we can work with a billion people around the world and change education in a fundamental way as it really hasn’t changed in 1000 years” Prof Agarwal, ex head of MIT’s Comp Sci and Artificial Intelligence Lab, now CEO edX
  • 13. Questions inspired from the Demand Side Left to their own devices, what courses are people most interested in? What times of year do people chose to learn? Why do people go to College? (not just for content & delivery but for branding and network) so long as these are kept separate, free delivery is fine Will Colleges exist as fixed asset campuses in future?
  • 14. Meaning for the future academic? Classroom is ‘flipped’ from passive to active learning Teacher to facilitators to problem solvers Research is flipped from theory to practice and problem solving as core; a scholarship of engagement An increase in problem-centred papers (what organisations do about poverty/climate change, economic crisis) An increase in the theoretical underpinnings of such arguments leading to credible problem solvers An increase in grants & funding to this area and use of new technologies Re-intellectualisation of business/management research