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warwick business school alumni association magazine: spring 05




                                                                 the
                                                    career
                                                       development
                                                                       issue
spring 2005
                                                     WBS news:                                                                                                          rankings rise
                                                                                                                                                                        Another two business school rankings have


                                                                                       new postgraduate
                                                                                                                                                                        been published since the last issue of Nexus.
       www.wbs.ac.uk/alumni/nexus.cfm                                                                                                                                   The most recent was in the influential
                                                                                                                                                                        Financial Times Executive MBA rankings when


                                                                                       diploma launch
       2–5     WBS news
                                                                                                                                                                        WBS jumped 17 places from 35th to 18th in
       6       People power:                                                                                                                                            the world, making it 7th in Europe and 4th in
               Professor Harry Scarbrough                                                                                                                               the UK. The top three in the UK are all based
                                                                                       Senior civil servants in central government will be able to fast track to
       8       Developing key business skills:                                                                                                                          in London, which means WBS is the top
                                                                                       chartered accountancy status in less than two years on completion of a
               Dr Scott G Dacko                                                                                                                                         business school outside the capital.
                                                                                       new and unique programme, launched in November by the Chartered
                                                                                                                                                                        In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2004
       9       It’s all about you:                                                     Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and WBS,
               Barbara Oldridge (FMBA 1992-93)                                                                                                                          full-time MBA ranking published in Which
                                                                                       following consultation with HM Treasury.
                                                                                                                                                                        MBA? on 7 October, WBS rose 20 places to
       12      Measuring the ROI in training:
                                                                                       Upon successful completion of a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Finance           30th in the world from 50th, to 10th in Europe
               Hedda Bird (DLMBA 1991-98)
                                                                                       and Leadership and CIPFA’s Final Test of Professional Competence, the            from 16th, and to 4th in the UK from 10th.
       13      The changing meaning of skill:                                          postgraduates will become full CIPFA members. The joint programme will
               Jonathan Payne, SKOPE                                                                                                                                    Professor Howard Thomas, Dean of WBS,
                                                                                       sharpen the knowledge and skills of experienced senior civil servants, further
                                                                                                                                                                        announced: ‘This is great news for both staff
       14      Training to add value:                                                  helping them contribute to improved financial management in central
               Manny Coulon (FMBA 1998-99)                                                                                                                              and all our students at WBS, it is also great
                                                                                       government. This is a key area for improvement identified by the Prime
                                                                                                                                                                        news for our 18,000 former students working
       16      Inside the CDC:                                                         Minister as part of the improved efficiency agenda in the public sector.
                                                                                                                                                                        around the world – a vindication that they
               Elaine Hewens, Director
                                                                                                                                                                        studied at one of the best business schools in
       18–23 Alumni focus                                                                                                                                               the world’.

                                                     launch of Warwick                                                          board appointments
      diary                                          visiting scholars scheme
                                                     As part of the School’s international strategy to strengthen links
                                                     with leading global business schools, the new Warwick Visiting
                                                     Scholars Scheme was launched to fellow members at the
                                                                                                                                for Dean
                                                                                                                                Professor Howard Thomas,
                                                                                                                                Dean of WBS, has been re-elected
                                                                                                                                to the Board of the European
                                                                                                                                                                        in the news:
       MSOR PROJECT EVENING                                                                                                                                             The past 12 months have seen WBS appearing       Communications, concludes, ‘The coverage we       profiled in The Guardian on teaching and
       31 January, 6pm to 8pm                        Partnership in International Management (PIM) conference in                Foundation for Management
                                                     Hong Kong in October.                                                      Development (efmd) and elected          more in the national media than for the          receive is good quality. The subjects on which    researching football management, and was
       MBA PROJECT EVENING                                                                                                                                              previous year, an increase of around 10% –       we are reported reflect the broad platform of     interviewed (again) in French on Radio France
       16 February, 5pm                                                                                                         to the Board of the new Global
                                                     The scheme has been set up to encourage international                                                                                                               activity at WBS – both teaching and research,     on Manchester United’s takeover problems.
                                                                                                                                Foundation for Management               a good outcome for the efforts of the
       PUBLIC AND VOLUNTARY SECTOR NETWORK           academics to spend between one and six months at WBS with                                                                                                           people and reports, all are reflected in our
       18 February                                                                                                              Education (sponsored by efmd            Communications Office team. The School
                                                     the object of creating a mutually beneficial exchange of                                                                                                                                                              ● David Poulter, currently studying for an
                                                                                                                                and AACSB).                             appeared in national press and business          media coverage.’
       MAIR/MAEIR REUNION                            knowledge and practice.                                                                                                                                                                                               MSc in MAOS, featured in a London Evening
       25 February, 6pm                                                                                                                                                 magazines on average 25 times each month,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ● Dr Jim Arrowsmith, Senior Research              Standard article discussing his research into
                                                                                                                                                                        not counting the web sites of these national
       WBS FORUM                                                                                                                                                                                                         Fellow and Lecturer in Industrial Relations and   creating more effective environments for
       7 March, 6pm                                                                                                                                                     publications, and also improved considerably
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Personnel Management, wrote a four page           training and meetings.
       SINGAPORE EVENT                                                                                                                                                  on its international coverage, particularly in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         article for People Management entitled
       18 March, 6.30pm
       LEHMAN BROTHERS’ EVENT
                                                                              Professor Brian Houlden 1926-2004                                                         the USA.

                                                                                                                                                                        In particular, research at WBS has received
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ‘Working time in Europe’ on how moves in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Europe on working hours and pay have
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ● Dr Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor whose
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           research into how transport and carrier
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           organisations manage tourists but have to
       22 March, 12pm to 2pm
                                                                               We are sorry to announce        Professor Robin Wensley, who was Chair of WBS            media coverage and enquiries on a truly wide     impacted on the role and influence of unions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           plan with the threat of terrorism always in the
       WBS ANNUAL DINNER                                                       the death of Brian              between 1989 and 1994, and is now Professor of
       22 April                                                                                                                                                         range of issues – the leisure and music          ● Dr Catherine Mitchell, Principal Research       background is raising a lot of interest – not
                                                                               Houlden, a founding             Policy & Marketing at WBS, and Director of the           industry, similarities between tourism and
       MBA RECRUITMENT FAIR                                                                                                                                                                                              Fellow and Deputy Director of the Centre for      only from The Guardian but also from the FBI!
                                                                               father of the School and        ESRC-EPSRC Advanced Institute of Management              terrorism, working hours and the influence of
       27 April                                                                                                                                                                                                          Management under Regulation (CMuR) has
                                                                               one of its longest-serving      Initiative, gives this tribute:                          unions, government policy on nuclear versus                                                        ● Research by Dr Andrew Burke of the WBS
       MBA GALA DINNER                                                                                                                                                                                                   been in the spotlight recently, with a BBC TV
                                                                               professors. Brian Houlden                                                                                                                                                                   Enterprise Group, on the future of the music
       12 November                                                                                             ‘Brian brought to Warwick his experience of              environmentally friendly energy, training and    film crew at her workshop on environmentally
                                                     worked at the School of Industrial and Business                                                                                                                                                                       industry, really hit the spot in the USA, where
                                                                                                               working in industry with a commitment to high            skills matching between school-leavers,          friendly energy sources for managers and
       REGIONAL EVENTS                               Studies, as it was first known, from 1966 (the                                                                                                                                                                        he received coverage from 33 regional or state
                                                                                                               academic standards. He played a key role in the          graduates and recruiters, football               government officers from the developing
       London (First Friday)                         School was formally instituted in 1967) until 1993.                                                                                                                                                                   newspapers and web sites.
                                                                                                               development of a School committed to both                management, management of sales teams,           world. Catherine was also interviewed on
       4 February
                                                     Together with the founding Vice-Chancellor of             research and practice: building strong links with        customer service, small business, local          nuclear power for the BBC World Service and       ● WBS Professor of Marketing, Nigel Piercy
       North-West                                    Warwick, Lord Jack Butterworth, Brian was                 local and regional business but at the same time         government, management of the radio              had an article published in The Guardian          caught the attention of the USA’s Marketing
       8 March
                                                     instrumental in setting up the School and served          also sustaining professional and academic interests.’    spectrum, and corporate social responsibility,   on the argument against the use of nuclear        News magazine, with his joint research on




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             nexus: spring 2005
                                                     as its first Chairman until 1973. During his                                                                       to name a few.                                   power to solve energy needs while considering     sales management teams and how they are
       For more information on forthcoming events,                                                             Professor Brian Houlden,
       check the web site                            chairmanship, WBS established the broad base                                                                                                                        climate change and the environment.               best rewarded in different cultures.
                                                                                                               died 23 November 2004, aged 78.                          In addition to research coverage, WBS receives
       w www.wbs.ac.uk/alumni/                       of teaching which is one of its strengths today,
       forthcoming.cfm                               covering undergraduate, postgraduate, and                 A full obituary appears on the WBS web site.             regular coverage on its teaching programmes      ● Dr Sue Bridgewater, Marketing &                 WBS alumni have also been featured in the
                                                     post-experience degrees.                                  w www.wbs.ac.uk/news/features/houlden.cfm                and faculty. Vin Hammersley, Director of         Strategic Management Group (MSM) was              media (see details on pages 22-23).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             03
Designed by Parenthesis +44 (0)24 7622 9658
The accreditation process is designed
                                          to help improve the quality of an
                                                                                                                a message from the Dean
                                                                                    world (three places above Harvard).
                                                                                    Some of your fellow alumni provide
                                                                                                                              accommodation is the principal
                                                                                                                              catalyst for the next phase of building
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    research review
                                                                                                                                                                        WBS staff are active in advising businesses, governments and other organisations on a wide variety
                                          institution’s output; both for the        thoughts on their Warwick education       works at WBS, due to start in May
                                          students and participants on its          and the value of continuous personal      2005 (for more information see p18).
                                                                                                                                                                        of matters varying from environmental issues to stock market options. The impact which our research
                                          courses and for global practitioners of   development for career progression.
                                                                                                                              At the end of January 2005 we will
                                                                                                                                                                        has is considerable, not only on the academic community but also on the wider world.
                                          business and management, be that          This is a theme that the School has
                                                                                                                              welcome a new cohort of WBS
                                          employers or academe. One of the          been pursuing for many years and,                                                   Here are just a few of the research projects currently in progress at WBS:
                                                                                                                              alumni at the Warwick Winter Degree
                                          key principles that WBS prides itself     apart from post-experiential degrees
                                                                                                                              Congregation. I’m sure that you will
                                          upon is that, far from being an ivory     (MBA & MPA), WBS is a leading
Over the last twelve weeks of 2004                                                                                            make them welcome at future events
                                          tower, it bridges the gap between its     provider of executive education
my colleagues at WBS have been                                                                                                and I look forward to seeing more of      ● People in developed countries        Bletchley Park during World War
                                          5* research and practice. It delivers     through its open programmes for
putting together our re-accreditation                                                                                         you as the alumni network goes from       spend a significant proportion of      Two. A great deal of research
                                          knowledge that is grounded in             individuals, and tailored courses for
submission for the European Quality                                                                                           strength to strength.                     their time and effort on leisure       has considered the military
                                          practical relevance.                      organisations.
Improvement System (EQUIS).                                                                                                                                             and entertainment activities.          significance of Bletchley Park and
                                                                                                                              In November, we received the sad
This is the leading international         This edition of Nexus discusses the       In an increasingly competitive job                                                  However, little is known about         its role in the development of
                                                                                                                              news of the death of Professor Brian
system of quality assessment,             skills needs of employers and how         market many undergraduates are                                                      the long-term impact of new            computers. However, the way
                                                                                                                              Houlden, a founding father of the
improvement, and accreditation for        WBS is continuously evolving its          looking to find a competitive                                                       media products such as Tivo, MP3       this complex organisation was
                                                                                                                              Business School and one of its longest
business schools provided by the          offering to enable its graduates to       advantage. A specialist Master’s                                                    and Microsoft Media Centre on          held together has not been
                                                                                                                              serving professors.
European Foundation for                   further their careers through             degree from WBS gives employers the                                                                                                                                Roy Staughton & Bob Johnston surveying construction work on the channel tunnel rail link
                                                                                                                                                                        the entertainment behaviour of         systematically examined.
Management Development (efmd).            developing those skills.                  added confidence when making their        As we go to press, I wish to express      individuals and households.            The year-long project is receiving
                                                                                    hiring decisions. To provide a natural    our sadness at the tragic loss of life                                           financial support from the
Warwick Business School is proud to       Our track record to date is impressive:                                                                                                                                                                    to undertake some leading-edge                     Bob added, ‘We were taken up
                                                                                    route of progression for our own          caused by the earthquake and




                                                                                                                                                                                              Qing Wang
have been the first UK business           WBS undergraduates were heralded                                                                                                                                     Nuffield Foundation and has
                                                                                                                              tsunami in the Indian Ocean on                                                                                         research into business-to-business                 the Swiss Re building during its
                                                                                    undergraduates as well as                                                                                                  the enthusiastic backing of the
school to gain this accreditation in      by The Guardian as being ‘the most                                                                                                                                                                         relationships. Supported by                        construction. We went up in the
                                                                                    strengthening our portfolio, we will      26 December and to convey our                                                    Bletchley Park Trust. As well as
2000 and to have been able to add it      employable’ in an employer survey                                                                                                                                                                          construction giant Skanska, Bob                    builders’ lift and toured the 34th
                                                                                    be accepting applications for three       deepest sympathy to the families                                                 drawing on the massive archive
to our two other main international       18 months ago. The January 2004                                                                                                                                                                            and Roy have set about trying to                   floor while it was open to the
                                                                                    new Master’s degrees starting in          and friends of those affected.                                                   at the Trust, interviews will be
accreditations from the Association       Financial Times ranking of the                                                                                                                                                                             understand the nature of                           elements. Not having a good
                                                                                    October 2005: MSc in Marketing &                                                                                           conducted with former employees.
of MBAs (AMBA) – UK, and the              world’s top 100 full-time MBA                                                                                                                                                                              relationships in the construction                  head for heights I was terrified’.
                                                                                    Strategy, MSc in Information Systems                                                                                       It is a particularly appropriate
Association to Advance Collegiate         programmes showed that 87% of                                                                                                                                                                              industry – well known for its
                                                                                    & Management, and MSc in Finance.                                                                                          that this project is being                                                               The research involved
Schools of Business (AACSB), making       Warwick MBA graduates were                                                                                                                                                                                 reputation for adversarial
                                                                                                                                                                                                               conducted from Cambridge                                                                 interviewing managers from the
us the first triple accredited business   employed three months after               This increased postgraduate activity                                                In 2004, Dr Qing Wang of MSM                                                 relationships, delayed completions
                                                                                                                                                                                                               University which supplied                                                                exemplar organisations using an
school in the UK.                         graduation – placing us 18th in the       and the need for more teaching                                                      secured funding from the                                                     and budget overspends. Bob
                                                                                                                                                                                                               many of the codebreakers,                                                                appreciative approach. Analysis
                                                                                                                                                                        Marketing Science Institute for                                              explains, ‘Few industries suffer
                                                                                                                                                                                                               including Alan Turing.                                                                   of the data provided a detailed
                                                                                                                                                                        her innovative research project                                              more from conflict than
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        understanding of the nature of,
                                                                                                                                                                        entitled ‘The determinants of use of   The project is not simply of          construction and consequently,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and barriers to developing, long-
                                                                                                                                                                        really new products’. For the first    historical interest, however.         the industry as a whole
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        term relationships and resulted in
                                                                                                                                                                        two terms in the current               Bletchley Park can be seen as a       can gain great benefits by
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        an analytical framework, the
                                                                                                                                                                        academic year she is working as a      prototype for today’s knowledge-      developing constructive, long-



hot off the press
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Relationship Explorer, which they
                                                                                                                                                                        visiting scholar at Fuqua School       intensive organisations, and the      term relationships’.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        have subsequently used with
                                                                                                                                                                        of Business, Duke University, to       research will identify lessons for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     This research has so far lasted                    managers in several sectors to
                                                                                                                                                                        carry out research in collaboration    these organisations. Of particular
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     two years, with further work                       help them evaluate relationships
                                                                                                                                                                        with co-authors of this project.       interest is how Bletchley Park
Ken Bates and Mark Whittington, Lecturers                applicability of IS theory and practice to SMEs         while cutting emissions, offering an overview of                                                                                    currently underway in very                         and identify, as well as frame,
                                                                                                                                                                        The project is sponsored by CBS,       managed to combine individual
in Accounting & Finance, have contributed a              and develops new theories that are relevant to          the issues that government must address and                                                                                         different sectors, including                       the need for improvements in
                                                                                                                                                                        one of the largest media               creative flair and, indeed, genius
chapter on Forecasting Financials to the third           these firms.                                            recommending practical policies to put the                                                                                          sports sponsorship.                                business-to-business relationships.
                                                                                                                                                                        companies in the US, and will          with highly routinised procedures
edition of FT Handbook of Management.                    w www.elsevier.com                                      climate change programme back on course.
                                                                                                                                                                        involve collecting data in three       for dealing with the mass of          Working closely with Skanska’s                     ● Bidding in collaboration with
Addressing the dilemma that past earnings and                                                                    w www.ippr.org.uk/home
                                                         Adrian Caldart, Lecturer in Marketing and                                                                      time intervals from CBS’ web           information generated.                executive vice president, Mike                     the National Institute for
growth isn’t always an accurate indicator of
                                                         Strategic Management, has co-authored a                 Howard Davis, Principal Research Fellow and            panel of users of twenty-two new                                             Putnam, Bob and Roy first                          Economic and Social Research
future performance, the chapter outlines an                                                                                                                                                                    ● Professor Bob Johnston of
                                                         chapter The Roles of the Corporate Level in the         Research Manager of the Local Government               media and entertainment                                                      interviewed Skanska senior                         (NIESR), SKOPE has won the
eight step guide to ‘a satisfactory model that                                                                                                                                                                 the Operations Management
                                                         Internationalization Process of the Firm in the book    Centre, has collaborated on The changing role of       products and services. The first                                             managers to identify exemplars:                    contract to complete the UK leg
allows us to value the effect of alternative futures                                                                                                                                                           group has teamed up with ex-
                                                         Creating Value From Global Strategy, edited by          Audit Commission inspection of local government –      wave of data collection is now                                               organisations that, in their                       of a major comparative research
for the company under analysis.’                                                                                                                                                                               WBS colleague, Roy Staughton,
                                                         Africa Ariño, Pankaj Ghemawat and Joan Enric            driving improvement or drowning in detail? a report    completed and the complete                                                   opinion, had been successful at                    on low-paid work in Europe.
w www.pearsoned.co.uk                                    Ricart, published by Palgrave, Macmillan.                                                                      results are expected to be                                                   developing long-term                               The SKOPE/NIESR bid beat off
                                                                                                                 published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Andrew Sturdy
Margi Levy, Senior Lecturer in Information               w www.palgrave.com                                      External inspection is seen as one of the most         available by May 2005.                                                       relationships. This involved                       competition from the Centre for
Management, Operational Research &                                                                               important ways of improving the performance of                                                                                      several visits to construction sites,              Economic Performance at the LSE.
                                                         Catherine Mitchell and Bridget Woodman,                                                                        ● Professor Andrew Sturdy of




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nexus: spring 2005
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     including the Stratford Box                        Caroline Lloyd, IRRU, will be
Information Systems Group (ORIS) has jointly             Centre for Management under Regulation                  local authorities and other public service             IROB, has begun a new research
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Junction for the channel tunnel                    working on the project with
published Strategies for Growth in SMEs, exploring       (CMuR), have published The Burning Question: Is         providers. This study analyses the major changes       project with Dr Chris Grey of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     rail link and the Swiss Re building                research teams in the UK, France,
the role of information and information systems          the UK on Course for a Low Carbon Economy. They         that have taken place in the Commission’s              the Judge Institute at Cambridge,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (often referred to as the Gherkin)                 the Netherlands, Germany and
(IS) concepts in SMEs, published by Elsevier             assess specific policies to increase energy             approach to inspecting local government                which will examine the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     in the City of London.                             Denmark.
Information Systems Series. This considers the           efficiency and renewable energy deployment              services since 2001. w www.jrf.org.uk                  management and organisation of

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  05
profile
                                                                                                                                                                                      Professor Harry Scarbrough is Director of the ESRC

                                                                                                                                                                                      Evolution of Business Knowledge (EBK) Programme at




people power
                                                                                                                                                                                      WBS. He was previously Professor and Research Director,

                                                                                                                                                                                      University of Leicester Management Centre. He is a

                                                                                                                                                                                      founder member of the IKON research centre and the

                                                                                                                                                                                      Knowledge and Innovation Network (KIN) at WBS. He is

                                                                                                                                                                                      also Director for the ESRC-funded major research

by Professor Harry Scarbrough Director, ESRC Evolution of Business Knowledge Programme                                                                                                programme on the ‘Evolution of Business Knowledge’

                                                                                                                                                                                      (www.ebk.research.org), principal investigator for ESRC's

                                                                                                                                                                                      project on ‘The capture and transfer of project based



A       s any HR or Personnel manager will tell

            you, the phrase ‘our people are our

greatest asset’ is guaranteed to provoke hollow
                                                                       customers. Or it might be a more specific

                                                                       problem of a lack of key technical skills.

                                                                       The problem for organisations in this position
                                                                                                                             Faced by different problems, these firms came up

                                                                                                                             with very different solutions. The ones that saw

                                                                                                                             themselves fighting a war for talent concentrated
                                                                                                                                                                                      learning’. Harry is Associate Editor for the British Journal

                                                                                                                                                                                      of Management as well as The Information Society. He has

                                                                                                                                                                                      done consultancy work on knowledge management for

laughter from many employees – even more                               then is not that they can’t recognise the impact      their efforts on small elite groups of managers          major multinational firms and public sector organisations.

than when silver-tongued managers say that                             of people’s skills, but that those skills are too     and technical specialists. The performance and
                                                                                                                                                                                      Research interests: management of knowledge and learning




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Professor Harry Scarbrough
they are going to ‘free up your future’ (i.e. you’re                   subtle or diverse to really register in management    careers of these individuals were scrutinised by
                                                                                                                                                                                      in organisations; role of social networks in innovation
sacked) or invite you to ‘take ownership of your                       systems that are designed for standardisation and     internal panels of executives every bit as
                                                                                                                                                                                      processes; role of links between internal and external
career’ (you’re still sacked). The reality is that too                 control. The result is that managers find, even       exhaustively as the contestants on ‘Pop Idol’. In
                                                                                                                                                                                      networks of expertise in advancing IT innovation.
few firms pay more than lip service to the                             when they want to, they cannot treat employees        contrast, the big retailers we involved in a much

phrase, and too many employees feel that their                         as an asset because they lack the tools that would    wider campaign to tap into the expectations and

skills are consequently under-valued, or not even                      allow them to make good on their intentions.          motivations of thousands of employees up and

recognised. Henry Ford once said that he only                                                                                down the country. This required the creation of
                                                                       A recent study we did for the CIPD (Chartered
wanted to hire ‘hands’ – he wanted his workers                                                                               new specialist teams to survey and monitor the
                                                                       Institute of Personnel and Development) looked
                                                                                                                                                                                  map and monitor employee skills in a systematic       But, most firms are not at the extremes. They are   Sometimes the results are not as dramatic as this,
to leave their brains at the factory gate.                                                                                   attitudes of large numbers of employees.
                                                                       at a range of companies that were grappling with                                                           way. The analogy here is maybe with Arsenal or        in the middle ranges where the contribution that    but are experienced mainly by customers who
As too many firms continue to follow this line
                                                                       these problems1. ln the study we found that           Not all the organisations we studied devoted         Manchester United in the football world. Like         employees make to performance is ambiguous.         find, for instance, that the relocation of their
of thinking, the gap between words and deeds
                                                                       firms had devised a number of ingenious ways to       such efforts to mapping their skills base, though.   those teams, organisations such as our City firm      This is dangerous territory because managers do     bank or utility firm’s call-centre overseas hasn’t
remains enormous.
                                                                       make their people’s skills more visible and so        In some cases, this was not surprising.              find that the most important competitive skills       not always have a good sense of the importance      done a lot for the local knowledge of the
But if words alone are not going to fill the gap,                      more valued. The methods devised depended on          These were organisations that competed                                                                     of employee skills and commitment. Seeing the
                                                                                                                                                                                  are clearly demonstrated in play, and through                                                             call-centre staff.
maybe some hard realities of business life will.                       the business problems they were facing. Some          primarily through the quality of their processes.                                                          world in a top-down way means that certain
                                                                                                                                                                                  the results that individuals achieve. It follows
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        kinds of skill – the kind that come from            In this middle ground then, the need for
True, people are certainly not the only asset of                       high tech firms, for example, were finding it         As a result, the major concern of managers was       that such firms do not feel a need to develop
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        learning-by-doing and which are not always          organisations to be attuned to the skills and
organisations and not always the most                                  acutely difficult to recruit and retain people with   to ensure that their employees had the skills        elaborate methods of auditing skills across
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        reflected in formal qualifications – get            commitment of their employees may not be so
important, at least in competitive terms.                              the right mix of technical and commercial skills      required by the process. In other cases, however,    the organisation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        overlooked. As a result, executives may be too      obvious. Managers do not have to possess the
Yet, despite this, organisations of all shapes and                     at the very top of the organisation. Such people      the results of the research were more surprising.
                                                                                                                                                                                  It would be wrong, however, to see this example       ready to get rid of certain groups of people, or    talents of Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger to
sizes are awakening to the realisation that the                        were in short supply and these firms were             A good example was the City firm we studied,
                                                                                                                                                                                  as evidence that organisations can get away           outsource their work to cheaper workers outside     succeed. But, increasingly, their organisations
skills and motivation of employees – as well as                        fighting a ‘war for talent’ to identify and then      where top management freely admitted that the
                                                                                                                                                                                  without any clear assessment of their employees’      the company. As apparently found in the             do need to acquire some of those qualities
the way they are managed – can make a huge                             hang onto these high fliers. In some big retail       firm’s performance was utterly dependent on
                                                                                                                                                                                  skills, capabilities and motivations. Certainly, as   privatisation of some of the old public sector      if they are to succeed – and, in the process,
difference to their performance. This difference                       firms, on the other hand, the problem was more        the skills of a small group of fund managers.        described above, there are situations at the          jobs such as railway maintenance or hospital
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            get a better understanding of the true




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              nexus: spring 2005
may come from a variety of sources – it might be                       about getting a better understanding of how           Despite this, and the emphasis which                 extremes of the range where this may be               cleaning, this kind of top-down and cost-driven
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            capabilities of their people.
simply (or not so simply) a question of the way                        employee attitudes and morale affected their          management placed on recruitment and                 defensible – where skill is either a poor second      thinking has sometimes resulted in a disastrous
staff in front-line jobs are motivated to deal with                    service offering.                                     retention, the firm made very little attempt to      to process, or is absolutely critical to success.     fall in the quality of services.


1
    Reported in People Management, 23 Jan, pp. 32-35 and the Human Resource Management Journal, 14, 4, 21-40.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              07
developing key
business skills                                                                                                                                                                                                            it’s all about you




                                                                                                                                                               Dr Scott G Dacko
by Dr Scott G Dacko Lecturer, Marketing and Strategic Management Group                                                                                                                                                               by Barbara Oldridge (FMBA 1992-93), UK HR Director, Research International


W
         hat are the key business skills our           individual efforts towards understanding            Still another important point can be made                                  n 25 working years I have had three          slices. Many of us – me included – prefer a
         MBA students want to develop?
         Clearly, they should be those skills
they consider to be valuable in their careers.
                                                       and ultimately mastering an important
                                                       element of business. They are also learning
                                                       to fully immerse themselves in formulating,
                                                                                                           about skill development. Are the skills that
                                                                                                           our students seek to develop the same ones
                                                                                                           that their future employers consider equally
                                                                                                                                                                                  I   distinct careers and there have been times
                                                                                                                                                                                      when I have wondered quite how that has
                                                                                                                                                                                  happened. When I look back, I realise that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   more serendipitous approach but without
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   some idea of where you are headed, you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   won’t get very far.
Yet, it is often not clear which of the many           structuring, and implementing processes             important to develop? Interestingly, the                               just about everyone I have ever worked with
skills the students wish to develop are                involved to achieve larger goals, which often       answer to that question is, not always. In                             or hired who I have really rated has applied
considered by them to be the most important.           may not be clearly defined at the outset.           fact, WBS research over the past two years has                         the same few key principles to the
And are the skills that our students seek to                                                               found that the top skill employers seek in our
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   4 Stay flexible
                                                       When asked to rate their starting and ending                                                                               development of their own skills and to their




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Barbara Oldridge
develop the same ones that their future                                                                    graduates is not decision making, but initiative                                                                        Even if you do have a career or skills
                                                       skill levels for each, it is found that, on                                                                                career in general. I’m convinced these
employers consider equally important?                  average, students considered their ending           – the ability to get things done. (Decision                                                                             development roadmap, be willing to divert
                                                                                                                                                                                  principles withstand the tests of time, fad
If the MBA programme is to serve the needs             skills to be significantly higher than their        making is rated 4th on the list by business                                                                             if something different comes along. I had a
                                                                                                                                                                                  and fashion and apply in pretty much every
of our students and their future employers,            starting skills – as one would hope would be        employers). Rated 10th on the list by students,                                                                         Eureka! moment during my first term as a
                                                                                                                                                                                  economic, corporate or cultural climate.
where should the programme be placing                  accomplished in a one-year MBA programme.           initiative is therefore a key skill our students
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Warwick MBA student, while sitting in a
its emphasis?                                          At the same time, however, when students            must learn to value and develop more fully
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   financial analysis lecture on intangible assets.
                                                       were asked to comment on the actual                 if they are to really succeed in their careers by                      1 It’s your life                                                                                    likely to get employer support for your
A recent survey of 92% full-time MBA students                                                                                                                                                                                      By the end of that one lecture, I had decided      efforts). If you cannot make that fit – move
                                                       emphasis placed on skill development                getting in the organisation’s door in the first                        Take personal responsibility for where you
who finished their studies in September 2004                                                                                                                                                                                       to switch careers from Marketing to HR. I          somewhere where you can.
                                                       compared to their desired emphasis, it is           place. At the same time, students must also
contains many of the answers. Rating a list                                                                                                                                       are going, for what you need and want to         thought it had paid off when, at this year’s
                                                       observed that emphasis on all skill areas           recognise that many organisational agendas
of 22 key business skills ranging from                                                                                                                                            learn as you go along. If you don’t think it’s   Institute of Directors HR Conference, one of
                                                       significantly fell short of their initial           for maximising their use of MBA talent may
analytical to written communication skills,                                                                                                                                       important to give time and effort to             the key messages was ‘if you are an HR
the top ten skills they seek to develop during
                                                       expectations. Interestingly, results from past      not coincide with their own expectations at
                                                                                                                                                                                  developing your skills and figuring out where    Director and haven’t got an MBA – get one!’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Learning should be like a good meal
                                                       surveys indicate that student expectations for      this stage of their career development.
the full-time programme are shown below,                                                                                                                                          and how your career is going, you can’t          Yet there are a tiny number of Warwick             – plenty and varied. Aim to develop skills
                                                       skill development do not vary from the


                                                                                                           profile
along with the ten programme areas which                                                                                                                                          expect anyone else to.                           MBAs working in HR (around 1% of the MBA           through non-work activities which you can
                                                       beginning of the year to the end. That is,
they rated the highest in terms of usefulness                                                                                                                                                                                      alumni population). So it is about spotting        then apply to your career – and vice versa.
                                                       they come out of an MBA programme with
for skill development.
                                                       the same views as they entered in terms of                                                                                                                                  a good opportunity, even if it is not in           I try and incorporate the learnings I get as
These views clearly suggest that the most              wanting to develop the key skills they                                                                                     2 Understand yourself                            your plan.                                         the parent of two small children into my
useful areas for developing the business skills        consider a priority. Collectively, these findings                                                                                                                                                                              work. For instance, I find the ‘distraction’
                                                                                                              Dr Scott G Dacko is a Lecturer in                                   Listen with your eyes as well as ears. How
students want and need are the ‘hands-on’              suggest that the MBA programme has room                                                                                                                                                                                        technique always works on colleagues who
                                                                                                              Marketing and Strategic Management at                               people react to you is as important as what
areas of the MBA programme. Each of these              for improvement in striving to ensure its
                                                                                                              WBS. He holds a PhD in Business
                                                                                                                                                                                  they will tell you. Listen with courage and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   5 It is possible to be both                        have a very low boredom threshold. And I’m
are areas where the student is learning to             students get the most out of skill development
                                                                                                              Administration from the University of
                                                                                                                                                                                  with commitment, so that you can genuinely
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Jack-of-all-trades and master                      sure the time management skills I have
interact actively with others to accomplish an         opportunities – a view that is consistent with
important effort or initiative but also where he       the performance of numerous other MBA
                                                                                                              Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and MBA
                                                                                                                                                                                  change as you need to. And you will not be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   of something                                       acquired during my career could be more
                                                                                                              and BME degrees from the University of                                                                                                                                  usefully applied to my home life!
or she is learning to critically focus their           programmes worldwide.                                                                                                      the same five years from now – keep check-       Being a career specialist is absolutely fine,
                                                                                                              Minnesota. He has ten years’ new product
                                                                                                                                                                                  ing so that your self-perception doesn’t stand   but breadth is what’s critical now – across        These seven principles are not the only ones,
                                                                                                              development, management, and marketing
                                                                                                                                                                                  still. It can get harder to do this as you get   geographies, business functions, and industry      but they are a good start. Nor are they easy
     Top ten skills                                  Top ten programme areas                                  experience in large and small companies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      to apply, either together or separately. But in
                                                                                                                                                                                  older, but all the more reason to keep at it.    sectors. The MBA is about the best support
 1   Decision making                             1   Summer project and dissertation                          in the US. His research interests include
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   you can get to help make that happen.              today’s and tomorrow’s environment of local
                                                                                                              skill development in business and
 2   Oral communication                          2   Cross-cultural communication and interactions                                                                                                                                                                                    or regional skills shortages, coupled with an
                                                                                                              marketing education as well as the role of
 3   Leadership                                  3   Oral presentations                                                                                                                                                                                                               increasingly global workforce and, for many
 4   Interpersonal skills                        4   Classroom discussions and debates
                                                                                                              timing in marketing strategy development                            3 Know where you are going                                                                          of us, the prospect of working ten or twenty
 5   Teamworking                                 5   Individual written assignments
                                                                                                              and success for services and products
                                                                                                                                                                                  This doesn’t necessarily mean having a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   6 Understand the key issues facing                 years longer than we planned, these




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    nexus: spring 2005
 6   Negotiation                                 6   Classroom lectures
                                                                                                              (e.g. market entry and new product/service
                                                                                                                                                                                  detailed 15-year career plan. In my first job,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   your industry and your organisation                principles can help you make your career or
                                                                                                              introduction timing), marketing
 7   Analytical                                  7   Participation in case studies                                                                                                I was horrified to hear a colleague say he       then work out how to fit your skill and career     your careers last as long as you choose, rather
                                                                                                              management (e.g. managerial timing
 8   Time management                             8   Independent research and analyses                                                                                            had such a plan, mapped out in two year          needs in with those issues (you are more           than any employer dictates.
                                                                                                              decisions), and consumer behaviour
 9   Planning and organising                     9   Informal gatherings with classmates
                                                                                                              (e.g. explaining consumer purchase timing).
 10 Initiative                                   10 Syndicate group work
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    09
nexus: spring 2005
11
Nexus Spring 2005
Nexus Spring 2005
Nexus Spring 2005
Nexus Spring 2005
Nexus Spring 2005
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Nexus Spring 2005

  • 1. warwick business school alumni association magazine: spring 05 the career development issue
  • 2. spring 2005 WBS news: rankings rise Another two business school rankings have new postgraduate been published since the last issue of Nexus. www.wbs.ac.uk/alumni/nexus.cfm The most recent was in the influential Financial Times Executive MBA rankings when diploma launch 2–5 WBS news WBS jumped 17 places from 35th to 18th in 6 People power: the world, making it 7th in Europe and 4th in Professor Harry Scarbrough the UK. The top three in the UK are all based Senior civil servants in central government will be able to fast track to 8 Developing key business skills: in London, which means WBS is the top chartered accountancy status in less than two years on completion of a Dr Scott G Dacko business school outside the capital. new and unique programme, launched in November by the Chartered In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2004 9 It’s all about you: Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and WBS, Barbara Oldridge (FMBA 1992-93) full-time MBA ranking published in Which following consultation with HM Treasury. MBA? on 7 October, WBS rose 20 places to 12 Measuring the ROI in training: Upon successful completion of a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Finance 30th in the world from 50th, to 10th in Europe Hedda Bird (DLMBA 1991-98) and Leadership and CIPFA’s Final Test of Professional Competence, the from 16th, and to 4th in the UK from 10th. 13 The changing meaning of skill: postgraduates will become full CIPFA members. The joint programme will Jonathan Payne, SKOPE Professor Howard Thomas, Dean of WBS, sharpen the knowledge and skills of experienced senior civil servants, further announced: ‘This is great news for both staff 14 Training to add value: helping them contribute to improved financial management in central Manny Coulon (FMBA 1998-99) and all our students at WBS, it is also great government. This is a key area for improvement identified by the Prime news for our 18,000 former students working 16 Inside the CDC: Minister as part of the improved efficiency agenda in the public sector. around the world – a vindication that they Elaine Hewens, Director studied at one of the best business schools in 18–23 Alumni focus the world’. launch of Warwick board appointments diary visiting scholars scheme As part of the School’s international strategy to strengthen links with leading global business schools, the new Warwick Visiting Scholars Scheme was launched to fellow members at the for Dean Professor Howard Thomas, Dean of WBS, has been re-elected to the Board of the European in the news: MSOR PROJECT EVENING The past 12 months have seen WBS appearing Communications, concludes, ‘The coverage we profiled in The Guardian on teaching and 31 January, 6pm to 8pm Partnership in International Management (PIM) conference in Foundation for Management Hong Kong in October. Development (efmd) and elected more in the national media than for the receive is good quality. The subjects on which researching football management, and was MBA PROJECT EVENING previous year, an increase of around 10% – we are reported reflect the broad platform of interviewed (again) in French on Radio France 16 February, 5pm to the Board of the new Global The scheme has been set up to encourage international activity at WBS – both teaching and research, on Manchester United’s takeover problems. Foundation for Management a good outcome for the efforts of the PUBLIC AND VOLUNTARY SECTOR NETWORK academics to spend between one and six months at WBS with people and reports, all are reflected in our 18 February Education (sponsored by efmd Communications Office team. The School the object of creating a mutually beneficial exchange of ● David Poulter, currently studying for an and AACSB). appeared in national press and business media coverage.’ MAIR/MAEIR REUNION knowledge and practice. MSc in MAOS, featured in a London Evening 25 February, 6pm magazines on average 25 times each month, ● Dr Jim Arrowsmith, Senior Research Standard article discussing his research into not counting the web sites of these national WBS FORUM Fellow and Lecturer in Industrial Relations and creating more effective environments for 7 March, 6pm publications, and also improved considerably Personnel Management, wrote a four page training and meetings. SINGAPORE EVENT on its international coverage, particularly in article for People Management entitled 18 March, 6.30pm LEHMAN BROTHERS’ EVENT Professor Brian Houlden 1926-2004 the USA. In particular, research at WBS has received ‘Working time in Europe’ on how moves in Europe on working hours and pay have ● Dr Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor whose research into how transport and carrier organisations manage tourists but have to 22 March, 12pm to 2pm We are sorry to announce Professor Robin Wensley, who was Chair of WBS media coverage and enquiries on a truly wide impacted on the role and influence of unions. plan with the threat of terrorism always in the WBS ANNUAL DINNER the death of Brian between 1989 and 1994, and is now Professor of 22 April range of issues – the leisure and music ● Dr Catherine Mitchell, Principal Research background is raising a lot of interest – not Houlden, a founding Policy & Marketing at WBS, and Director of the industry, similarities between tourism and MBA RECRUITMENT FAIR Fellow and Deputy Director of the Centre for only from The Guardian but also from the FBI! father of the School and ESRC-EPSRC Advanced Institute of Management terrorism, working hours and the influence of 27 April Management under Regulation (CMuR) has one of its longest-serving Initiative, gives this tribute: unions, government policy on nuclear versus ● Research by Dr Andrew Burke of the WBS MBA GALA DINNER been in the spotlight recently, with a BBC TV professors. Brian Houlden Enterprise Group, on the future of the music 12 November ‘Brian brought to Warwick his experience of environmentally friendly energy, training and film crew at her workshop on environmentally worked at the School of Industrial and Business industry, really hit the spot in the USA, where working in industry with a commitment to high skills matching between school-leavers, friendly energy sources for managers and REGIONAL EVENTS Studies, as it was first known, from 1966 (the he received coverage from 33 regional or state academic standards. He played a key role in the graduates and recruiters, football government officers from the developing London (First Friday) School was formally instituted in 1967) until 1993. newspapers and web sites. development of a School committed to both management, management of sales teams, world. Catherine was also interviewed on 4 February Together with the founding Vice-Chancellor of research and practice: building strong links with customer service, small business, local nuclear power for the BBC World Service and ● WBS Professor of Marketing, Nigel Piercy North-West Warwick, Lord Jack Butterworth, Brian was local and regional business but at the same time government, management of the radio had an article published in The Guardian caught the attention of the USA’s Marketing 8 March instrumental in setting up the School and served also sustaining professional and academic interests.’ spectrum, and corporate social responsibility, on the argument against the use of nuclear News magazine, with his joint research on nexus: spring 2005 as its first Chairman until 1973. During his to name a few. power to solve energy needs while considering sales management teams and how they are For more information on forthcoming events, Professor Brian Houlden, check the web site chairmanship, WBS established the broad base climate change and the environment. best rewarded in different cultures. died 23 November 2004, aged 78. In addition to research coverage, WBS receives w www.wbs.ac.uk/alumni/ of teaching which is one of its strengths today, forthcoming.cfm covering undergraduate, postgraduate, and A full obituary appears on the WBS web site. regular coverage on its teaching programmes ● Dr Sue Bridgewater, Marketing & WBS alumni have also been featured in the post-experience degrees. w www.wbs.ac.uk/news/features/houlden.cfm and faculty. Vin Hammersley, Director of Strategic Management Group (MSM) was media (see details on pages 22-23). 03 Designed by Parenthesis +44 (0)24 7622 9658
  • 3. The accreditation process is designed to help improve the quality of an a message from the Dean world (three places above Harvard). Some of your fellow alumni provide accommodation is the principal catalyst for the next phase of building research review WBS staff are active in advising businesses, governments and other organisations on a wide variety institution’s output; both for the thoughts on their Warwick education works at WBS, due to start in May students and participants on its and the value of continuous personal 2005 (for more information see p18). of matters varying from environmental issues to stock market options. The impact which our research courses and for global practitioners of development for career progression. At the end of January 2005 we will has is considerable, not only on the academic community but also on the wider world. business and management, be that This is a theme that the School has welcome a new cohort of WBS employers or academe. One of the been pursuing for many years and, Here are just a few of the research projects currently in progress at WBS: alumni at the Warwick Winter Degree key principles that WBS prides itself apart from post-experiential degrees Congregation. I’m sure that you will upon is that, far from being an ivory (MBA & MPA), WBS is a leading Over the last twelve weeks of 2004 make them welcome at future events tower, it bridges the gap between its provider of executive education my colleagues at WBS have been and I look forward to seeing more of ● People in developed countries Bletchley Park during World War 5* research and practice. It delivers through its open programmes for putting together our re-accreditation you as the alumni network goes from spend a significant proportion of Two. A great deal of research knowledge that is grounded in individuals, and tailored courses for submission for the European Quality strength to strength. their time and effort on leisure has considered the military practical relevance. organisations. Improvement System (EQUIS). and entertainment activities. significance of Bletchley Park and In November, we received the sad This is the leading international This edition of Nexus discusses the In an increasingly competitive job However, little is known about its role in the development of news of the death of Professor Brian system of quality assessment, skills needs of employers and how market many undergraduates are the long-term impact of new computers. However, the way Houlden, a founding father of the improvement, and accreditation for WBS is continuously evolving its looking to find a competitive media products such as Tivo, MP3 this complex organisation was Business School and one of its longest business schools provided by the offering to enable its graduates to advantage. A specialist Master’s and Microsoft Media Centre on held together has not been serving professors. European Foundation for further their careers through degree from WBS gives employers the Roy Staughton & Bob Johnston surveying construction work on the channel tunnel rail link the entertainment behaviour of systematically examined. Management Development (efmd). developing those skills. added confidence when making their As we go to press, I wish to express individuals and households. The year-long project is receiving hiring decisions. To provide a natural our sadness at the tragic loss of life financial support from the Warwick Business School is proud to Our track record to date is impressive: to undertake some leading-edge Bob added, ‘We were taken up route of progression for our own caused by the earthquake and Qing Wang have been the first UK business WBS undergraduates were heralded Nuffield Foundation and has tsunami in the Indian Ocean on research into business-to-business the Swiss Re building during its undergraduates as well as the enthusiastic backing of the school to gain this accreditation in by The Guardian as being ‘the most relationships. Supported by construction. We went up in the strengthening our portfolio, we will 26 December and to convey our Bletchley Park Trust. As well as 2000 and to have been able to add it employable’ in an employer survey construction giant Skanska, Bob builders’ lift and toured the 34th be accepting applications for three deepest sympathy to the families drawing on the massive archive to our two other main international 18 months ago. The January 2004 and Roy have set about trying to floor while it was open to the new Master’s degrees starting in and friends of those affected. at the Trust, interviews will be accreditations from the Association Financial Times ranking of the understand the nature of elements. Not having a good October 2005: MSc in Marketing & conducted with former employees. of MBAs (AMBA) – UK, and the world’s top 100 full-time MBA relationships in the construction head for heights I was terrified’. Strategy, MSc in Information Systems It is a particularly appropriate Association to Advance Collegiate programmes showed that 87% of industry – well known for its & Management, and MSc in Finance. that this project is being The research involved Schools of Business (AACSB), making Warwick MBA graduates were reputation for adversarial conducted from Cambridge interviewing managers from the us the first triple accredited business employed three months after This increased postgraduate activity In 2004, Dr Qing Wang of MSM relationships, delayed completions University which supplied exemplar organisations using an school in the UK. graduation – placing us 18th in the and the need for more teaching secured funding from the and budget overspends. Bob many of the codebreakers, appreciative approach. Analysis Marketing Science Institute for explains, ‘Few industries suffer including Alan Turing. of the data provided a detailed her innovative research project more from conflict than understanding of the nature of, entitled ‘The determinants of use of The project is not simply of construction and consequently, and barriers to developing, long- really new products’. For the first historical interest, however. the industry as a whole term relationships and resulted in two terms in the current Bletchley Park can be seen as a can gain great benefits by an analytical framework, the academic year she is working as a prototype for today’s knowledge- developing constructive, long- hot off the press Relationship Explorer, which they visiting scholar at Fuqua School intensive organisations, and the term relationships’. have subsequently used with of Business, Duke University, to research will identify lessons for This research has so far lasted managers in several sectors to carry out research in collaboration these organisations. Of particular two years, with further work help them evaluate relationships with co-authors of this project. interest is how Bletchley Park Ken Bates and Mark Whittington, Lecturers applicability of IS theory and practice to SMEs while cutting emissions, offering an overview of currently underway in very and identify, as well as frame, The project is sponsored by CBS, managed to combine individual in Accounting & Finance, have contributed a and develops new theories that are relevant to the issues that government must address and different sectors, including the need for improvements in one of the largest media creative flair and, indeed, genius chapter on Forecasting Financials to the third these firms. recommending practical policies to put the sports sponsorship. business-to-business relationships. companies in the US, and will with highly routinised procedures edition of FT Handbook of Management. w www.elsevier.com climate change programme back on course. involve collecting data in three for dealing with the mass of Working closely with Skanska’s ● Bidding in collaboration with Addressing the dilemma that past earnings and w www.ippr.org.uk/home Adrian Caldart, Lecturer in Marketing and time intervals from CBS’ web information generated. executive vice president, Mike the National Institute for growth isn’t always an accurate indicator of Strategic Management, has co-authored a Howard Davis, Principal Research Fellow and panel of users of twenty-two new Putnam, Bob and Roy first Economic and Social Research future performance, the chapter outlines an ● Professor Bob Johnston of chapter The Roles of the Corporate Level in the Research Manager of the Local Government media and entertainment interviewed Skanska senior (NIESR), SKOPE has won the eight step guide to ‘a satisfactory model that the Operations Management Internationalization Process of the Firm in the book Centre, has collaborated on The changing role of products and services. The first managers to identify exemplars: contract to complete the UK leg allows us to value the effect of alternative futures group has teamed up with ex- Creating Value From Global Strategy, edited by Audit Commission inspection of local government – wave of data collection is now organisations that, in their of a major comparative research for the company under analysis.’ WBS colleague, Roy Staughton, Africa Ariño, Pankaj Ghemawat and Joan Enric driving improvement or drowning in detail? a report completed and the complete opinion, had been successful at on low-paid work in Europe. w www.pearsoned.co.uk Ricart, published by Palgrave, Macmillan. results are expected to be developing long-term The SKOPE/NIESR bid beat off published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Andrew Sturdy Margi Levy, Senior Lecturer in Information w www.palgrave.com External inspection is seen as one of the most available by May 2005. relationships. This involved competition from the Centre for Management, Operational Research & important ways of improving the performance of several visits to construction sites, Economic Performance at the LSE. Catherine Mitchell and Bridget Woodman, ● Professor Andrew Sturdy of nexus: spring 2005 including the Stratford Box Caroline Lloyd, IRRU, will be Information Systems Group (ORIS) has jointly Centre for Management under Regulation local authorities and other public service IROB, has begun a new research Junction for the channel tunnel working on the project with published Strategies for Growth in SMEs, exploring (CMuR), have published The Burning Question: Is providers. This study analyses the major changes project with Dr Chris Grey of rail link and the Swiss Re building research teams in the UK, France, the role of information and information systems the UK on Course for a Low Carbon Economy. They that have taken place in the Commission’s the Judge Institute at Cambridge, (often referred to as the Gherkin) the Netherlands, Germany and (IS) concepts in SMEs, published by Elsevier assess specific policies to increase energy approach to inspecting local government which will examine the in the City of London. Denmark. Information Systems Series. This considers the efficiency and renewable energy deployment services since 2001. w www.jrf.org.uk management and organisation of 05
  • 4. profile Professor Harry Scarbrough is Director of the ESRC Evolution of Business Knowledge (EBK) Programme at people power WBS. He was previously Professor and Research Director, University of Leicester Management Centre. He is a founder member of the IKON research centre and the Knowledge and Innovation Network (KIN) at WBS. He is also Director for the ESRC-funded major research by Professor Harry Scarbrough Director, ESRC Evolution of Business Knowledge Programme programme on the ‘Evolution of Business Knowledge’ (www.ebk.research.org), principal investigator for ESRC's project on ‘The capture and transfer of project based A s any HR or Personnel manager will tell you, the phrase ‘our people are our greatest asset’ is guaranteed to provoke hollow customers. Or it might be a more specific problem of a lack of key technical skills. The problem for organisations in this position Faced by different problems, these firms came up with very different solutions. The ones that saw themselves fighting a war for talent concentrated learning’. Harry is Associate Editor for the British Journal of Management as well as The Information Society. He has done consultancy work on knowledge management for laughter from many employees – even more then is not that they can’t recognise the impact their efforts on small elite groups of managers major multinational firms and public sector organisations. than when silver-tongued managers say that of people’s skills, but that those skills are too and technical specialists. The performance and Research interests: management of knowledge and learning Professor Harry Scarbrough they are going to ‘free up your future’ (i.e. you’re subtle or diverse to really register in management careers of these individuals were scrutinised by in organisations; role of social networks in innovation sacked) or invite you to ‘take ownership of your systems that are designed for standardisation and internal panels of executives every bit as processes; role of links between internal and external career’ (you’re still sacked). The reality is that too control. The result is that managers find, even exhaustively as the contestants on ‘Pop Idol’. In networks of expertise in advancing IT innovation. few firms pay more than lip service to the when they want to, they cannot treat employees contrast, the big retailers we involved in a much phrase, and too many employees feel that their as an asset because they lack the tools that would wider campaign to tap into the expectations and skills are consequently under-valued, or not even allow them to make good on their intentions. motivations of thousands of employees up and recognised. Henry Ford once said that he only down the country. This required the creation of A recent study we did for the CIPD (Chartered wanted to hire ‘hands’ – he wanted his workers new specialist teams to survey and monitor the Institute of Personnel and Development) looked map and monitor employee skills in a systematic But, most firms are not at the extremes. They are Sometimes the results are not as dramatic as this, to leave their brains at the factory gate. attitudes of large numbers of employees. at a range of companies that were grappling with way. The analogy here is maybe with Arsenal or in the middle ranges where the contribution that but are experienced mainly by customers who As too many firms continue to follow this line these problems1. ln the study we found that Not all the organisations we studied devoted Manchester United in the football world. Like employees make to performance is ambiguous. find, for instance, that the relocation of their of thinking, the gap between words and deeds firms had devised a number of ingenious ways to such efforts to mapping their skills base, though. those teams, organisations such as our City firm This is dangerous territory because managers do bank or utility firm’s call-centre overseas hasn’t remains enormous. make their people’s skills more visible and so In some cases, this was not surprising. find that the most important competitive skills not always have a good sense of the importance done a lot for the local knowledge of the But if words alone are not going to fill the gap, more valued. The methods devised depended on These were organisations that competed of employee skills and commitment. Seeing the are clearly demonstrated in play, and through call-centre staff. maybe some hard realities of business life will. the business problems they were facing. Some primarily through the quality of their processes. world in a top-down way means that certain the results that individuals achieve. It follows kinds of skill – the kind that come from In this middle ground then, the need for True, people are certainly not the only asset of high tech firms, for example, were finding it As a result, the major concern of managers was that such firms do not feel a need to develop learning-by-doing and which are not always organisations to be attuned to the skills and organisations and not always the most acutely difficult to recruit and retain people with to ensure that their employees had the skills elaborate methods of auditing skills across reflected in formal qualifications – get commitment of their employees may not be so important, at least in competitive terms. the right mix of technical and commercial skills required by the process. In other cases, however, the organisation. overlooked. As a result, executives may be too obvious. Managers do not have to possess the Yet, despite this, organisations of all shapes and at the very top of the organisation. Such people the results of the research were more surprising. It would be wrong, however, to see this example ready to get rid of certain groups of people, or talents of Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger to sizes are awakening to the realisation that the were in short supply and these firms were A good example was the City firm we studied, as evidence that organisations can get away outsource their work to cheaper workers outside succeed. But, increasingly, their organisations skills and motivation of employees – as well as fighting a ‘war for talent’ to identify and then where top management freely admitted that the without any clear assessment of their employees’ the company. As apparently found in the do need to acquire some of those qualities the way they are managed – can make a huge hang onto these high fliers. In some big retail firm’s performance was utterly dependent on skills, capabilities and motivations. Certainly, as privatisation of some of the old public sector if they are to succeed – and, in the process, difference to their performance. This difference firms, on the other hand, the problem was more the skills of a small group of fund managers. described above, there are situations at the jobs such as railway maintenance or hospital get a better understanding of the true nexus: spring 2005 may come from a variety of sources – it might be about getting a better understanding of how Despite this, and the emphasis which extremes of the range where this may be cleaning, this kind of top-down and cost-driven capabilities of their people. simply (or not so simply) a question of the way employee attitudes and morale affected their management placed on recruitment and defensible – where skill is either a poor second thinking has sometimes resulted in a disastrous staff in front-line jobs are motivated to deal with service offering. retention, the firm made very little attempt to to process, or is absolutely critical to success. fall in the quality of services. 1 Reported in People Management, 23 Jan, pp. 32-35 and the Human Resource Management Journal, 14, 4, 21-40. 07
  • 5. developing key business skills it’s all about you Dr Scott G Dacko by Dr Scott G Dacko Lecturer, Marketing and Strategic Management Group by Barbara Oldridge (FMBA 1992-93), UK HR Director, Research International W hat are the key business skills our individual efforts towards understanding Still another important point can be made n 25 working years I have had three slices. Many of us – me included – prefer a MBA students want to develop? Clearly, they should be those skills they consider to be valuable in their careers. and ultimately mastering an important element of business. They are also learning to fully immerse themselves in formulating, about skill development. Are the skills that our students seek to develop the same ones that their future employers consider equally I distinct careers and there have been times when I have wondered quite how that has happened. When I look back, I realise that more serendipitous approach but without some idea of where you are headed, you won’t get very far. Yet, it is often not clear which of the many structuring, and implementing processes important to develop? Interestingly, the just about everyone I have ever worked with skills the students wish to develop are involved to achieve larger goals, which often answer to that question is, not always. In or hired who I have really rated has applied considered by them to be the most important. may not be clearly defined at the outset. fact, WBS research over the past two years has the same few key principles to the And are the skills that our students seek to found that the top skill employers seek in our 4 Stay flexible When asked to rate their starting and ending development of their own skills and to their Barbara Oldridge develop the same ones that their future graduates is not decision making, but initiative Even if you do have a career or skills skill levels for each, it is found that, on career in general. I’m convinced these employers consider equally important? average, students considered their ending – the ability to get things done. (Decision development roadmap, be willing to divert principles withstand the tests of time, fad If the MBA programme is to serve the needs skills to be significantly higher than their making is rated 4th on the list by business if something different comes along. I had a and fashion and apply in pretty much every of our students and their future employers, starting skills – as one would hope would be employers). Rated 10th on the list by students, Eureka! moment during my first term as a economic, corporate or cultural climate. where should the programme be placing accomplished in a one-year MBA programme. initiative is therefore a key skill our students Warwick MBA student, while sitting in a its emphasis? At the same time, however, when students must learn to value and develop more fully financial analysis lecture on intangible assets. were asked to comment on the actual if they are to really succeed in their careers by 1 It’s your life likely to get employer support for your A recent survey of 92% full-time MBA students By the end of that one lecture, I had decided efforts). If you cannot make that fit – move emphasis placed on skill development getting in the organisation’s door in the first Take personal responsibility for where you who finished their studies in September 2004 to switch careers from Marketing to HR. I somewhere where you can. compared to their desired emphasis, it is place. At the same time, students must also contains many of the answers. Rating a list are going, for what you need and want to thought it had paid off when, at this year’s observed that emphasis on all skill areas recognise that many organisational agendas of 22 key business skills ranging from learn as you go along. If you don’t think it’s Institute of Directors HR Conference, one of significantly fell short of their initial for maximising their use of MBA talent may analytical to written communication skills, important to give time and effort to the key messages was ‘if you are an HR the top ten skills they seek to develop during expectations. Interestingly, results from past not coincide with their own expectations at developing your skills and figuring out where Director and haven’t got an MBA – get one!’ 7 Learning should be like a good meal surveys indicate that student expectations for this stage of their career development. the full-time programme are shown below, and how your career is going, you can’t Yet there are a tiny number of Warwick – plenty and varied. Aim to develop skills skill development do not vary from the profile along with the ten programme areas which expect anyone else to. MBAs working in HR (around 1% of the MBA through non-work activities which you can beginning of the year to the end. That is, they rated the highest in terms of usefulness alumni population). So it is about spotting then apply to your career – and vice versa. they come out of an MBA programme with for skill development. the same views as they entered in terms of a good opportunity, even if it is not in I try and incorporate the learnings I get as These views clearly suggest that the most wanting to develop the key skills they 2 Understand yourself your plan. the parent of two small children into my useful areas for developing the business skills consider a priority. Collectively, these findings work. For instance, I find the ‘distraction’ Dr Scott G Dacko is a Lecturer in Listen with your eyes as well as ears. How students want and need are the ‘hands-on’ suggest that the MBA programme has room technique always works on colleagues who Marketing and Strategic Management at people react to you is as important as what areas of the MBA programme. Each of these for improvement in striving to ensure its WBS. He holds a PhD in Business they will tell you. Listen with courage and 5 It is possible to be both have a very low boredom threshold. And I’m are areas where the student is learning to students get the most out of skill development Administration from the University of with commitment, so that you can genuinely Jack-of-all-trades and master sure the time management skills I have interact actively with others to accomplish an opportunities – a view that is consistent with important effort or initiative but also where he the performance of numerous other MBA Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and MBA change as you need to. And you will not be of something acquired during my career could be more and BME degrees from the University of usefully applied to my home life! or she is learning to critically focus their programmes worldwide. the same five years from now – keep check- Being a career specialist is absolutely fine, Minnesota. He has ten years’ new product ing so that your self-perception doesn’t stand but breadth is what’s critical now – across These seven principles are not the only ones, development, management, and marketing still. It can get harder to do this as you get geographies, business functions, and industry but they are a good start. Nor are they easy Top ten skills Top ten programme areas experience in large and small companies to apply, either together or separately. But in older, but all the more reason to keep at it. sectors. The MBA is about the best support 1 Decision making 1 Summer project and dissertation in the US. His research interests include you can get to help make that happen. today’s and tomorrow’s environment of local skill development in business and 2 Oral communication 2 Cross-cultural communication and interactions or regional skills shortages, coupled with an marketing education as well as the role of 3 Leadership 3 Oral presentations increasingly global workforce and, for many 4 Interpersonal skills 4 Classroom discussions and debates timing in marketing strategy development 3 Know where you are going of us, the prospect of working ten or twenty 5 Teamworking 5 Individual written assignments and success for services and products This doesn’t necessarily mean having a 6 Understand the key issues facing years longer than we planned, these nexus: spring 2005 6 Negotiation 6 Classroom lectures (e.g. market entry and new product/service detailed 15-year career plan. In my first job, your industry and your organisation principles can help you make your career or introduction timing), marketing 7 Analytical 7 Participation in case studies I was horrified to hear a colleague say he then work out how to fit your skill and career your careers last as long as you choose, rather management (e.g. managerial timing 8 Time management 8 Independent research and analyses had such a plan, mapped out in two year needs in with those issues (you are more than any employer dictates. decisions), and consumer behaviour 9 Planning and organising 9 Informal gatherings with classmates (e.g. explaining consumer purchase timing). 10 Initiative 10 Syndicate group work 09