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Developing Leadership

Developing Leadership
Questions Business Schools Don't Ask

Edited by:

Other Titles in:
Critical Management | Leadership

June 2015 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

What kind of a leader do you want to become? 

The role of business schools in developing future managers and leaders has long been scrutinised and critiqued. This has been exacerbated by the recent financial crisis and many books have been written that condemn business schools for producing leaders who graduate without the ability to respond to the changing world around them, innovate, or act in a responsible way.

By way of remedy this provocative book takes the critique and debate further, proposing a number of ethical and spiritual resources including Heiggarian philosophy, classical Greek philosophy, and the Maori notion of wairua.  It explores existing teaching practices and suggests ways that business schools can:

  • Encourage a greater understanding of different world views
  • Introduce different perspectives such as the arts, philosophy and spirituality
  • Encourage the practice of responsible and ethical leadership
  • Nurture innovation and creativity.

Developing Leadership is accompanied by filmed seminars exploring the central debates, and interviews with the expert team of contributors. 

'A rare thing, this book gives more than the label promises. The title is about "questions", yet each chapter gives us answers to why important issues are not addressed in business schools – and what to do about it. This is a manifesto for reform, and the next big question is what will you, reader, do about it?' - Professor Jonathan Gosling, Director, Centre for Leadership Studies, University of Exeter, UK, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership Development, INSEAD, France

Christopher Mabey and Wolfgang Mayrhofer
1. Introduction: What kind of leader are you becoming?
Part 1: How do business schools prepare students for leadership?
Tim Harle
2. Questioning Business Schools
Aidan Ward and Wolfgang Mayrhofer
3. Questions business schools are unable to ask
Ricky, Yuk-Kwan Ng
4. Preparing Managers for ‘Exile’ at Work? The Hong Kong Experience
Yuliya Shymko
5. The forgotten humanness of organizations
Rapporteur: Jerry Biberman
Part 2: How robust are the theoretical and moral assumptions of business schools?
Molly Scott Cato
6. Is economic growth a force for good?
Ken Parry & Audun Fiskerud
7. Can leadership be value-free?
David Beech
8. Do business schools create conformists rather than leaders?
Andrew Henley
9. Business Schools, Economic Virtues and Christian Theology
Leah Tomkins
10: Can our bodies guide the teaching and learning of business ethics?
Rapporteur: JC Spender
Part 3: Ethical leadership: philosophical and spiritual approaches
Karen Blakeley
11. Inspiring responsible leadership in business schools: can a spiritual approach help?
Mervyn Conroy
12. Is it possible to learn ethical leadership? MacIntyre, Zizek and the recovery of virtue.
Hugo Gaggiotti and Peter Simpson
13. Classical Greek Philosophy and the Learning Journey
Pare Keiha and Edwina Pio
14. For whose purposes do we educate? Wairua in Business schools
Rapporteur: Laurence Freeman
Part 4: Reclaiming a moral voice in business schools: some pedagogic examples
Rickard Grassman
15. Were business schools complicit in the financial crisis and can classical French literature help?
Doirean Wilson
16. Why is it important for leaders to understand the meaning of respect?
Phil Jackman
17. The contemporary relevance of the Hebrew wisdom tradition
Pamsy Hui, Warren Chiu, John Coombes, and Elvy Pang
18. Do business schools prepare students for cosmopolitan careers? The case of Greater China
Mary Hartog and Leah Tomkins
19. Can an ethic of care support the teaching and management of change?
Daniel Doherty
20. Management blockbusters: is there space for open dissent?
Rapporteur: David W. Miller
Coda: Reflections on the Book, Its Genesis and Its Impact

A rare thing, this book gives more than the label promises. The title is about ‘questions’, yet each chapter gives us answers to why important issues are not addressed in  business schools - and what to do about it. This is a manifesto for reform, and the next big question is what will you, reader, do about it?

Jonathan Gosling
Professor of Leadership, University of Exeter

Reading this book makes you think about leadership and, most of all, educating potential leaders! The book builds on an astonishing multiplicity of theoretical, philosophical and spiritual traditions, providing the reader with a critical understanding of leadership processes – including moral responsibilities and accountabilities. 

Jörg Sydow
Professor of Management, Freie Universität Berlin

Exploring the intrinsic link between spirituality, ethics and business, is a critical step in ensuring the unified vision of individuals, institutions of society and the community, to achieve a harmonious and sustainable future.  It is incumbent upon us all to become the ‘agents of change'.

Soheil Abedian
Chairman of Sunland Group, Australia

This is a very timely publication. Business school education needs a critical examination from people who inhabit that world and know what they're talking about. The presence and prominence of teleological, spiritual and ethical perspectives are especially welcome.

Richard Higginson
Director of Faith in Business, Ridley Hall, University of Cambridge

This collection of readings is an excellent antidote to what can be seen as the ignominy of our age – the relentless and unremitting proliferation of corporate scandals culminating but not ceasing with the 2008 global financial crisis. More specifically, it focuses on one of the travesties of the modern university – the incapacity of business schools to challenge the myopic economic instrumental values of business.  By raising problems and possible solutions to questions that business schools rarely ask, it facilitates a debate that could help to challenge the inadvertent complicity of higher education to sustain and reproduce an unenlightened individualistic self seeking managerial cadre. It provides an illuminating insight into current business school and business practices and their failures to provide a more enlightened ethical leadership that would benefit both students and practitioners of business as well as society more generally.

David Knights
Professor of Organisation Studies at Lancaster University Management School and Open University Business School

This book is a badly needed, but underestimated - and perhaps unwanted? - wake-up call for main stream business schools, which are providing smooth, normative, maple syrup flavoured managerialist answers to important, current and future leadership challenges. The book will help academics, students and practitioners to get out of the inner paradigmatic prison, where answers are provided, before the questions are raised, where socially desirable rhetoric shade for critical questioning, and where "what's in it for me?" repress important societal, ethical considerations.  

Henrik Holt Larsen
Professor of Human Resource Management, Institute for Organisation, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

We live in interesting times. Wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a very small elite, while the dispossessed are complicit because they have made money their god. We are racing towards cataclysmic collapse, as infinite growth is not possible when we live on a finite planet. Within this aberration Business Schools have become the servants of corporate power. Thinking is seen as dangerous because it threatens power, and ethics is equally subversive within materialistic consumerism. Without challenging the idea of business this book asserts that universities at least ought to be asking questions. However speaking truth to power is not easy when universities themselves have become just another corporate business. This book is vast and complex in its scholarship, with something for everyone. Enjoy and be challenged.

Tony Watkins
Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects

‘The authors have undertaken a courageous exploration of the ills that never seem to go away in the capitalist model. Courageous because the authors examine their own roles in perpetuating those ills.  It is an important book which I hope the leaders of business schools and leaders of business will read.‘

Vincent Neate
Head of Sustainability, KPMG

‘This book is music to my ears. There has long been a desperate need to be critically reflexive about the paradigm of leadership and management promoted by business schools, and I delight in the fact that this collection of narratives aims to pick the lock of this 21st century psychic prison. This is a long overdue and must-read book.’  

Patrick Goh
Head of Global Human Resources, Tearfund

Finally! For too long the role of business education, and the MBA as its global flagship, has remained shockingly unquestioned in today’s crisis of enterprise and economics. This book has to be highly commended for its collaborative, crosscultural courage, reviewing and renewing not only the underlying assumptions of business and business education, but also for tapping deeply into an impressive variety of philosophical, ethical, cultural and spiritual resources of humanity as vital ingredients for a much needed transformation of an entire discipline and practice.  Developing Leadership’s main merit is to be a well-composed, deeply substantiated and profoundly challenging “door opener” to a crucial debate – to be held across borders, cultures, disciplines and institutions. It is an example and urgent invitation for co-engagement between management educators, business students and practitioners alike. Congratulations!

Alexander Schieffer
Co-Founder, TRANS4M Center for Integral Development, Geneva, Switzerland

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