Research Article: 2018 Vol: 21 Issue: 2S
Dmitry V. Kuzin, Financial University (Russia), European Council for Business Education (Belgium)
Rapid changes associated with the new technological revolution and globalization, which are to a great deal base on the digitalization, are changing the competences that business is looking for when searching for new employees and leaders. Their development urges constant changes in general and entrepreneurship education. The previous model of “industrial education” with its standards, practices, approaches, formats, skills and competences will not fit the new reality. More than half of the present jobs will not exist over the next 10-15 years, the face of industry will be different, and the paradigm of management is changing. There is a lot of evidence that business community is searching for new and different approaches to solve contemporary problems and to face these new challenges. For educational institutions it is important to adapt their study programs to the changing needs of the labor market and to restructure their curricula to ensure that graduates are able and willing to use the knowledge gained in the practice. This article addresses several challenges facing entrepreneurship educators-own knowledge, experience and competences of educators, the essence and the ways of teaching, future demands of business community. The answers to these challenges will allow them to teach competitive and demanded graduates and thus increase their own competitiveness.
Global Competences and Skills, Changes, New Thinking, World Challenges, Entrepreneurship Education/Educators, Learning, New Socio-Economic Paradigm.
Changes became the major constant of the present time and they have changed dramatically. People are facing different generation of people and completely different world with new drivers, problems, risks, and opportunities. Actually authors live in a very complex, rapid, volatile, unpredictable, risky and rather controversial world. Being honest, people don’t understand much of it, and it’s rather difficult to predict the future and its needs. Obviously it’s more difficult than ever to face these challenges and to manage these changes. But doing this people have to remember the words of Albert Einstein when he used to say that a new unknown phenomenon or a problem can’t be understood or sold at the present level of thinking. His other well-known remark states that the biggest foolishness is to make something in the same way and hope to have a different result.
All above is a big challenge not only to business itself but to entrepreneurship education as well. Here author refer to entrepreneurship education in a broad sense–starting from undergraduate level in economics, finance or international studies where the initial business thinking is formed. Many observers and critics of current entrepreneurship education indicate that business schools and particularly the (Master of Business Administration) MBAs are seen as being too closely aligned with the thinking that has led to many current problems and that the degrees being offered are not supplying the skills needed–skills such as thinking and interpreting rather than simply analyzing, developing understanding and intuition rather than being rigidly fixated on particular subjects or topics (Glick, 2016; Nikitina & Lapina, 2017; Why There is a Crisis in Business Education, 2014).
One of the influential business guru Tom Peters in his book “Re-imagine” says: “We need, then, new business models, new methods for war fighting, new ideas about the progressions of careers in the absence of employment security, and, perhaps the apex of it all, brand new approaches to education in an age where value is based on intellectual capital and creativity, not the height and girth of one’s smokestacks. Added up, it’s a time for wholesale re-imaginings” (Peters, 2003). And he suggests re-imagining the business context, new technology, values, brands, markets, job, people, and responsibilities.
All above is a matter of new trends in business education like digitalization, experimental learning, individualization of programs, and specialization of degrees to mention a few (6 Trends That Will Change Business Education In, 2017). It will require developing new competences via new curriculum, ways, formats and quality of teaching, new internships, etc. (Fernández-Nogueira et al., 2018). But first of all people have to change their own thinking and knowledge as teachers and then try to change the thinking and skills of our students. The goal of the article is to stress the changes in contemporary business education to ensure better quality of the learning outcomes and reveal several most important challenges facing business teachers.
This research is an analysis of key universal competences: Internationalization, Comfort with dissonance, Multicultural leadership and behavior, Digitalization and human factor.
Note that Entrepreneurship educators are different–they are individuals and institutions with variety of knowledge, ideas, experience, techniques, etc. Despite these differences between them and their system of evaluation some basic criteria of their success as teachers or institutions are common, including:
– Relevance to contemporary world problems and contemporary business needs.
– Complexity of education (not just business training).
– Broad, systemic, open and multidimensional vision of reality and the future.
– Ability to understand different situations and contexts, to reveal concealed drivers of changes and personal behavior going far beyond definite skills and formal competences.
– Effectiveness in terms of practical applicability and demand of learning outcomes by current and future employers.
– Personal competitiveness on the market as well as the competitiveness of their graduates.
– Ethical socio-oriented thinking and behavior.
From the analysis of criteria that are essential for successful entrepreneurship education development, four problems were put forward that are worthy of education and business discussing. These problems are touched upon below, in Results and Discussion.
Global Competences: What is Needed?
The issue of global competences in education on different levels currently is widely addressed and discussed but still there is no single definition of global competence (Deardorff, 2013). Even the notion of globalization can mean different things to different people. It can mean innovation and higher living standards for some-but it can also contribute to social division and economic inequality (Schleicher, 2016). The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which has 4 years ago launched the project on teaching global competences of 15+ year old people uses the following definition: “Global competence is the capacity to examine local, global and intercultural issues, to understand and appreciate the perspectives and world views of others, to engage in open, appropriate and effective interactions with people from different cultures, and to act for collective well-being and sustainable development” (The OECD PISA Global Competence Framework, 2018). Four dimensions of this definition are strongly interdependent and overlapping, and the building blocks of global competence are knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. Let’s try to apply this approach to business education.
If a look taken at the determinants of current transformation of society and direction of the world future development over the next 10-15 years at least 4 key business oriented topics must be addressed. Within these topics several most important competences and skills will be needed, just to mention a few of them.
• Understand the importance of contemporary international business issues.
• Understand modern global competitiveness in a rapidly changing world.
• Understand new technological, financial, ecological and other standards and new system of global management.
• Understand the multicultural environment of successful companies, and possess intercultural sensitivities preparing them to flourish in that atmosphere.
• Understand the essence and practice of national/regional/global innovation ecosystems.
• Ability to work effectively as a part of multinational/multicultural teams.
Comfort with Dissonance
• Capacity to adapt and be flexible in new, difficult, changing and challenging situations.
• Function well in multiple, dissonant, and diverse environments.
• Ability to work with complexity.
• Possess broad vision and innovative spirit.
• Ask critical questions about diverse business practices.
• Learn quickly.
Multicultural Leadership and Behavior
• Effective and cooperative team play.
• Take initiative and risks.
• Communicate despite barriers.
• Understand cultural differences and similarities.
• Handle stress.
• Identify problems and utilize available resources to resolve them.
• Highly developed cross-cultural communication skills combined with ability to motivate others.
• Awareness, understanding, and empathy for different ideas and ways of doing things.
• Nurture wisdom-based leadership.
Digitalization and Human Factor
• Understand digitalization of all aspects of lives and of economic activity.
• Ability to work with big data: big data mining, analysis and visualization.
• Understand modern ICT technologies and their application, new man-machine interaction.
• Ability to use and see limitations of artificial intelligence.
• Understand new business intelligence and security issues in the new digital reality.
World Economic Forum alerts the educational systems to focus on the “fourth industrial revolution” that brings us advanced robotics and autonomous transport, artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced materials, biotechnology and genomics, by 2020. These developments will transform the way people live, and the way people work and the way people run their business. Some jobs will disappear, others will grow and jobs that don’t even exist today will become commonplace. Besides demographic and socio-economic drivers of changes the other major one is technological (Figure 1). What is certain is that the future workforce will need to align its skillset to keep pace and be competitive.
Figure 1: Technological Drivers Of Changes In The Future Of Jobs And Skills
Source: World Economic Forum, 2016.
But what is important when author address all these issues. Are people well prepared for these changes as business educators in particular? People need new approaches to multicultural, intercultural, global and digital education. All need to be open to unpredictable, uncertain, unknown and currently invisible. All have to consider new business occupations that will be most demanded over the next 10-15 years and those that will not exist anymore as well as the new global professional standards for these occupations. And it’s just a few challenges.
First Challenge: Our Own Knowledge, Skills and Experience
It is especially important when people are dealing with such things as complexity, uncertainty, casualty and risks. And what is most important is that complexities and uncertainties expand faster than our capabilities to deal with them. Here lies the major strategic challenge because it’s a future, its threats as well as opportunities. And people have to be prepared for this future. And thus people need teaching of complexity and how to deal with complexity without common threat. In an increasingly complex world people must cope with many unexpected issues and unforeseen events, increasing business risks, but also creating potential new opportunities. People need teaching of a “big picture overview” and strategic open and non-orthodox thinking instead of narrow focused and short term perception of things and events and their vision.
But how could people build the capabilities for that? Who are the teachers and what’s their role in building such capabilities? The ideal future-oriented teacher must focus the students on the unknown which is still the largest area to reveal and understand despite tremendous growth of knowledge since the late XX century (Figure 2). Even the notion of knowledge gets the new meaning. The truly successful managers, leaders and educators of the future will be characterized not by how they can access information and knowledge, but by how they can access the most relevant information, differentiate it from the exponentially multiplying masses of non-relevant information and how they generate new knowledge.
But too often people are trying to teach using the thinking, ways of knowing and models of the XX century where most of us got the education from our teachers, books (even published in the early 2000’s) or some contemporary business experience but anyway referred to the past. But in the past people lack or even don’t have answers to the future problems. People cannot anticipate learners to prepare for the world of tomorrow if our learning environments and processes remain unchanged and if they reflect values and societal organization of the past (Global Education Futures, 2018). Are people sure that our knowledge baggage is enough to be in line with new trends and challenges? If people are lacking enough capabilities and knowledge about the modern world could people teach or manage effectively? What shall people do to prepare future generation for these tremendous changes, to the new “future shock” if you will? How could people educate ourselves to be in line with the new trends and to change the socio-economic paradigm from industrial to knowledge-based and then to wisdom-based? Nobody doubts that people have worth of knowledge and wisdom, which is influential thinking driver for present business and education. But is it enough for the future? My answer as well as the answers of many business educators is “no”.
Second Challenge: What and What for People Are Teaching
Once I’ve seen an interesting comparison of management education practice. Traditional foundation courses for Bachelors or core courses for MBA’s who have no basic management knowledge were compared with standard Big Mac. People can buy and eat it everywhere, but the question remains–whether it’s healthy if you eat it day by day? The analogy is clear. Nobody will doubt that people need basic teaching in any field, rational and logical thinking. But people can’t solve the current and future problems using only well-known tools, formal logic, just linear thinking, methods and models, etc. And again it’s definitely the challenge for teachers; it’s a matter of new competences, new knowledge, new thinking and new teaching.
Since the business education practice in Russia is comparatively short people still very often hear from our students (especially MBA’s) that everything is fine with what you are telling us and teaching, most of it is valuable, interesting, and applicable but the reality is often different since people are in Russia (Aksenov et al., 2017). And it’s a special case. Abstract theory and even more advanced business concepts and models don’t work in the same way as in the Western world with the advanced market economy. Business cases might help. Definitely adapted to contemporary particular situations and practice they are good and valuable tool but they are not panacea as any other tool. But probably the major problem with them as well as with the success stories lays again in the past experience achieved by concrete persons and companies, in the concrete situations under specific circumstances, factors and conditions. Then the logic of success is more important.
Even notion of what’s right or wrong is quite questionable. Today’s teaching is not just teaching of right things of the past but to teach thinking different. The Dean of Graduate School of Business of Moscow State University Oleg Vikhansky used to say: “Good education helps the student to understand the world around; excellent education helps first of all to understand yourself in this world, and more important it puts the challenges for students and directs them to unknown, to personal knowledge and personal decisions.” (Vikhansky, 2014:2011). In this respect teaching to put the right and timely questions is more important than giving the “right” answers to old questions.
Rational logic has to be supplemented with essence of irrational emotional behavior (Ariely, 2008:2010). So in our teaching people have to make a big shift from old to new values and apply them to business educational since they are more and more demanded. People have to put more meaningful questions like “why” and “what for” instead of “what” and “how”. Thus people will build new paradigm of meaningful management (Kuzin, 2014:2015). People have to be more acute capable to analyze what is seen but not visible. The real creativity starts beyond the frontiers of right and wrong, and it’s a different dimension (Figure 3).
Business educators are dealing with different management frameworks. If the world is changing, then have to talk about different management (Kuzin, 2014) and different business education. The well-known American management thinker Gary Hamel called it “the new invention of management” or new management DNA M2.0 of the XXI century (Hamel & Breen, 2007; Hamel, 2012).
First of all Authors as educators have to understand and appreciate this change. Can get this knowledge either from our professional activity as researchers and from our practical experience as business people, consultants and experts. And have teach our students accordingly to change their managerial thinking from static to dynamic, from narrow to wide and system vision, from purely rational to irrational, to emotional and non-linear thinking, from ad hoc and incremental approaches to thinking and performing in a different way.
Thus a systematic process for business teaching as well as for producing bold management breakthroughs in the future of our students must include at least the following:
1. Commitment to big management problems since the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity for innovation and the bigger the breakthrough.
2. Search for new principles that illuminate new approaches. Any problem that is pervasive, persistent, or unprecedented is unlikely to be solved with hand-me-down principles. Novel problems demand novel principles and paradigms.
3. A deconstruction of management orthodoxies. To fully appreciate the power of a new management or some other principles (including educational), one must loosen the grip that precedent has on his/her imagination.
While some of what is believed may be scientific certainty, much of it is not. Painful as it is to admit, a lot of what passes for management or general wisdom is unquestioned dogma masquerading as unquestionable truth. How could uncover this orthodoxy? People could apply very simple approach. Pull together a group of colleagues, and ask them what they believe about some critical management education issues like change, innovation, leadership, employee engagement, etc. Once everyone’s beliefs are out on the table, identify those that are held in common. And you will definitely reveal the orthodoxy and you will be able to distinguish between what is apparently true and what is eternally true (Hamel, 2006).
Third Challenge: The Needs and Demands of Future Business
Major business challenges for the 21st century can be grouped into at least five categories related to new technologies, evolving market forces, human issues, leadership, ethical and socially responsible behavior. All of them require different business education approaches.
Authors have already mentioned above some major business needs of the XXI century related to the first two of them–technologies and market forces. Now moving into the next industrial revolution, driven by digital technologies, new materials, biotechnologies, and renewable energy, where widespread application of artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, and other disruptive technologies will create tremendous impact on shifting the nature of business, learning and work. In the present model of industrial society, around a half of all jobs in the world that have “routine” components can be replaced by the artificial intelligence and robotics, even with existing level of technologies. Furthermore, some technologies such as 3D printing and biotech can disrupt whole industries and supply chains, replacing conveyor-type mass-production economies with adaptive regenerative manufacturing networks (Why There is a Crisis in Business Education, 2014). Accordingly the market forces like growing complexity, volatility, different competition, uncertainty, etc. must be properly addressed by business educators.
The third focus is on people. The demand for meaningful management to the large extend means different attitude to people in organizations, so called “humanization of management”. In the minds of many managers, people issues involve relationships with the staff of an organization. These issues were traditionally addressed as human resources management, not too much different as any other resource management issues. With the advent of the 21st century, these people issues are increasingly establishing themselves at center stage. People are getting different and more knowledgeable. Less than half of the work force in the industrial world will be holding conventional full-time jobs in organizations, every year more and more people will be temporary or part-time self-employed and included in different networks and eco-systems.
In a quickly changing world, talented human capital will be a prime ingredient of business success. Businesses will have to accommodate the shift of power from owners and senior management to knowledge workers, creative thinkers and non-conformists while at the same time professionals will become less concerned with the traditional concept of a career and more interested in what people might term self-fulfillment.
One more issue which seems to be important speaking about people in contemporary business education is related to developing of the “emotional intelligence” with such values as beauty, harmony, empathy, convictions, perceptions, keenness, loss aversion, integrity, sensitivity, tenacity, and even love (Goleman, 1995; Pink, 2006). Another non-traditional area of studies and education is spiritual side of management as any other human activity (Zsolnai, 2015; Palmer & Wong, 2013; Middlebrooks & Noghiu, 2010). Both areas are major attributes and driving forces for building and developing effective communications between people. And here again traditional vector of teaching and then traditional business behavior are too pragmatic and formalized with major focus on achievements and definite assessable results and with rather neutral impartial position and attitude of people making decisions and acting as business communicators.
The forth focus is on new critical leadership competencies. Strategic focus and vision, coupled with a practical sense of when to be flexible and adaptable, will be most critical for survival. An ability to manage multiple points of view simultaneously will differentiate the best managers: to keep the high-level goals in sight while managing and tracking day-to-day success; to understand equally the points of view and needs of the customer and of the organization; to be able to empathize with all stakeholders in order to develop people, foster productive change and keep the spirit of the enterprise vital.
The evolving nature of business conducted by global organizations will also call for a fundamentally different kind of leader. Gone are the days of top-down, hard-nosed direction. Demonstrating flexibility and empathy, while remaining true to the core values of the organization and finding ways to circumvent unpredictable impediments, will be characteristic of tomorrow's leaders. These will be people who are inspirational; technologically savvy but not prone to getting lost in details; entrepreneurial; devoted to service, and inclusive rather than independent or autocratic. Additional key leadership competencies will include: the ability to develop and articulate a value proposition-maintaining it in a dynamic market and energizing others to buy into it; investing in a business model that guides employee decision-making at all levels; committing to a culture that values mentorship and learning while aligning individual and corporate goals, and recognizing what it means to develop and manage truly transformational knowledge systems. The common characteristics of these new leaders are all related to issues that are more focused on the intangible aspects of an organization. Over time, those would-be leaders who are unwilling or unable to demonstrate these leadership behaviors will find themselves with few followers.
The fifth focus is on ethics and corporate social responsibility. Over the last two decades people have evidenced numerous cases of unethical and socially not responsible behavior although at least 50 years these issues are widely discussed, monitored and included in most of business education programs (Wankel & Strachowicz-Stanusch, 2012). For Russian business this issue is very urgent and important given the lack of ethical, CSR and compliance culture, as well as large level of corruption, lack of compliance and often violation of law. But Russia is definitely not the worse and not the only case. Numerous publications stated that the world 2008 crisis had ethical roots among others. And what is really dangerous is so called “normalization of unethical behavior”.
Thus the ideal advanced business teacher have to be at the edge of contemporary knowledge, skills and practice and have to understand the future needs of business.
In light of these 21st century challenges people have to reconsider traditional models and methods for management education, examining how these are evolving and highlighting new approaches. As suggested earlier, the best answer needs to be expressed in terms of the wants and needs of both the employee and the organization and the ways the evolving nature of that relationship will be integral to the success of the enterprise.
Forth Challenge: Alternative Formats, Teaching and Learning Methods
To address the above mentioned challenges of the next era of global business, traditional degree-granting programs and professional schools as well as traditional methods will continue to be necessary, but increasingly not sufficient. To develop professionals for success in a new business and political environment a new educational model will have to be forged. Traditional models fall short in their ability to link the knowledge, skills and concepts covered to the practice of leadership within actual work organizations (Global Education Futures, 2018).
The traditional learning methods most commonly employed in management education provide learning experiences that are inadequate in several respects (Nevins & Stumpf, 1999):
1. They fail to provide accurate, timely feedback on competency development in the areas most germane to success.
2. They are insufficiently people-sensitive and time-sensitive (attributes that are critical in many performance-oriented professions such as litigation and acting).
3. They need to create better practice fields (as in competitive sports) or practice sessions (as in music training) for skill development.
4. They should include lifelike situations, including crises, for learning under pressure (similar to state-of-the-art flight simulators for pilots).
5. They must permit problem-finding and issue diagnosis as a central part of the experience (the learning method used in most professional services firms).
6. They should use master-apprentice relationships in the learning process (as is done in dentistry and medicine as well as in craft trades) so as to guide an effective on-going development process.
7. They need to create mentor-protégé relationships to facilitate continuous learning beyond the formal educational process (like methods used to develop mastery in sports as well as the performing and visual arts).
8. They should threaten a trainee's ego and job security by placing him or her on the firing line to prosper or fail based on decisions and actions (consider survival training for the military or difficult developmental assignments for multinational executives).
In accordance with the aim of the paper, the author suggest entrepreneurship educators take into account several challenges that could arise from the current topical global changes in society, technologies and business to hold leadership in human capital building and development. These challenges are related to current break between past and future knowledge, to the essence of teaching, to anticipated demands of new business and alternative teaching techniques. Effective professional development in the future will focus less on rote learning of tools and study of cases, and more on experiences that guide the learners to ask “what…if” and “what for” type of questions instead of “what” and “how”. Just this simple turn of the focus require significant change in the whole process of business teaching with emphasis on the wider set of topics and different business thinking. From my perspective in the present discussion on new business education far less attention is devoted to business teachers themselves, to their personal professional knowledge, vision of the reality and the future, to their culture and mentality, attitude to change, etc. Taken together these things it matters very much when authors are talking about building new global thinking and competences of the future managers and decision makers.
At the end I’d like to paraphrase the title of the popular book “Funky Business: Talent Makes Capital Dance” and propose the formula: talented and competent educators have to teach talented, intelligent and creative graduates who will make capital dance.
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