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Literature Review – Business Schools Role in Society sample essay


Since 2007, the people of this planet have been living on 150 percent of its natural resource capacity (WWF, 2010). Increase in consumption does not show any signs of slowing down, as a consequence of emerging third world countries. The role that business schools play in this situation and its importance cannot be understated (Financial Times, 2010). In order to save this planet, we need to create a sustainable business environment, where corporations put ethics and social responsibility in front of profits. We need to switch the focus of all businesses from shareholders to stakeholders. Can this actually be taught? Or do governments need to legislate such actions?

This topic is especially interesting because of the weight of our future that lies within this. If we do not change the way we teach students about core values of our society, the future of our planet may become very undesirable.

These sources were acquired mainly from the EUR sEURch engine, as well as reading several articles from global news agencies in order to grasp a certain overview of this topic. *
* Literature Investigation
* Addressing Concerns Raised by Critics of Business Schools by Teaching Multiple Approaches to Management (Dyck, B et al. 2011) 0 This article is a study about two ways of teaching management at classroom level. The article mentions concerns from other researchers about the way management is being taught in today’s universities. The authors argue that today’s students have a materialistic-individualistic point of view during their studies, and that these characteristics are consolidated during their time in the business study.

These arguments are supported by an experiment. The authors indicate that there is flaws in the way business schools teach, and therefore actions should be taken. Others reject this and say management is an objective science. * This article might help to understand how business schools can change in order to make students more focused on stakeholders and ethics than shareholder profits.

The article was published in a journal called Business and Society Review. It holds many references, where three of them are from Harvard Business Review. It was published 2011, therefore its currency cannot be questioned. Arguments are supported by an experiment. However, only one experiment was conducted which included a relatively small sample.

The role of business schools in society (Cornuel, E 2005)

The main subject of this article is very closely related to arguments stated in the introduction. It underlines the important role that business schools play to raise awareness of corporate social responsibility. It briefly mentions the need of humbleness in today’s business schools.

Published in The Journal of Management Development in 2005, the importance and relevance of this article has become more of a current interest after it was published. Although the arguments are logical, this source does not provide sufficient support for its arguments. However, it does discuss interesting points and views within the subject. The author is Eric Cornuel, an Affiliate Professor at HEC, and Director General & CEO of EFMD.

The non-profit turn and its challenges for business schools (Cornuel, E & Kletz, P 2011) Here, the researchers describe the challenges that business schools are facing today. Aiming towards the increase in demand for managers with an education in non-profit organizational management. The increase in large foundations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for example) is supposedly one of these demand shifters. The recent financial crisis is also argued to be one of the reasons for the movement towards education for non-profit and sustainability management at top business schools.

There are two different models in how to change the curriculum in order to fill this need. The Double Standard Model, which argues that non-profit organizations should be managed differently than ordinary businesses, while the Business-Driven Model argues the opposite. Same author as in the previous source, Eric Cornuel, together with Pierre Kletz, Mandel Leadership Institution, Jerusalem, Israel. This research paper was published in the Journal of Management Development in 2011. This source gives meaningful insights to how and why business schools should make changes in their curriculum.

Strategy & Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility (Porter, M & Kramer, M R 2006) This article was published in the Harvard Business Review in 2006. It is about how corporations can benefit from corporate social responsibility, instead of seeing it solely as a cost. One of the two authors is Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, one of the world’s most famous economists. This source is highly reliable because of two reasons. 1. Reputation of the author. 2. For the fact that it was published in one of the world’s most prestigious journals. It provides useful information for my future arguments, when it comes down to what business schools and businesses can gain from increasing CSR, and thereby improving global sustainability.


These articles all have one common argument. Business schools have to change. The disagreements lie in how this change should be executed, and what result that is to be expected from it (Financial Times, 2008). They all agree that business schools have a major impact on society, and therefore a great responsibility. Most researchers focus on how corporations must change, consequently leading to a change in demand for young managers with special skills in that area. Hence provoking the change of the business schools curriculum. This could be seen as delegating the responsibility of change to those corporations.

As shown in the recent financial crisis, greed can make top executives act unethically, with no sense of corporate social responsibility. Should corporate social responsibility be legislated in order to achieve global sustainability? What role do business schools play in this? How can business schools act to ensure a positive future for our planet?


WWF 2010. Human demand outstrips nature’s supply, viewed 14 April 2012, Financial Times, 2010. Schools ignore sustainability revolution, viewed 17 April 2012,

Dyck, B et al., 2011, ‘Addressing Concerns Raised by Critics of Business Schools by Teaching Multiple Approaches to Management’, Business and Society Review, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp. 1 – 27, viewed 17 April 2012, retrieved from Wiley Online Library database.

Cornuel, E 2005, ‘Role of Business Schools in Society’, The Journal of Management Development, Volume 24, Issue 9, p. 819, viewed at 17 April 2012, retrieved from ABI/INFORM Complete database.

Cornuel, E & Kletz, P 2011, ‘The non-profit turn and its challenges for business schools’ Journal of Management Development, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp. 483 – 491, viewed at 17 April 2012, retrieved from ABI/INFORM Complete database.

Porter, M & Kramer, M R 2006 ‘Strategy & Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility’, Harvard business review, Volume 84, Issue 12, p. 78, viewed at 17 April 2012, retrieved from Business Source Premier database. Financial Times, 2008. The importance of sustainability, viewed 16 April 2012,

Self Reflection

I approached the writing of this essay by and initial review if my previously submitted work, in order to grasp the full context, but also to see where I wanted to go and remind myself of the opinions I had while writing. I mostly free wrote for quite some time, and then later putting it all together with more approvable sentences in an academic sense.

My biggest struggle was to get all the sources together to create some sort of an overview of the topic, since many of the articles were devoted to certain specific topics. I (hopefully) overcame this by reading a lot of different sources, and making connections to my own topic. I learned that starting an essay by free writing is the best approach for me personally, although a lot of time has to be dedicated to editing in the end, especially in the sense of making it all stick together as a whole piece.


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