I participated this month in a conference on "Profits and Social
Values – Closing the Gap” organized by Fundaçao dom Cabral, a Brazilian member
of the Global Business School Network. Pedro Passos, the Founding Partner of
Natura (a major cosmetic producer committed to protecting the environment) and
I sat on a panel moderated by Gilberto Dimenstein, a Brazilian journalist. Dimenstein commented that there has been a lot of criticism of business
schools for destroying social values; could I defend them?
My response focused on the fact that better-managed firms are
more likely to generate social value. This is clear when one thinks of a
poorly-run company – when they are limping along they are unlikely to generate
lots of jobs or be willing or able to protect the environment.
Not only is the quality of management correlated to economic and
social progress, but it is also a driver of change. This is what recent
economic research conducted in more than twenty countries shows.
Unsurprisingly, more managers with college degrees are found in the better-managed
companies, supporting the idea that management education contributes to economic
and social progress.
Incidentally, government policies, for example foreign trade or
labor policies, have a huge impact on the quality of management. Policies that discourage
competition among firms also reduce incentives to improve the quality of their
I consider the immense social value of well-managed companies, from the
smallest start-up to multinational corporations, I am energized to continue the
important work that GBSN is doing to build management education capacity
through our network and programs. Just
think of the wasted potential in human productivity that comes not from lack of
ideas or passion, but simply a failure to implement good business
practices. It is absolutely essential
that quality, locally relevant management education be accessible in developing
nations if their businesses are to thrive.
Guy Pfeffermann is the CEO and founder of the Global Business School Network.