was born of the conviction that better management at the level of
organizations (companies, NGOs, and yes, governments) is conducive to economic
progress – that economic and social development would get a boost if the
shortage of local management talent were not as acute as it is today in most of
the developing world. Hence, GBSN is positioned at the intersection of
management education and development.
say "conviction," because when we established GBSN a decade ago, there had been
no research to underpin this intuition. Since then, thanks to one group of
researchers, major advances were made in gathering empirical data which makes
it possible to test the proposition that "management matters. Thanks to
detailed information about some 15,000 firms in 30 countries, we can say now
with certainty that the quality of management is strongly related to standards
of living. Not only that, but research shows that improved management
practices are a driver of national development. Altogether, differences in a country’s average
management quality account for about 25 percent of productivity differences
– a huge amount. You can find the surveys and analyses at www.managementsurvey.org.
A big gap in our knowledge
remains, however: there is virtually no empirical research to date about the
impact of business education on the quality of management.
Yet finding out what business school alumni contribute to society – meaning not
only their levels of remuneration but also the jobs they create, the
innovations they introduce, the firms they create and grow. Why does this
knowledge gap exist, when it would be quite easy and inexpensive to conduct
follow-up surveys of business school graduates? I asked an eminent
faculty that question a few years ago, who said: "it is because management
school faculty tend to believe that the positive impact of business education
is obvious” and requires no research.
the development community –funders, emerging markets governments themselves,
philanthropists, etc. - are to embed management education, and especially
building local capacity for management education, into their standard
"development tool kit”, which they have not done to date, it is absolutely
necessary to adduce evidence of positive impacts. My New Year resolution is to change this state of affairs, and find
ways to encourage researchers to focus on the impact of business education in
the developing world. If, as I expect, initial research shows the impact to
be positive and substantial, it will then clearly be in the self-interest of
business schools across the world to undertake such surveys as part and parcel
of their own marketing efforts.
that thought, and on behalf of Team GBSN, I extend my very best wishes for you
and your families.
Guy Pfeffermann is the Founder & CEO of the Global Business School Network.