Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 4pm

Business School Research Roundup: May 27 2015

Business school weekly news roundup

Kellogg School of Management on authenticity in the workplace

A joint study released by the Kellogg School of Management, Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School has found that people who are ‘inauthentic’ in the work place have more issues relating to their morality than those who don’t:

“In order to be responsive to various demands from customers, coworkers, and upper management, individuals may find themselves behaving in ways that are not consistent with their ‘true self’,” says Maryam Kouchaki, a management and organizations professor at the Kellogg School School of Management, who points to the service industry – where employees often follow precise scripts that say nothing of their true feelings – by way of example.

Participants taking part in a survey set by the Kellogg School professor and her coauthors in the study were asked to describe a time when they felt inauthentic and were then asked to rate their morality to see what types of feelings they associated with that inauthentic experience.

The people who described an inauthentic experience were more likely to associate words that connotate cleansing in their answers, which the researchers claim is related to participants wishing to ‘wash away’ their feelings of impurity.

Record US$100 million donation for UCLA Anderson

The UCLA Anderson School of Management recently received the largest gift in its history, following a US$100 million donation from longtime supporter Marion Anderson and in honor of her late husband from whom UCLA Anderson derives its name. 

Business school donations are said to be an indicator of economic growth and assurance in the US. In the past two months alone, both Boston University School of Management (now the Questrom School of Business) and the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego have received significant donations that total approximately US$150 million.

The school is already named after Marion Anderson’s late husband and undergraduate alumnus, John, following an initial gift made by the couple back in 1987. The announcement of the new US$100m gift has been used to formally launch UCLA Anderson’s next fundraising drive, in which dean Judy Olian hopes to raise US$300m.

“UCLA Anderson has adopted an innovative financial model that depends on private giving. I hope my gift will inspire others to join me and my family in making significant philanthropic investments in UCLA Anderson and UCLA, and in future generations of students and faculty,” Marion Anderson said in a press release.

Collective action by investors leads to better governance

Research conducted by the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found that when institutional investors join forces in collective action to push for change, the companies they target take notice.

The study looked at the track record of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (CCGG), a group of leading Canadian institutional investors, and its private correspondence between this group and targeted companies.

When CCGG implemented collective action, firms were shown to be 17% more likely to adopt policies requiring a majority of shareholders to approve uncontested candidates for director positions, even when controlling for other possible causes. They were also 22% more likely to adopt recommended improvements to executive compensation policies:

“It's a unique look into the inner workings of a real collective action organization which very few, if anyone, have had. Collectively the CCGG is big -- typically they had about 15% to 20% of the vote - and that gets the attention of the [targeted] firm's board,” Craig Doidge, finance professor at Rotman, explained in a press release.

New market competition for executive business schools

The executive education market has risen in recent years as demand for the shorter-format courses has increased. However, traditional business schools are being threatened by new market entrants that are intent on capitalizing on an industry that’s worth as much as US$70 billion a year.

Most notably, companies that have traditionally been customers of business schools are now seeking to set up their own corporate business schools to aid internal capabilities. David Altman, executive vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the US-headquartered Center for Creative Leadership, a nonprofit research organization and education provider, told the Financial Times:

“More and more we are being asked to help companies build their internal capabilities. Big companies are calling them academies, while others are saying they want to build their own internal capabilities.”

Education technology companies are also building on their existing businesses. Mike Malefakis, associate dean for executive education at Columbia Business School in New York said: “We are beginning to see the emergence of edtech-driven, venture capital-funded startups that believe edtech [the use of technology in teaching] is the driver of executive education.”

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