Empowering Socially Responsible Future Leaders

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Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Academic research and publishing play a critical role in business schools' efforts toward developing future leaders committed to societal impact.
Blaise Simqu, CEO of SAGE Publishing; Barbara Ritter, Dean of the Davis College of Business, Jacksonville University

Sponsored by:

SAGE Publishing orange business logo

  • Business schools seeking to achieve greater societal impact should ensure that their mission is strategically aligned with specific impact goals, incorporating opportunities in their unique contexts.
  • SAGE partners with business schools to provide a curriculum for future leaders focused on skills developed in the social sciences that complement foundational business knowledge.
  • Part of leading a societal impact vision means bringing in the necessary tools, partners, and processes to strengthen the organizational culture and effectively develop societal impact leaders.

Transcript

Blaise Simqu: [0:14] Societal impact is fundamental to the mission of SAGE from the very, very beginning. Our founder, Sara Miller McCune, has dedicated her life and her career to social justice and societal impact. 

[0:27] There's several different ways to look at that, from a perspective at SAGE. First of all, our publishing program demonstrates our value system. Sarah McCune was one of the first individuals to identify new disciplines, new fields of study that, at the time, were groundbreaking and almost unheard of. 

[0:45] She was one of the first major publishers—she wasn't a major publisher then—but she was one of the first publishers to see the potential and to publish in ethnic studies, and in women's studies, and in policing, and correction reform, and in family studies.  

Sarah McCune was one of the first individuals to identify new disciplines, new fields of study that, at the time, were groundbreaking. 

[1:02] She has always been committed to social justice in those areas, and always felt that research, and publishing, and book publishing, in those fields, represented SAGE's values as a company that was committed to societal impact and social justice. 

Barbara Ritter: [1:19] The societal impact goals in the Davis College of Business are an umbrella that really fit into each one of our strategic pillars, and our strategic plan. We measure those with measurable objectives in the four pillars in our strategic plan: the students, the curriculum, the faculty staff, and engagement with community. 

[1:40] Each of these have a strategic goal related to doing good for society, and each of those has a measurable objective. 

[1:48] What I think other schools can learn from our journey, and how we've defined this in doing good for our local community, and closing the loop to ensure that we're actually having a positive impact, is to align this with your mission, to look for opportunity in your environment, because it might look different for each school. 

[2:09] For us, the connections with industry in Jacksonville, and the fact that we sit in that city, was a tremendous opportunity for us. 

Simqu: [2:16] SAGE partners with business schools to provide what we believe is a well-rounded curriculum for future leaders. What SAGE publishes in the social sciences, the tools that we have, the resources we have, to help the next generation of leaders become true leaders.  

[2:34] Having a deep background in finance and accounting, of course, is very, very important for any leader, but that background in finance and accounting does not automatically make you a good leader. 

When we partner with universities, we have the research, the tools, and the resources to help these new students, or the next generation of leaders, fully develop into leaders. 

[2:45] What makes you a good leader is learning how to communicate, learning how to manage people, learning how to inspire people, learning to think critically about decisions, learning to think creatively, making difficult decisions, and still galvanizing your group, your organization. How do you create a culture? How do you connect? 

[3:04] Those are all skills developed on the social sciences side, and so you have to have a blend. We feel that when we partner with universities, we have the research, the tools, and the resources to help these new students, or the next generation of leaders, fully develop into leaders. 

Ritter: [3:22] Recently, in the Davis College of Business, we have totally re-envisioned the way we offer our BBA core. We need to break out of the academic silos, functional areas, that have limited our thinking, and have limited our ability to work across disciplines. 

[3:38] What we've done, through curriculum consults with our local industry partners, we've built our curriculum on a foundation of the things that business students need: knowledge, communication skills, critical thinking skills, the ability to reason ethically. Then we've created clusters of courses around the competencies that industry is demanding of our students. 

We need to break out of the academic silos, functional areas, that have limited our thinking, and have limited our ability to work across disciplines.

Simqu: [4:03] When we think about future leaders in business education at SAGE, I have to think about the company itself. As of three years ago, 65 percent of our workforce was millennial or younger.  

[4:15] This new generation of leaders, they want something different from the corporations, or the organizations with whom they are aligned. They do want diversity. They do want equity. They do want social impact and social justice. 

[4:30] We provide tools, in particular, our business case studies, that are intended to help these students develop an understanding of those issues. We address all of those issues in the way that other case studies may not. That's just one example of how we're trying to participate in building business education for the next generation of leaders. 

This new generation of leaders, they want something different from the corporations, or the organizations with whom they are aligned.

Ritter: [4:52] My suggestion in terms of leading the vision, and societal impact, once it's crafted, you have a vision to make a societal impact. Consider what types of changes you need in your organizational culture, which is the personality, and the values that your organization believes in, that you live on a daily basis. 

[5:13] Consider how you can strengthen that culture to achieve your goals, by aligning your processes and your procedures and even redesigning the structure of your organization to be able to accomplish your goals. 

 
Related content: Research That Matters: An Action Plan for Creating Business School Research That Positively Impacts Society

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