International MBA: Change in Action 2009

Between the second and third core periods of the International MBA curriculum, students explore – through a series of presentations from outside experts, online simulation, interactive workshops, group work and on-site company visits – the challenges and opportunities of discontinuous change. Topics will vary each year to include climate change, demographic change, nanotechnology, or the…

Details

Don't say CRISIS, say Opportunity!

1729IE Focus | By Manuel Bermejo, Professor at IE Business School
The long honeymoon that the Spanish economy has enjoyed means that many senior managers have not yet had to rise to the challenge of a crisis. The moment has come for a complete change of the way we think and manage.
The current period of crisis and uncertainty is leading to tension and difficulties for company managers. In addition, owing to a lengthy period of growth in recent years, a good part of the senior management of many businesses has never had to face the challenge of managing a company with the wind against them.
It is time to recover a strategic view and act differently since the outlook has changed radically in recent months. Therefore, the first consideration would be to move away from old paradigms that almost certainly cannot be applied in today’s world. We need to adapt to the new context and, as human beings, that is never an easy task. With this in mind, I offer the following Decalogue:
– Management by values: I consider it fundamental to recover values such as austerity, honesty, long-term vision, strategic alignment, commitment, work, perseverance, social responsibility… It is not a matter of earning money at any price and ignoring everything else. Speak with many family business owners and you will find magnificent examples of what I am talking about.

– Strategic thought: separate what is urgent from what is important. Many important issues are never approached and give rise to situations that are unsustainable in the long term. Government bodies must be created as true watchtowers to gain a peripheral view and take decisions that anticipate change. In all sincerity, many of today’s difficult situations could have been foreseen some time ago and corrective measures could have been taken, but sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees.

Details

Beyond stereotypes

1728IE Focus | By Celica de Anca, Director Centre for Diversity, IE Business School
The women’s leadership debate and the reasons that there are still so few women on boards of directors will come to nothing if we keep referring to the same old male and female stereotypes.
McKinsey recently published its Women Matter 2 study, in which it drew the conclusion that the women leaders analysed used certain styles of leadership that had a direct effect on the company’s performance more often than men’s styles. Women’s leadership styles involved people development, intuition and participatory decision-taking.Other studies along the same lines have insisted on the need for including more women in corporate bodies of management owing to their different leadership styles. However, despite the scientific rigour of the analyses, the same number of scientific studies can also be found to demonstrate that the presence of more women in senior management does not necessarily improve a company’s performance.

Accepting these studies as valid, I believe that in order to move forward in the issue of women in business leadership, certain untruths that add confusion to the debate must first of all be clarified.

The first is the search for reasons that justify something which, in my opinion, does not need justifying. Women represent half of the world population and 46% of its workforce. Some of them are competent and others less so, some are more qualified and some less so. Indeed, some of them are not qualified for senior management posts, most probably in the same percentage as men who are not qualified for positions of responsibility. In the globalised and competitive society of the 21st century and in the interests of corporate effectiveness there is no room for maintaining barriers that prevent talented or valuable women from taking up posts in senior management. The barriers we imagine exist, albeit indirectly and subtly, limit, for example, the number of women who sit on boards of directors to only 6% of the top 800 European businesses. Scandinavian countries have the greatest number of women on their boards of directors and the countries in the South of Europe have the lowest number. I hope there are other factors that explain what could otherwise be put down to Swedish women being more talented than their Spanish counterparts.

Details