Social and Environmental Ethics Integrated into Management Curricula

29 Sep, 2012

Throughout the last two decades, a wave of studies criticizing current curricula have swept through the field of management, leading to the discussion of widespread reforms throughout educational institutions. Specifically, many criticized the lack of “functionally integrated curricula in higher education,” one that is inclusive of social and ecological factors in business practices. In light of this, the Desautels Faculty of Management created the Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management (MDIIM) in 2008, following a generous $10 million donation from Marcel Desautels.

In 2011, after much deliberation, McGill appointed Dr. Steve Maguire to be the Institute’s first director. Today, the MDIIM is not only up and running, but incredibly active. This is seen by the recent string of events surrounding the importance of management practices in ecological sustainability, highlighted by a guest appearance by Linda Lear, the renowned author of Rachel Carson’s biography.

The MDIIM aims to create a new generation of managers, one that is capable of appreciating multiple and diverse perspectives and subsequently integrate them together to achieve satisfactory outcomes for all parties. Students will be mentored in a fashion that instills a sense of worldliness, with emphasis on critical and integrative thinking.

In addition, integrated management will stress collaboration skills, with a special emphasis on conflict resolution and tolerance for diversity. To implement this, the MDIIM has developed a comprehensive system that will spread across the educational spectrum to both students and faculty alike, through teaching, research and outreach.

Inside the classroom, integrated management aims to teach students to grasp the multiple facets of any given situation, through analysis of real world management cases, business simulations, and in-depth discussions that will emphasize creativity and integrative thinking. The MDIIM aims to implement a new format of teaching through the inclusion of “multiple professors from different functional areas” to provide diverse perspectives in each lesson.

The MDIIM unveiled its first affiliated course, MGPO 434, Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, dedicated to the inclusion of social factors in managerial strategizing and organization. Furthermore, the MDIIM will be actively facilitating the creation of more interdepartmental programs between other faculties and that of Management in an effort to incorporate social and ecological perspectives into the curriculum.

Outside of the classroom, the MDIIM aims to provide a vast array of opportunities including internship and mentoring programs in industry as well as frequent opportunities to interact with accomplished managers through guest speaking events and panel discussions. Future plans include fostering student-run enterprises and facilitating a greater number of student-run research and internships in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

To kick-start their mandate, the MDIIM has already hired five B.Com students to “scope out” the available teaching and research files with the aim of stimulating more students and student organizations to actively engage and participate in MDIIM associated events.

Adam Halpert, the Institute’s Managing Director, gave us a glimpse of the novel Faculty Fellow Program that seeks to appoint a number of Desautels faculty members to “scope, design and implement innovative teaching, research and outreach initiatives around the MDIIM’s thematic priorities” over a two year period. Halpert also mentioned that future plans would promote more student-based research initiatives at Desautels, the funding for which could come directly from Desautels or from facilitated external agreements.

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