Goa Institute of Management (GIM) recently hosted celebrated American philosopher and business school professor Robert Edward Freeman, particularly known for his work on stakeholder theory and business ethics. Freeman is known widely in business and academic circles for his award-winning book Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach.
Freeman spoke about ‘Responsible Management and B-School Pedagogy’ in a virtual setting hosted by GIM as part of its ‘Teaching Excellence Program’ series.
Sharing his thoughts on a new narrative of business and capitalism emerging, Professor Freeman said that a balance is to be struck between five seeming dichotomies which are Purpose & Profit, Stakeholder & Shareholder, Society & Market, Humanity & Economics and lastly Ethics & Business.
Contrary to common perception he stressed that ” a business and ethics are not separate entities and can harmoniously live with one another.”
Freeman stated how people must quench their thirst for solutions by following their passion, and to do so, they must focus on the idea, rather than the route of technology taken to achieve it. He illustrated how one needs red blood cells (RBC) to survive, but the purpose of life is not to make RBC. Similarly, profit is essential for businesses, but it cannot be the sole purpose of business. Accordingly, he proposed that business schools need to focus on the real problems of business and develop pedagogies to enhance and inspire responsible managers.
“Business is an institute of hope. If you think you need to critique something, do that by creating something better”, Freeman advised the B-school students.
Freeman emphasised on the need to build innovative and ethical business leaders. The integration would take businesses to new heights. He also elucidated that for a business to be efficient and successful, it must have a few elements – a great product, supplier’s trust, environmental awareness and a conducive employee workplace.
In an earlier series, GIM has hosted a session on Open Pedagogy and Higher Education along with Prof. Arley Cruthers, Teaching Fellow from the Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Canada