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Business Schools and the Public Good report published

5 July 2021

CABS public value report cover

A new report has highlighted the many and varied ways in which business schools are delivering public good through teaching, research and engagement.

The Chartered Association of Business Schools’ (ABS) Taskforce has published its report on ‘Business Schools and the Public Good’.

The Taskforce is Co-Chaired by Professor Martin Kitchener, former Dean of Cardiff Business School, the world’s first public value business school, and Tom Levitt, an author on business sustainability, and consists of members from academic, industry and policy background.

The Taskforce was established to consider how business schools understand and deliver ‘public good’, aimed to map approaches to public good in UK business schools; suggest ways to support the spread of promising practices; and expand the public narrative on the purpose of business schools.

The report presents 20 case studies of promising practices in business schools, including a study on Cardiff Business School’s Shadow Management Board. This progressive approach brings together a blend of junior and senior faculty members and professional services staff from across the School to develop strategy; scrutinise the senior management team; facilitate more diverse participation in the School’s decision-making processes; and create innovative ways of embedding the delivery of public value across the School’s activities.

The report revealed the emergence of Business Schools adopting a purposeful leadership approach, based on instilling colleagues with a higher and clearer sense of their contribution to what their school does and why. The Taskforce found that an increasing number of UK business schools are becoming purpose-led in that they articulate a clear view of their public good and use this to guide development across four key main areas of activity.

The report offers recommendations as to how business schools, together with students, policymakers, and industry, can go further in delivering public good to society. These include a purpose statement that is stakeholder-inclusive and articulates a clear sense of public good; the establishment of a specific function to co-ordinate delivery of purpose across the four identified main activity areas (teaching, research, operations and engagement); and the reporting of progress towards public good.

It is really encouraging to see that so many business schools in the UK are contributing to the public good in such a variety of ways, as illustrated by the report’s 20 case studies of promising practices. What became clear was the importance of leadership approaches that use a clear articulation of a school’s purpose as the basis for strategic decision-making. I am hopeful that what we are seeing is the start of a return to purpose-driven governance in higher education.

Professor Martin Kitchener Professor of Public Sector Management and Policy

Professor Calvin Jones, Deputy Dean for Public Value at the Business School said: “In 2015, Cardiff Business School became the world’s first public value business school. Since then, our ethos of delivering on social as well economic objectives, and our focus becoming an environmentally responsible and people-focused School, has coloured everything we do across learning and teaching, research, engagement and our own governance. We are delighted if our approach is helping the sector more generally wrestle with how it approaches critical societal challenges.”

Read the final report of the Taskforce.

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As the world’s first Public Value Business School, we care about more than economic success, we want to bring humanity, sustainability, generosity and innovation to the business sector.