La Trobe Business School

Tag: Hanken School of Economics

Collaborating across borders – The CR3+ Network

PRME La Trobe Business School

By Giselle Weybrecht

La Trobe Business School in Australia has been a PRME signatory since 2008 and an active PRME Champion. They joined forces with several other PRME Signatories to create CR3+ Network. Together the network provides a supportive platform to build international collaboration and enables the participant business schools to work with the PRME and build international and national capacity in Responsible Management Education. I spoke with Associate Professor Suzanne Young, Head of Department and Dr Swati Nagpal, Department of Management and Marketing, from La Trobe Business School, about their participation in this network.

What is the CR3+ Network and how did it come about?

La Trobe Business School has been working with ISAE (Brazil), Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and Hanken School of Economics (Finland) since 2008 in an effort to exchange ideas, pedagogy, curriculum and research in the area of corporate responsibility. Head of LBS, Professor Paul Mather wrote: “With the support of the Principles for Responsible Executive Education, the CR3+ network’s objective is to promote a debate, inspire changes and propose solutions for challenges related to sustainability and governance, interacting and reaching what UNESCO calls ‘The 5th Pillar of Education: Learning to change and to change society.’”

What are the key features of the programme?

A key outcome of the partnership has been the hosting of an annual CR3+ conference, which has been held at each of the member institutions. Past themes have included governance and sustainability; CSR: expanding horizons, and the power of responsibility. The aim of the CR3+ conferences is to strengthen the partnership and dialogue around sustainability and responsibility, and provide a forum where ideas, developments and concerns in regards to these issues and the work of the PRME can be brought forward.

How is CR3+ different than other similar networks you are part of? How did you meet these specific schools and decide to create a network? 

It involves four schools that are strongly committed to PRME, and which later became PRME Champions, so PRME is very much at the core of CR3+. The network has been driven by the will to learn from each other, bearing in mind that the four schools are from very different and distant parts of the world (Australia, Brazil, Finland and France). From a very early point the core idea was to create a platform for these learning possibilities by organizing a conference involving all 3 (later 4) schools.

What have been some of the challenges? 

The schools are different and distant, not only in geographical terms but also in cultural and institutional terms. Creating special exchanges for students, for example, has faced a number of practical challenges related to differences in terms of tuition fees, types of study programmes, periods of studies, accreditations, etc. Different expectations about the conference have also caused some challenges but overall the learning opportunities and outcomes have far outweighed the challenges.

Successes? 

We have now done one full round of CR3+ conferences (in all 4 schools) and are about to start a second cycle. The mobilization from the different schools has been on the rise – for example, ISAE/FGV researchers have sent many abstracts to the CR3+ conference to be organized in Helsinki – and there has been growing integration between CR3+ events and PRME chapters – the conference in Helsinki will also be tied to a doctoral course organized by the PRME Chapter Nordic (more specifically Hanken, Stockholm School of Economics, BI Norwegian School of Management and CBS).

The CR3+ network has also enabled joint research projects and resulting publications as well as student and staff exchanges.

In autumn 2011, LBS hosted a masters-level exchange student from Hanken to work on a community development project.  Similar student exchanges are currently being planned for LBS students to have the opportunity to extend PRME –related projects at the other CR3+ partner universities.

In 2015, a collaboration between LBS and ISAE tested a new approach to ‘Promoting internationalisation and cross-cultural competency through online collaboration’, which provided opportunities for LBS MBA students to engage in an academic cross-cultural experience with Masters students from ISAE.  The students replicated real-world global communication, by collaborating virtually with people from a different cultural background in real time and jointly solving a series of management problems using online software.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

The network’s success is due to the relationships between key academic staff in each of the business schools and is also based in their common belief in and focus on the goals of the PRME mission. Members of the network were all early adopters of the PRME and champions of change in their respective institutions. Each School brings to the network their own expertise and demonstrates the national differences in Responsibility and Sustainability initiatives that are seen in academia, industry and government.

Each of the business schools have supported the CR3+ network as they acknowledge that working collaboratively provides greater opportunities for staff and students than working alone. Benefits in research, teaching, partnerships and dialogue have been demonstrated and the parties remain excited about opportunities that are coming from working with others in the new SDG project

What’s next for the initiative?

A pilot project is currently being led by LBS with support from the CR3+ network focused on facilitating a series of national workshops in each country between PRME higher education business schools and members of the UN Global Compact Network to present and interact on the theme of the SDGs. The outcomes of the workshops will be improved dialogue and networks between universities and other sectors, and the initiating of joint projects on the SDGs.

The 5th CR3+ conference will be held at Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki on 28-29 April 2017. The theme of the conference is ‘Making Corporate Responsibility Useful’, where the dominant logic of the ‘business case’ argument for CSR, and the legitimising effect this has on business engagement in CSR, will be brought into question.

This post was originally published on the UNPRME’s Primitime blog.

Suzanne Young at the CR3+ Conference – Governance and Sustainability

 

Dr Suzanne Young La Trobe Business School La trobe Management Head of Department Marketing Management

Dr Suzanne Young (Head of Department of Management and Marketing) will be a panellist on Governance and Sustainability and leading a stream titled: Sustainability Strategies labour Jobs and Work, during the CR3 + Conference.

The CR3 + Conference is a collaborative effort between ISAE (Brazil), La Trobe Business School (Australia), Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and Hanken School of Economics (Finland).

All PRME (Principles for Responsible Executive Education) members, the four schools have been working together since 2008, in an effort to exchange ideas, pedagogical processes, curriculum and research in the area of corporative responsibility.

With the support of the Principles for Responsible Executive Education, the conference’s objective is to promote a debate, inspire changes and propose solutions for challenges related to sustainability and governance, interacting and reaching what UNESCO calls “The 5th Pillar of Education:” “Learning to change and to change society.”

More than a need, the strategic adaptation and the governance and sustainability processes are a social demand, manifested by public policies, by the company and by society. Thus, the study of problems and practices related to governance for sustainability becomes essential, and the Conference will be one of the mechanisms to generate knowledge to prompt these discussions.

We sat down to have a chat with Suzanne Young about what sustainability means for management, education, and the day-to-day decision-making process of companies.

  • How do you think this focus on sustainability in management has changed the relationship between clients and companies?

Suzanne Young: Companies taking this seriously build better and stronger relationships with a broad range of stakeholders. It is not just shareholders who are important but institutional investors, consumers, media, government, and communities. These companies believe that, in the long term, these relationships will build profitability, long term shareholder value, and minimise risk through the building of these relationships.

  • Do you think there is an increased market pressure from regulators and consumers to hold organisations accountable for their actions? If so, how do you think this has affected the management landscape?

Suzanne Young: Yes, there is pressure coming from changing regulatory environment such as changes to ASX Listing Rules and Best Practice Guidelines, there is pressure internationally for changes to laws and codes of governance standards and often, pressure comes from NGOs more than consumers per so. There is even pressure from institutional investors, including superannuation funds. This has resulted in Boards becoming more aware of changing expectations and landscape and of their own responsibilities. Structurally, we find boards putting in place more board subcommittees in areas of sustainability and risk. Plus, risk management is an increasing focus area.

  • What are some examples of how managers can take social, economic and environmental factors into account in the everyday decision making process?

Suzanne Young: These factors are increasingly being incorporated into their Risk Management Policies and Management processes. Hence managers incorporate them as they do other risk factors arising from their context into their forecasting of trends, decision making practices, strategy formulation and operating practices. This can be in the form of environmental considerations such as climate change and carbon emissions, land degradation, pollution, reafforestation; social considerations such as supply chain risks in terms of facilitation payments and bribery, labour rights, human rights, child labour, payment of wages, safety in the supply chain and in the use of contractors; and economic such as risk, long-term financial sustainability, and governance considerations including director remuneration, board structure and diversity, risk and audit sub committees, board decision-making.

  • How does this translate to university educating? Are there ways to make sure graduates are ready for taking up a leadership role while enjoying a sustainable future?

Suzanne Young: The PRME is a United Nations initiative that provides a framework for Universities and in particular business schools to ensure through their operations that they incorporate responsible management education in their teaching, research, dialogue and partnerships. This is done through ensuring “responsibility’ is part of each course that is offered such as in curriculum, assessments, examples, and incorporation of partnership with business and NGOs. Students become aware of real world problems and are more able to move from university to employment, while being aware of actual business contexts and real world issues business is facing. Subjects have been developed in areas of Sustainability and Global Citizenship, Responsible Leadership, Ethics and Business in Society. In addition to particular subjects, such concepts are built more broadly into examples and assessments in each course.

 

The 2015 conference will take place at ISAE, in Curitiba, Brazil, from November 11 to 12.

For more information on panels, programs and speakers, visit the 2015 CR3+ website.

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