La Trobe Business School

Tag: Paul Mather

London Bridge Will Never Fall Down

London at dusk


Paul Mather is Head of La Trobe Business School and Professor of Governance and Financial Accounting.

 Many Melbournians watched the events unfolding in London on Sunday morning (AEST) in horror.  As I am London born, and lived there for many years prior to moving to Australia, the familiarity of the scenes added to the horror and raw emotions I felt.  I walked many of the bridges in London as part of daily commutes, and the “bridge run” that often covered London Bridge, where you run up one bridge, along the embankment and return via another bridge, was a regular feature at one stage of my life. Exhilarating, but the river Thames at dawn is often exceedingly cold and I can still feel my skin tingle!

These events of Sunday morning made me reflect on a number of matters, including the relevance of what was unfolding to business more broadly and leadership in particular and I wanted to share some of these reflections.

First, the importance of leadership and resilience however stressful or overwhelming these situations may be.  In a famous TED talk, General Stanley McChrystal said “those who depend on us need their leaders on our feet”.  I would extend that and suggest that it is not just on their feet but standing tall.   Who will forget the leadership and sheer presence of the then Mayor of New York, Rudi Giuliani who inspired millions of people in the US and beyond in the aftermath of 9/11?

Second, that you should never waste a crisis! The British Prime Minister saying “enough is enough” in her initial public statement many hope signals her seeing an opportunity to use these horrific events to make necessary changes to the approach taken to counter extremism that may otherwise have been more challenging.

Third, notwithstanding the circumstances, there is always a need to remain true to your core values and those of your organisation. In the context of Britain at this time, it is not to be tempted by populism, and to remain mindful of the values that underpin British society, especially around civil liberties and the rule of law.

Fourth, the extended TV coverage showed us very clearly that being a leader is a lot more than having a title and that, when tested, many people show leadership and courage irrespective of their official position. The composure under immense pressure shown by first responders such as unarmed police officers, paramedics, and  numerous bystanders was a sight to behold and restored my faith in humanity. My personal stand out was the gentleman with a strong Cockney (East London) accent who described how he threw chairs and bottles at one of the terrorists to draw him away from someone under threat.  These selfless acts are a timely reminder that leadership comes in all shapes and sizes and is scattered right through all organisations and does not just reside in the C suite.

Finally, at a more operational level, whilst the British police and armed forces are often considered amongst the best in the world, one can only wonder at the amount of risk analysis and planning that underpinned the terrorist threat being eliminated within 8 minutes of the first call.  We face different risks with far less impact in everyday organisational life, but these actions are nevertheless a reminder to all of us about the importance of analysing and mitigating operating and financial risk.

Back to London. Londoners are resilient and you underestimate them at your peril. Of one thing I am certain. A great City and its people that withstood the plague, the blitz during World War 2, and more recently the IRA bombings, are not going to be cowed by a group of extremists. Contrary to the words in the famous nursery rhyme, London Bridge will never fall down.

In 1963, the US President John Kennedy visited West Berlin, a City surrounded by East Germany at the start of the Cold War and, in a speech designed to express solidarity with a beleaguered City, said “I take pride in the words ich bin ein Berliner”.  I am now a proud Melbournian but on Sunday I realized that London will always be my second home and I too take pride in the words-I am a Londoner.

 

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.

Were directors asleep at the wheel? And are they awake now?

Paul Mather La Trobe Business School

LBS Head of School Professor Paul Mather was an invited speaker and panellist at a symposium on Corporate Governance organised by the Institute of Directors in New Zealand and the University of Otago in Dunedin.

Were the directors asleep at the wheel? – This was the main question asked in the wake of corporate collapses such as Enron. Regulatory reforms emerged emphasising board structure such as independence, expertise and formation of committees. It has been more than a decade, so did reforms turn out to be yet another round of governance box checking which overlooked what directors are expected to do: apply independent thinking and knowledge in the best interests of the organisation? This symposium examined the importance of board culture and processes and what directors should do to meet shareholders’ interests.  Paul provided a high level overview of the academic research to date and highlighted some of the key regulatory implications flowing from the research.  In particular, he emphasised the need for regulations to also pay attention to processes rather than largely focus on structure.  A robust panel discussion followed.

The other panellists were:

Michael Stiassny – President of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.

Jan Dawson – Chair of Westpac New Zealand, deputy chair of Air New Zealand and an independent director of BECA, AIG New Zealand and Meridian Energy.

Colin Magee – Head of Conduct for the Financial Markets Authority in New Zealand.

Professor Paul Mather on ABC News AM: “It makes economic sense to have diversity on boards”

Paul Mather La Trobe Business School

This morning, Head of La Trobe Business School Professor Paul Mather appeared on ABC Radio 774, speaking about his research on female representation at the top levels of Business. In the segment, Professor Mather explains how his team examined 300 top ASX-listed companies, looking into correlations between factors like financial performance and having female non-executives on corporate boards.

Professor Paul Mather’s view is clear: “It’s not just about equity and social justice, it makes economic sense to have women on boards.”

Listen to the full fragment on the ABC website, or read about his research in The Age.

Business analytics critical to business futures, as new Master of Business Analytics and SAS Analytics Innovation Lab launched

Business Analytics La Trobe Business School Telstra Big Data

On a very significant evening for La Trobe Business School, the Master of Business Analytics degree and the SAS Analytics Innovation Lab were officially launched. At a very well attended event on Tuesday 10th November at the City Campus, Andrew Condron, General Manager, Analytics at Telstra gave the key note address, providing insights into the significance of analytics for contemporary business activity, including for decision making. As Andrew made clear, the future of business is fundamentally linked to analytics. Following Andrew’s presentation, Lynette Clunies-Ross, Chief Operating Officer at SAS, reaffirmed the importance of the relationship between SAS and La Trobe as she launched the SAS Advanced Analytics Lab, a lab that will make a highly significant contribution both to the research and teaching of the analytics team in La Trobe Business School.  Associate Professor KL Ong, Program Director of the Master of Business Analytics, provided an overview of the new program, highlighting its innovation both in terms of its integration with business, and its flexible delivery through live streaming. Professor Damminda Alahakoon, leader of the Business Analytics group in LBS, then highlighted the research innovations occurring within the Business Analytics team, including their engagement with key industries including health, police and sport. The event was opened by Professor Paul Mather, Head of La Trobe Business School, and closed by Professor Tony McGrew, Pro Vice Chancellor, College of ASSC.

In the lead up to the first full offering of the Master of Business Analytics, LBS is running a series of Business Analytics workshops. If you are interested in finding out more, see our website.

For information on the Masters of Business Analytics, see the Business Analytics La Trobe web page.

If you would like more information on our series of workshops or our Masters Courses, please do not hesitate to contact us at business.analytics@latrobe.edu.au.

Business Analytics La Trobe Business School Telstra Big Data Business Analytics La Trobe Business School Telstra Big Data

Business Analytics La Trobe Business School Telstra Big Data

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