During a recent discussion with for Senior Executives at Harvard Business School, Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE shared his insights on leadership, corporate culture, his current role in the company. Invited by Professor Ranjay Gulati, Chair of the HBS Advanced Management Program, the CEO of one of the world’s largest corporations gave an open and honest talk about what he considers to be some of his own mistakes and what keeps a CEO awake at night. With a market capitalization of over $200 billion, nearly 300 000 employees and interests in business segments as divergent as Industrial Production, Energy, Technology and Infrastructure, Capital Finance the list had the potential to be a long one. Continue reading
Category Archives: Guest Authors
BOOK REVIEW: “The Triumph of Emptiness: Consumption, Higher Education, and Work Organization” by Mats Alvesson (2013)
Mats Alvesson’s latest work centres on the depiction of three contemporary conditions of modern western society: grandiosity, illusion tricks and zero sum games; principle among these being grandiosity. Alvesson argues that behind the seemingly impressive façades, there is little to show for consumption, economic growth, prosperity or mass higher education. He ends the book with the rather downbeat conclusion… underlying the grandiose society’s illusion tricks is the triumph of emptiness.
BOOK REVIEW: “When China Rules the World, the end of the western world and the birth of a new global order (second edition)” by Martin Jacques (2012)
Martin Jacques, who holds academic posts at the London School of Economics and Tsinghua Universtiy in Beijing, as well as being a former journalist and founder of the left leaning Demos think-tank has produced a fascinating book about how the world’s political and economic power has been shifting in the early twenty-first century and what is likely to happen next.
Jacques finishes his book with an unexpected flourish (which I am just about to ruin for you) in which he makes a good case for China’s predicted world dominance to become a reality sooner rather than later. Through much of the book he refers to a Goldman Sachs prediction that China’s economy will overtake the United States (US) in 2025. The reader is left to assume that this is the date on which the new world order will be finalised. However, in this final section he points to the rapid implosion of all things American, suggesting that the impact of the 2007/2008 financial crisis on the US (and the Europe Union), together with US foreign policy which has had a myopic focus on the middle-east for the last decade, has left the field wide open for China. He names 2008 as the year that marked the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of a period of US world dominance that has lasted since 1945 and has been unchallenged since the collapse of the Soviet Block in 1989-1991.
British newspapers were full of stories at the end of May about French universities considering teaching in English. There was an element of triumphalism to most of these news reports. Newspaper columnists and their editors had great fun compiling lists of English words in common usage in the French language. My personal favourite is the French name for walkie-talkie two way radio systems, which my newspaper informs me is apparently talkie-walkie. I guess it is quite normal for the institutions of two old rivals to enjoy the embarrassments and agonies of their adversary and to be rather jealous of any successes. C’est la vie! Continue reading →
Those of us working in higher education at the moment must recognise that some of the targets to which are business schools work are leading to dysfunctional outcomes, for example staff being taken away from front line teaching and student support duties so that they can write articles for obscure academic journals.
Two news stories grabbed my attention over the last few days. In my opinion both are indicative of a where we are with globalisation and the shifting powerbases of the global economy. First, Apple apologised for the perception that they showed arrogance to their Chinese customers. Secondly, The Indian Government refused to extend the patent of a cancer drug made by Swiss Pharmaceutical giant, Novartis.
I recently completed some research on the management and organisation of British universities, which concluded that despite being full of good intentions (in this case to internationalise their offering) they lacked the management experience and know-how to implement the changes necessary to implement their strategies. Whilst it seemed fairly clear to me that what they needed to do was improve their management knowledge and know-how, it did not feel entirely comfortable for me to be saying this. After all I work at a Business School, one of whose primary functions is to provide management education to help managers develop their knowledge and know-how.