CEEMAN Manifesto: Changing the Course of Management Development
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The world in which real managers live is becoming increasingly complex and challenging as technological change accelerates, digitalization and globalization upend one market after another, and responsibilities "beyond the bottom line" multiply. However, even though rumblings of dissatisfaction with management education and research have been occurring for the last 20 or so years, the majority of management development institutions, influenced by various external and internal forces, still have not been able to shift their focus from scientific research to impactful teaching, from disciplinary approach in their curriculum to holistic and cross-disciplinary program design, or from academic peer recognition to stronger bridge building to the business community. A consensus seems to be emerging around the world that a change of course in management development is long overdue and increasingly imperative.

CEEMAN's Board has repeatedly discussed the role that CEEMAN could play in engineering a badly-needed course correction in management education and research. With more than 200 members representing institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia, China, Africa, and Latin America, as well as participation from the more established economies of Western Europe and the United States, CEEMAN is uniquely placed to play such a role. The center of gravity of innovation in many products and services has already shifted from West to East, and there are strong reasons to believe that management development may be next in line. Management development institutions from the established economies of the world appear to be drifting ever further away from practice, and there is a vacuum waiting to be filled!

The discussions have resulted in the preparation of the CEEMAN Manifesto entitled ‘Changing the Course of Management Development’, a group effort led by Prof. Derek Abell, CEEMAN Board member and IQA Accreditation Committee President, which outlines key areas where change is urgently needed to make management education more relevant to the needs of business and society. The Manifesto takes into account the implications of the earlier Carnegie and Ford reports, as well as recent discussions among management educators about the urgent need for change, including Johan Roos*, now Chief Strategy Officer at Hult International Business School, who wrote: "We are now stuck with an academic system in which business schools are run as if they are deaf, blind, and dumb to a completely new emerging world... too many professors have never worked outside of academia and are unfamiliar with the day-to-day operations of companies or the intricacies of how decisions are actually made." 

The CEEMAN Manifesto, to which members of the CEEMAN Board are signatories, attempts to understand the real nature of management and leadership, and from that draw conclusions about what the future shape of management education and research should look like. It is neither a return to the founding years of management development, nor is it a continuation down the cul-de-sac towards into which many management schools now appear to be headed. Rather it is to reestablish relevance alongside excellence as the way forward.

In this context, relevance has three distinct requirements:

  • to be relevant to managerial practice;
  • to be relevant to the needs of participants in the markets that any particular institution serves − often requiring one eye on local issues and the other on global best practices and latest thinking;
  • to be up to date, or even better anticipatory, with respect to upcoming challenges.

The further requirement for overall quality is to rebalance attention to teaching as well as research, and to see research as a support to teaching as well as for publication purposes. Inevitably, this means pursuing the ideal of a single faculty whose members are each engaged in both teaching and research with all its benefits for both.

The CEEMAN Manifesto will be officially presented at the 26th CEEMAN Annual Conference in Prague on 19-21 September, and we invite all CEEMAN members to endorse it, but more importantly lead the change at their own institutions. Only joint and simultaneous action will trigger a change of course in management teaching and research worldwide!

Download the Manifesto, or read more about it on the official Manifesto website.

Danica Purg
CEEMAN President
on behalf of the CEEMAN Board

* Johan Roos will join the upcoming CEEMAN Annual Conference in Prague as a speaker.

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