As the world is shaken up by yet another mass display of ignorance in New Zealand, costing the lives of 50 people, it is time to deeply consider the destructive power of closed mindedness.
In the March 2019 edition of BizEd, AACSB’s magazine, School of Business Dean, Dr. Joan Marques, published an article, titled, “Teaching Students to Be Empathetic Leaders in a Divided World”. While written and published before the recent atrocity in New Zealand, Dean Marques referred to something we should all be mindful of: the grim statistics pertaining to hate-based crimes over time, and the effects of destruction that can be caused by a closed mind.
In BizEd , Dean Marques stresses that teaching students the destructive potential of ignorance and tribalism is at least as important as teaching them about innovation, design thinking, and radical change. She emphasizes that business schools should seriously apply their responsibility to infuse values such as integrity, transparency, and sustainability, while also instill empathy, consciousness, and appreciation for diversity within students.
She suggests several ways for business faculty to teach their students awareness, such as positive role modeling and community engagement. She shares examples of the School of Business in either of these options, as the School represents a very high level of faculty diversity, while all its programs have core courses embedded that mandate community engagement with the aim to expand students’ emotional horizons. Dean Marques also discusses the importance of mindful performance in decision-making; entrepreneurial thinking, which encourages people to think in ways that can germinate new solutions to existing problems, and effective exercises such as role-playing or eulogy-writing. The core message of Dean Marques’ article is that Business schools should cultivate open-minded and innovative leaders who will support a more sustainable society.