Ask More of Business

Asking More Commentary: Perspectives from Mendoza College of Business

Commentary Post - Carolyn Y. Woo

It’s time to step up

August 3, 2009

In the last 60 years, business scholarship has developed sophisticated frameworks for managing highly complicated global organizations. Yet these frameworks are captive to a mechanistic lexicon that is dismissive of responsibilities beyond those to shareholders.  We have forgotten that we are, first and foremost, a human community.  We flourish and advance collectively, not individually.  A community calls for mutuality, a right proportion between what we take and what we give back; what we use and how we replenish. 

In subtle but undeniable ways, we in business education have not held our students accountable nor cultivated their imaginations for the bigger responsibilities. We must not continue to foster an attitude of disconnectedness from the common good.  Let us use this opportunity to inspire students, to enable them to see how they through business enterprises can bring solutions to the issues we currently face.

When we look at the current economic and business environment, it would be easy to bury our heads in the sand. But at the Mendoza College of Business, we see this as an opportunity to move to the forefront the very principles on which the University was founded — to challenge our students to become a force for good in society. We believe that an education worthy of our students must teach them how to address difficult problems with integrity and strong habits of mind. We want our students to become the leaders who will make our collective future better by the privilege of the positions they hold, the decisions they make, the resources they develop and use, and the people whose lives they will touch.

And so we are asking more — more of our students, our faculty and staff, our administration. We are asking the Mendoza community to consider its role in developing individual integrity, in preparing mind and spirit to be an integral part of effective organizations, and in contributing to the greater good. It is a time of imagination, a time to step up, and most important, a time to make a real contribution.