Just like any organization, business schools are adversely affected by the shocks brought about by the pandemic for an extended period of time. According to Lengnick-Hall and Beck (2011), organizational resilience is the organization’s ability to effectively absorb, develop situation-specific responses, and ultimately engage in transformative activities to gain advantage from unpredictable disruptions that potentially threaten organization survival. Organizational resilience relies on strong leadership, awareness, and understanding of the operating environment, the ability to manage vulnerabilities, and the ability to respond to change (Umoh et al., 2014) rapidly. Being resilient is crucial. Its absence would result in the organization’s lifecycle’s decline.
In a study done on universities, Thoenig & Paradeise (2016) described strategic capacity as how an institution lines its internal components to achieve some common ends. The study goes on to describe that an organization’s strategic capacity acts as a blueprint for its internal stakeholders to make decisions based on an agreed-upon identity and the priorities of an organization.
Strategic capacity can be seen as the steps an organization takes to ensure that its internal players are able to cope and address situations when called for and act in a proper way that is aligned with company goals and objectives.
In a world of tight competition created by globalization through boundary-shattering technology, the need to become “complete organizations,” meaning having defined goals and even complete strategic programs, be accountable for achievements and display more effective administration and management, has become even more vital now than ever (Thoenig & Paradeise, 2016). Behavioral capabilities (e.g., improvisation, experimentation, and knowledge implementation) ensure that resources are utilized, and necessary actions are taken (Duchek, 2019). As exemplified by these behaviors, strategic flexibility is beneficial on the firm’s performance in responding and adapting to a conflicting environment (Fan, Wu & Wu, 2013, p. 197).
Organizations need proactive people who are willing to be actors of change. Bateman & Crant (1993, as cited in Kim, Hon, & Lee, 2010) explain how in contrast to passive people, proactive people are initiators who are willing to take action, manipulate their environment, and seek new information and practices for continuous improvement.
Reece Hinchcliff’s journal article on implementing accreditation programs for health services defined these programs as complex, system-wide quality and safety interventions for continuous improvement. Despite their international popularity, evidence of their effectiveness has not been fully examined due to varied implementation in different contexts. Accreditation programs point to critical enablers of effective implementation: the accreditation program should be collaborative, valid and uses relevant standards; accreditation is favorably received by stakeholders; organizations are capable of embracing accreditation; and accreditation is appropriately aligned with other regulatory initiatives and supported by relevant incentives. Stakeholder engagement with accreditation programs is modified by participants’ comprehension of their value. By understanding the perspectives and experiences of practices and other stakeholders who have engaged with accreditation, program strengths and areas for improvement can be identified. Strengths and weaknesses in the accreditation program influence, and are influenced by, stakeholder engagement and disengagement.
In one of the virtual conferences held in 2020 by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), emphasis was on enhancing stakeholder engagement in organizations not only for accreditation but primarily for addressing future challenges. AACSB International (AACSB), a nonprofit global membership association for the business education industry, strives to continuously improve engagement among business, faculty, institutions, and learners so that business education is aligned with business practice.
AACSB’s standards contain an imperative that AACSB-accredited business schools demonstrate a positive impact on society in furtherance of its vision that “business and business schools are a force for good, contributing to the world’s economy and to society, and AACSB plays a significant role in making that benefit better known to all stakeholders by serving business schools, learners, business, and society.”
Engagement in the context of AACSB
The defining feature of quality business schools is that they are making a significant difference through educational activities, thought leadership and engagement with external stakeholders. AACSB accreditation standards are strongly related to stakeholder engagement and provide guidance to know who they are and what systems and processes are needed for collecting, updating and communicating with stakeholder contacts. These standards (contained in full in https://www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/standards/business) are:
Standard 1: Schools having a well-devised strategic plan that demonstrates stakeholder involvement at every stage of the process, from the creation of the strategic plan to review and reporting,
Standard 2: School manages its physical, virtual, and financial resources to sustain the school on an ongoing basis,
Standard 3: Sufficient participating and supporting faculty who demonstrate significant academic and professional engagement
Standard 4: Students have succeeded and excelled through curricular and co-curricular engagement with faculty and the business community.
Standard 5: Assurance of Learning (AOL) include both direct and indirect measures of assessment should be used within the portfolio of program.
Standard 6: Post-graduation success occurs on a consistent basis such as in job placement outcomes, internships, entrepreneurial and career development activities.
Standard 7: Faculty take responsibility for continuing their professional development to maintain currency and relevancy.
Standard 8: Collaboration with a wide variety of external stakeholders to create and transfer credible, relevant, and timely knowledge that informs theory, policy, and/or practice of business.
Standard 9: Exemplars of engagements with external stakeholders that lead to societal impact.
Benefits of stakeholder engagement with AACSB standards include crafting STRATEGIES for advisory support, differentiation, reputation enhancement and societal impact; ACADEMIC advice and recommendations for program alignment, curriculum relevance, authentic assessment, case writing, research, student recruitment, quality assurance and improvement; INDUSTRY LIAISON through internships, industry mentors, and student employment; FINANCIAL strategies for revenue generation, sponsorship, asset donation, endowed chairs, and joint venture opportunities; and STAFFING strategies for adjunct professors, staff development and staffing support.
Being part of the AACSB Business Education Alliance (a network of business educators, businesses, and nonprofit and public-sector organizations dedicated to sharing knowledge and best practices that accelerate innovation in business education), our university was exposed and oriented to the various educational trends and standards. This experience strengthen our resolve to be more resilient to achieve our vision, mission and objectives to survive and thrive after this pandemic.
AACSB invites us for a free Virtual Philippines Information Session on May 6, 2021, Thursday, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. (Philippines time). Please register using this link: http://engage.aacsb.edu/cn/aqzv6/InfoSessionPh
The information session will feature a panel discussion involving accredited and aspiring for accreditation schools’ journey with AACSB network to achieve international objectives, such a building collaborative partnerships and benchmarking global quality standards.
The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty and its administrators.