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The Warsaw Voice » Business » May 7, 2015
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MBA Studies for a Wisdom-Based Society
May 7, 2015   
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We live in interesting times. The current stage of development of both the economy as a whole and its individual components is distinctive with its unprecedented dynamism in terms of technological, economic and social change. This is reflected by various kinds of turbulence and breakthroughs in the economy, but also by the uncertainty about its future shape on both the macro and micro scale.

We ask ourselves: should we reformulate the program for educating business leaders in the MBA system, and how should this be done at a time of global uncertainty? As behavioral economist Dan Ariely argues, the crisis has put in doubt the fundamental assumption of traditional economics that people are capable of making rational decisions while markets and institutions are subject to healthy self-regulation.

After 2008 a growing number of experts are arguing that traditional economics has declined or even gone bankrupt. The science of economics is based on studies of regularities, on repeatability. The rapid changes typical of our times make it difficult to identify these regularities and ultimately result in changes to existing paradigms of how the economy and companies function.

How in this situation—now that the science of economics has turned out to be “helpless” in the face of the new socioeconomic challenges, in this era of a knowledge-based economy—in which we are paradoxically dealing with “imperfect knowledge,” as pointed out by F. Frydman and M. Goldberg—can we credibly convince people about the value of MBA studies? Or perhaps this peculiarly complex set of circumstances and decision-making situations is the very factor that necessitates greater support in the search for at least approximate answers to the most pressing questions.

Should we concentrate on building a corporate vision, new projects, breaking away from the present situation, or on improving skills for diagnosing and solving current problems? If we adopt the “evolutionary theory of economic change” proposed by R.R. Nelson and S.G. Winter, then what should we do to prepare managers for work in such an environment in the best possible way?

Regardless of the discussion on the extent of knowledge and the ways in which it should be taught as well as the ways in which specific skills should be developed, we believe that, to a much greater extent than before, MBA studies should contribute to the formation of an attitudes among the managerial elite that will facilitate the development of a “wisdom society,” as defined by Ewa Chmielecka in her article of this title—a society that combines the ability to make use of information and knowledge to serve worthy goals. The combination of knowledge and values creates wisdom.

Prof. Ewa Konarzewska-Gubała, MBA Program Director, Department of Management, Computer Science and Finance, Wrocław University of Economics
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