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Welcome to the FT Business school newsletter, a weekly serving of management wisdom, reading recommendations and business-related challenges. FT subscribers can sign up here to receive the newsletter by email every Monday. If you have feedback about FT Business school, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Lead
David Green, the director of the UK's Serious Fraud Office, the agency that investigates complex fraud and bribery — features in our weekly series How to Lead. He talks about how he revived a demoralised team.
Andrew Hill's challenge
The FT's management editor sets a weekly test of your business, strategy and management skills.
Easily the best-read article on FT.com last week was our in-depth analysis of the "dawn of the superstar lawyer", about how defections from traditional law firms are threatening partnership cultures. I've taken that analysis a counter-intuitive step further in my column this week by comparing the challenges law firms and consultancy partnerships face to the strain of keeping a rock band together. My main example is Fleetwood Mac, which shocked its fans this week by announcing that guitarist Lindsey Buckingham would not take part in its next tour.
Partnership cultures are valuable but also delicate. They require deft leadership. For my challenge this week, I'd like to hear your one-line mission statements that would encourage the critical sense of belonging and collaboration that glues partnerships together. (Extra marks if you can manage to weave in the lyrics from a well-known song.) Send your contributions, as usual, to email@example.com.
Last week I asked for you to supply some opening remarks for Mark Zuckerberg at his congressional hearings, or some questions that lawmakers should put to him. You can now read what the Facebook co-founder actually said and what he was asked in two day's of hearings before senators and congressmen and women. Mr Zuckerberg went big on apologies, which I think was the right thing to do, but from your many suggestions, I admired the chutzpah of Viktor Tingstrom's unrepentant approach:
"Facebook has revolutionised the internet and social media in a short amount of time. We take our responsibilities toward our users seriously. However, in a changing corporate world we need politicians and regulations to keep up. Innovation shouldn’t just be found within the tech industry, it should also be found within politics."
As for challenges, Paul Flather went to the heart of the matter with these questions:
"1) Was it profit that led you to delay so long to respond to the charges of selling and sharing user data directly and/or indirectly?
2) How does Facebook plan to make it up to those whose data information has been exposed without any prior consent or knowledge?
3) How do you think large and powerful corporations can be better encouraged to play fair inside the democracies and states where they sit and benefit from the rule of law and public investment?"
For further reading this week, I recommend an in-depth look at the value — and dangers of — too much or too little feedback by Sergey Gorbatov and Angela Lane in the MIT Sloan Management Review. I've written before about the trend towards changing, or even dropping, performance appraisals. That trend can go too far, the authors argue: "A lack of honest, focused, and timely performance feedback is a major constraint to organisational performance. Unfortunately, we see too many examples of [human resources] ignoring the difficult facts in favor of simplistic, flavour-of-the-month solutions that will only make matters worse".
Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.
Cambridge Analytica video revelations add pressure on data firm The Cambridge Analytica (CA) story raises the question of culpability between humans and artificial intelligence. In determining responsibility, two reasonable conclusions are presented, in my opinion.First, only relevant people working at CA could ever be found guilty, not the Facebook-type data systems used.
Second, staff such as lawyers and business people must do what they can in order to limit AI-based damage to individuals and society. Digital systems cannot be found guilty of their actions. In an FT story about an accident where a pedestrian was killed by a driverless vehicle, it reads: 'regulators need to re-examine the ethics of allowing technology still in development to be tested in the public sphere.'
Jonathan Moules's business school news
Big data is currently a big opportunity. JP Morgan, for instance, is currently advertising over 1,000 jobs for roles with the word ‘digital’ in the job title.
Business schools are also capitalising on the trend, which prompted me to look into the courses being offered and the motivations of their students.
EMLyon Business School, for instance, has developed several new programmes and pedagogical processes for big data tuition with IBM. This follows similar moves by HEC Paris, Iéseg School of Management and New York University’s Stern School of Business.
This shows that business schools can act when they sniff an opportunity. However, the world of work is changing fast, so there is a need to do this much more often and in different ways, not just in subject areas, but the way lessons are taught, courses are structured and relationships are maintained with students and companies.
With many schools starting term this week for the final push before the summer, maybe now is a time to reflect on what one big thing business schools could do to improve their relevance in a fast changing world of work. Send me your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will include the best suggestions in the next newsletter.
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Edited by Wai Kwen Chan — firstname.lastname@example.org
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