October 28th 2021

Responsible Management Education in the Study Program Business Administration Online

Interview about Responsible Management with Maria Pammer

Students have to face diverse challenges in our complex and uncertain world. In addition to key competencies such as networked thinking and problem-solving skills, competencies for responsible and sustainable action are also part of the management competencies of the 21st century. In this short interview, head of studies Maria Pammer explains why the program aims to promote these competencies among its students and why they are an integral part of the curriculum.

What does responsibility have to do with studying business administration?

At MCI, we want to contribute to overcoming current challenges. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the six principles for responsible management education provide us a framework for this. In particular, this includes helping students to create lasting value for companies and society by acting and leading responsibly, sustainably and ethically. This is not a contradiction to business studies or the "entrepreneurial spirit" at MCI, but a core aspect of it. Innovative thinking, a willingness to take risks and perseverance are consistent with the MCI's entrepreneurial philosophy. Economic scandals in recent years have shown that management and ethics cannot be viewed separately. That is why responsible management, sustainability and ethics are an integral part of our study program in business administration.

How are responsibility, sustainability and ethics integrated at Business Administration Online?

After 5 successful years, we decided to revise the curriculum in 2019. The motivations were, on the one hand, more content flexibility and elective options and, on the other hand, an area-wide integration of ethics, sustainability and responsibility. Therefore, the new curriculum provides a freely selectable module in addition to the electives "Innovation & Entrepreneurship" or "Digital Workplace Learning". Responsible management is a cross-sectional subject with links to all courses. So the curriculum now includes more than just a module on business ethics, which students might otherwise perceive as disconnected from the "real" business administration courses. The desire to integrate these aspects more strongly also emerged among students. In addition to direct feedback, this can also be seen in the topics for the final thesis. More and more students want to deal with the Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability and responsible management as part of their bachelor thesis.

How does this apply specifically to courses?

The extent to which aspects of responsible management are integrated into courses varies. In some courses, responsible management is a small part of a case study or discussion, while in other courses, such as business ethics, it is central.

To give a few specific examples and topics: This semester, in the course "Introduction to Economic History and Economics," students discuss the introduction of the CO2 tax and pollution, climate change, and true costs in the production of goods. In the course "Digital Project Management & Application Project", the lecturers will intensively discuss the principles of responsible project management. Students will then be required to implement these principles as they work on projects. In the courses on marketing, students also discuss marketing ethics, for example, the "right to be forgotten," clickbaiting, and greenwashing.

I would also like to highlight the service learning in our degree program in this regard. As an elective course, students at Business Administration Online can also do volunteer work at Caritas or the Rotes Kreuz. In this way, we promote the social commitment and social skills of our students and support the transfer of knowledge from university to practice.

Thank you very much for the interview!