Blogging Highlights: Higher Education, Lehman Brothers, Microfinance

This week we would like to draw your attention to three interesting debates in the blogosphere as well as a new book release.

(1)    How sustainable is our current higher education system? In his recent article, Brayden King raises the question on OrgTheory.org why students “acquire more debt than they could possibly pay given the job prospects for which their education prepares them”. The author continues: “What are the long-term consequences of student indebtedness for our society? What are the long-term consequences of the professionalization of university management? Will faculty voices and interests eventually be squeezed out entirely?” Another article on OrgTheory.org discusses the rise of part-time faculty in recent years. Are we entering a reality where “fewer and fewer stable tenure track jobs [are] waiting for graduate students”?

(2)    What can we learn from the collapse of the Lehman Brothers five years ago? Andre Spicer of Cass Business School evaluates in his recent article on TheConversation.com whether banks have succeeded in becoming safer and in reducing unmanageable risks. Despite some progress, the author concludes: “Banks need to ensure they do indeed meaningfully separate retail and investment banking. And they need to build a culture that encourages financial safety rather than reckless speculation.” Insightful on this topic is also a recent related article in the Guardian.

(3)    How effective are microfinance solutions for the “ultra-poor”, and what are the alternatives? The authors of Governance Across Borders discuss a recent evaluation of the SKS Microfinance “Ultra-Poor Programme” in India which has been giving non-repayable one-off kickstarts to ultra-poor households. The study suggests that effects of these grants on long-term (self-) employment and entrepreneurship are minimal. So is it really true that “Poor people just need more money” as Louise Ravn Christiansen suggests in her recent post on MYC4.com?

New book release: The Crane and Matten blog just announced the release of a new edition of “Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings and Cases in a Global Context” (by Andrew Crane, Dirk Matten, and Laura J. Spence). In the introduction chapter, which is available online, the authors argue that CSR has gone way beyond philanthropy, especially in the global context, and that in fact it concerns the impact of core business functions on society. The authors also point out that multinational corporations increasingly interact with NGOs and the public sector to shape business conditions, not least in developing countries. The growing importance of CSR as a dimension of global governance is also reflected by the recent debate on “political CSR”, which is the core topic of a forthcoming special issue in Journal of Management Studies.

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