Part 1: An Introduction.
In an article entitled “Head in the Clouds or Feet on the Ground? CEO Perspectives and the IB Research Agenda,” in the Thunderbird International Business Review, William Pendergast and J. Michael Geringer juxtapose the need for more theory with the requirement for immediate and direct benefits of international business education. Concurrently, they address the linkage between business and academia and demonstrate with help of data the changes which have occurred since an earlier study of these topics by David A. Ricks and Michael Czinkota in their article “International Business: An Examination of the Corporate Viewpoint” in the Journal of International Business Studies.
Particularly perturbing though is the continuity in findings regarding the very limited high esteem in which CEOs hold academic international business research and the contributions of past work. While the corporate world clearly has objectives and missions quite different from academia, Pendergast and Geringer rightfully postulate “that there may be a current window of opportunity to capture a constituency among those companies that anticipate a significant increase in their international activity.”
Universities must capture support constituencies if they are to survive. Though higher education has special attributes which sets it apart from profane competition, there is, in an era of scarce resources, an ongoing, crucial competition for resources which fully encompasses the tertiary education sector. Unless universities present offerings which are attractive or at least somewhat interesting to warrant direct or indirect economic support, they will suffer from a depletion of resources.
In the next few days we will explore ways to incorporate new perspectives of the interaction between universities, society and corporations – addressing how either group needs to learn from the others.
This post is part of a series by Michael Czinkota of Georgetown University and Andreas Pinkwart of Handelshochschule Leipzig on international business research and the new role of universities.