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Integrative Leadership at "B-Schools?"

What do a "hotshot, investment bank-oriented star lawyer and an elementary school principal" have in common? They both recognize the importance of an approach to leadership that looks at "problems from many perspectives and [combines] various approaches to find innovative solutions."

A recent New York Times article, "Multicultural Critical Theory at B School," discusses how business schools are incorporating integrative learning in their curriculums in response to "a fast-changing global market" that requires the ability to "think more nimbly across multiple frameworks, cultures, and disciplines."

The article highlights the work of Professor Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Business, who elaborates on the need to:

"[move] business schools into territory more traditionally associated with the liberal arts: multidisciplinary approaches, an understanding of global and historical context and perspectives, a greater focus on leadership and social responsibility and, yes, learning how to think critically."

More business schools are starting to incorporate these ideas in their curriculums.

The article illustrates how business schools are beginning to teach students to think integratively about their discipline in order to become more effective leaders in today's global economy. As David A. Garvin, a professor from Harvard Business School, says:

"I think there's a feeling that people need to sharpen their thinking skills, whether it's questioning assumptions, or looking at problems from multiple points of view."

It is exciting to see the concept of integrative leadership in the pages of the New York Times, as it encourages a dialogue on a more cross-disciplinary, integrative way of thinking.



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