Managers of organisations are faced with problems that emanate from the make-up of the societies where those organisations are based; those being the economic, social, political, as well as cultural properties of those areas. The view underlying the Winter School is that it is important for managers to be able to broaden their perspectives of business and managerial problems, by tapping into approaches of other regions of the world that experience or have gone through similar situations.
Being entrusted with the tasks of training future managers, the School of Management of the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) and its partners, the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, of the Chemnitz University of Technology, in Germany (CUT), and the Departments of Communication and of Management of the University of Texas at El Paso, USA (UTEP), seek, through the Winter School programme, to expose students from their universities to how identified problems of cultural diversity, urbanisation, economic disparities within communities and their symptoms, are dealt with as they impact the business world, in different regions; particularly in USA south west, South Africa, as well as Germany. These countries specified due to their specific social, political, economic, and cultural experiences. At the end of the programme students would have gained local insights into global challenges and solutions to problem-solving, broadly and within specific contexts.
Key topics of the AAE Winter School 2009
The goal is to sensitize and inform the participants about the role of management in high potential emerging markets like South Africa and their special national challenges. The focus on empowerment policy of the South African government will show the participants how affirmative action programs like Black Economic Empowerment BEE affect reality in companies and in public administration.
It is has been observed through this programme, thus far, as well as other similar academic programmes, that the mere participation into discussions and engagements with and between students and academic staff at international level raises the standards in terms of quality of research, presentations, discussions, etc. thus developing all participants. For this year’s AAE Winter School in South Africa, it will be especially interesting for the participants how South African companies adapt to the challenges of new policies of the country like the black empowerment policies and affirmative action programs. Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is a program launched by the South African government to redress the inequalities of Apartheid by giving previously disadvantaged groups (black Africans, Coloureds, Indians and Chinese (declared to be Black on June 2008) who are SA citizens) economic opportunities previously not available to them. However, there are strong supporters as well as strong opponents of the new empowerment policy of the South African government. The Winter School investigates some of those dimensions and positions from a business or management point of view. Students and academics examine how the countries can learn from each other in dealing with challenges like diversity, equality and gender mainstreaming not only as societal but also as a managerial issue in companies around the world.
This two week programme entails highly interactive classes/lectures which are combined with group work, provided by academic staff from three Universities. Apart from seminars and lecturers, a professional business game is an important feature of the programme – a game that enhances leadership and management skills relevant to today’s world. In the game intercultural processes of cooperation and communication are reflected and discussed. The programme also includes field trips to industrial and cultural sites as arranged by a host university.