Canada’s B-Schools Focus on Team Building

team buildingThe age of the corporate strongman appears to be waning, Mark Anderson wrote earlier this week in the Vancouver Sun. These days, the trend toward a more consultative, team-oriented leadership style has also manifested within Canada’s MBA  programs.

Ian Lee, assistant professor of Strategic Management and International Business at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, says the shift to team-oriented leadership is largely due to the increasing complexity of business problems and processes.

“Problems no longer arrive in silos, as accounting problems, or marketing problems, or corporate governance problems. They arrive as multi-faceted problems that require a multitude of skill sets, and as such are best tackled by teams.”

Meanwhile, professor Willi Wiesner of McMaster’s Degroote School of Business says the trend toward team problem solving and leadership is being driven in part by the flattening of corporate structures. This evolution naturally pressures business schools to focus more heavily on team-building and team problem-solving exercises.

“One of the things we’re hearing from employers is that business school graduates are maybe not as well-versed in teamwork and team problem solving as they should be,” Wiesner says.

Forcing students to solve problems in peer teams, when there is no designated leader, can be problematic says professor Carolyn Egri of Simon Fraser University’s Segal Graduate School of Business, but also deeply instructive and rewarding.

“Often members of a team will stay in touch with one another after they graduate. The feedback we get is that the team building exercises are among the most valuable things MBA and Executive MBA students take from the program.”

To learn more about how an MBA can help you work with others, read the original article here.

(image by Flickr user bencrowe, CC 2.0)

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