Task Force Participants

Digital technologies are quickly transforming the way the business world operates.  Although the change has been under way for several decades, its pace seems to keep increasing.  The Management task force is examining the impact of digital technologies on the areas of general management, leadership, organizational behavior and human resources management.

Task Force Leader

Prof. Thomas Begley

Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Thomas Begley is currently a professor in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer, after serving as the school’s dean for eight years. His previous post was as Dean of the UCD School of Business, including the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business and the Quinn School of Business. Prior to that, he held the Governor Hugh L. Carey Chair in Organisational Behavior at UCD. His primary research, teaching and consulting interests are in the areas of organizational change, cross-cultural management, and global issues in human resource management. Professor Begley served on the faculty of Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration and has held visiting appointments at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the Prasetiya Mulya Graduate School of Management in Jakarta, Indonesia, Reims Management School in France, and Boston University. He has been included in Irish America magazine’s lists of the Top 100 Irish Americans and the Top 100 Irish Americans in Business. He is a regular contributor to the media, through op-ed pieces, commentary, and providing expert opinion.

Curriculum Report

The MaCuDE Management Domain Task Force, led by Prof. Tom Begley (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) reviewed course titles and descriptions of the management and HR disciplines from 164 business schools globally and found that that usage of digital and related themes is not widespread in the management curricula. Nevertheless, the task force identified two main areas of digital content in the general management curriculum: People Analytics and the Management of Digital Transformation. The first one deals with HRM, the second with management. Additional digital content is represented in four additional ones Human Capital, Managing Technology, Social Networks, and the Ethics of People Analytics/Digital Transformation. 

  • People Analytics represents the application of business analytics techniques to workforce data. People Analytics courses have begun to appear across the undergraduate, Master’s, and MBA levels.  For example, at the undergraduate level, Purdue University hosts the HR Analytics Interactive Lab, and McGill University offers an undergraduate course on “People Analytics”. At the Master’s level, schools like Stanford University, City University of Hong Kong, or National University of Singapore offer the simply-titled “People Analytics” course. Variations include “Talent Development and Analytics” (Free University of Amsterdam), “Talent Analytics: Data and Tools” (Higher School of Economics), “HRM Technology, Analytics, and Digital Innovation” (University College Dublin), “Strategic Human Resource Metrics & Analysis” (Cornell University), “Data Analytics for HRM” (Leeds Beckett) or “HR Analytics and Internal Auditing” (Lisbon’s ISCTE). Many MBA programs also offer a certificate program, e.g., Wharton. It is interesting to note that elvtr.com is also offering a course on “Human Resources Analytics”.
  • Managing Digital Transformation addresses the impact of digitalization on work and the workplace. This topic is also addressed by the Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship section 3.1.6. Because of its broader view, few undergraduate programs offer targeted programs or courses, with the few including the “Business and Technology major” at Stevens Institute of Technology, the “Business + Tech Hub at the University of Michigan or the “Management Consulting track of the Management major” at Lehigh University. Other schools offer dual or joint undergraduate degrees covering aspects of digital transformation, e.g., Lehigh University offers a joint BS in Computer Science and Business, while Yale University offers a joint degree BS in Computer Science and Economics as well as dual degrees e.g., Applied Math and Economics.The topic of digital transformation receives the most coverage among Master’s programs. Many schools offer executive programs, e.g., Digital Transformation (ESSEC). Generally, most of the courses include Digital Transformation in their titles (e.g., Copenhagen, ESADE, Indian Institute of Management – Calcutta), with some pursuing variations like Theories of Digital Business (Amsterdam), Modern Ways of Working in the Digital Age (ESCP), and E-HR (National Taiwan University), Digital Transformation (Stanford).  The list of MBA programs with digital transformation courses is modest, exemplified by Dartmouth’s Digital Transformation (together with Coursera) or Digital Change Strategies, Sasin’s Digital Transformation: Emerging Technologies and Strategies, and Hong Kong UST’s Digital Leadership and Teamwork.
  • Human Capital.  Human capital, a concept used by companies as a way to evaluate how prepared their employees are to tackle the competitive challenges they face, is related to people analytics, as a way to gain the insights that will allow a company to increase its human capital. Courses or programs in human capital have started appearing. Some examples include “Human Capital Management” (IE), “Leveraging Human Capital and Performance” (Sussex), and “Introduction to Managing Human Capital” (Michigan). MBA courses on the topic are offered mainly by highly respected schools such as Harvard (Managing Human Capital), Darden (Human Capital Consulting), and Chicago (Leadership Capital).
  • Managing Technology.  A fourth area positions digitalization as the dominant current form of technology. Examples of undergraduate courses are “Technology and Organization (Nottingham University) and “Organizing in the Digital Age: Power, Technology, and Society” (University of Lancaster).  Examples of Master’s courses include “Global and Distributed Teams” (Carnegie Mellon), “Managing AI” (Stevens), or “Business Implications of Emerging Technologies” (RPI).
  • Social Networks. Several courses have been developed to analyse today’s complex social networks. An interesting example is the undergraduate course “Digital Society: Your Place in a Networked World” (University of Manchester), which examines the connectedness of digital life, the relationship between the individual and the state, the smart cities of the future (and now), ethics of the online world and the impact of digital and mobile technology on business and marketing. The course has a strong employability focus, as it aims for students to develop transferable skills relevant to life beyond their studies, including real experience of blogging, critical thinking and reflection, peer learning, collaborative tools, researching and curating content, maintaining an online profile and presentation skills. Other interesting examples of courses are Master’s “Social Network Analysis” (offered by UC Davis and Coursera), and MBA’s “Managing Social Networks in Organizations” (Stanford).
  • Ethics of People Analytics/Ethics of Digital Transformation.  Finally, we include the topic of ethics not because it has a strong presence – it does not – but rather because we see a strong need for ethics courses in both the People Analytics and Digital Transformation domains.  An interesting course is the undergraduate course by Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations on the “Ethics and Policy in Data Science.” Another is Dartmouth’s “Ethics and Social responsibility requirement”, as well as a rather large number of elective courses or Dartmouth’s Center for Business, Government and Society.

Recommendations for moving forward include consulting with industry on its needs, incentives to change academic resistance, and making resources availability a priority.

This task force is currently surveying industry leaders for an assessment of future needs in the management area. It will then produce recommendations for the MaCuDE steering committee.

The full curriculum report of the Management Task force is here.