British Academy of Management launches its new Continental Network with event on ‘Management & Work in a Digital World’’
at British Embassy in Berlin
Berlin, Germany: On 14 March 2019, the British Academy of Management launched its new BAM Continental Network (CN) with an event on Management & Work in a Digital World at the British Embassy in Berlin. Held in cooperation with Münchner Kreis (the leading independent platform providing orientation for decisionmakers in the digital world), the launch ran seamlessly thanks to the efforts of the CN’s Executive Director Kevin Reuther. The event was the first of many intended by the Network, which aims to build BAM’s representation and reputation on the continent, and to foster continued international collaboration in the years ahead.
Continued scientific and research partnership was a key theme of the event, which occurred just weeks before the UK’s scheduled exit from the European Union. The Continental Network’s Chair Professor Christian-Andreas Schumann related to a crowded room how the CN was officially founded in 2018 by a group of scholars from Germany who had been participating in BAM’s annual conferences for many years, and their belief that CN may serve as an intermediary and ‘knowledge network’ in an increasingly interconnected world. BAM’s President, Professor Nic Beech, noted that ‘the Continental Network presents a significant opportunity to connect contrasting social worlds of scholarship, practice, and policy.’ He said that ‘In a digital world, knowledge continuously flows across the boundaries of nations, disciplines and practice. This network is dedicated to increasing the flow of knowledge to produce impactful research, in this case combining advances in strategic leadership and IT innovation.’
These sentiments were echoed by British Ambassador to Germany Sir Sebastian Wood, who said: ‘When we look back on this period, we will see that Brexit was seismic, but the social changes caused by new technology were even more important. It is all the more important to maintain international collaboration in these areas in the post-Brexit environment. I am absolutely delighted that the BAM Continental Network is helping to make this happen.’
Indeed, all of the day’s speakers highlighted the importance of collaboration and learning for the management community, to ensure businesses and society flourish in the face of the rapid digitisation of work environments and everyday lives.
Wilfried Bauer, Vice President of Digital Integration at T-Systems International, was the first to speak. He highlighted that it’s people that make ‘digital’ work. He said that leadership must adapt to a changed world – and adopting the right digital attitude is key. He argued that leaders must be agile, coaching employees rather than commanding them while flattening management hierarchies, and moving to partner with clients in order to co-innovate products and services.
Dr. Gernot Spiegelberg, Director of Electromobility Concept Development at Siemens, was next up. He argued that customers’ rising expectations and other social drivers, like climate change, necessitate a change in management approach. He discussed the future of mobility as the perfect example of this, relating how Siemens is now approaching the issue of e-cars. He argued that in the future, mobility will be seen as a service rather than as a matter of supply, with new kinds of infrastructure and management needed to deliver autonomous and shared vehicle systems.
The last presentation was given by Dr. Rahild Neuburger, Managing Director of Münchner Kreis. She highlighted the key fact that digitisation means that people – especially young people – must refocus on learning how to learn in order to keep pace with rapidly changing job needs in the context of fast-paced digitisation. She also argued that digitisation of employment can lead to positive outcomes for workers who are supported, rather than managed, by artificial intelligence.
All three speakers were then joined by Professor Feng Li FBAM (Chair of Information Management at Cass Business School) and Professor Karin Moser (Director of Research & Enterprise at London South Bank University) in a panel discussion chaired by Professor Michael Dowling (Chairman of Münchner Kreis).
During the discussion, Karin Moser pointed out that we might not need to change management approaches as much as we think. For example, in response to the notion that management hierarchies within organisations needed to be radically flattened, she argued that human beings are social animals, so no matter how much you flatten things out, it will have some effect, but humans will still tend to form informal hierarchies. She also argued that hierarchies are highly efficient and sometimes are needed to make decisions very quickly – that there may not always be time for co-creation and decision networking.
Feng Li raised the important point that in managing the transition to digital, geographical and cultural differences need be acknowledged. He also argued that there is evidence that flattened hierarchies remove the possibility of career progression and open-plan offices have been shown to actually reduce interaction in the work place, showing that not all changes in management practice always work as well as expected.
The day was completed by a successful networking reception with delicious drinks and hors d'oeuvres, courtesy of the British Embassy. In all, there were 86 attendees of the event, around 40% of whom were from the UK, and 60% from the continent. We look forward to the Continental Network’s next event in October on ‘Ethical Questions of Digital Transformation’ which will be held in association with the VDI (The Association of German Engineers).
For further information, interviews, or photos contact:
Dr Ashley Lenihan
Head of Policy & Engagement
British Academy of Management
Third Floor, 137 Euston Road London, NW1 2AA, UK
T: +44 (0)2073 837 770 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the British Academy of Management (BAM):
The British Academy of Management is the leading authority on the academic field of management in the UK, supporting the community of scholars in this field and engaging our international peers. We have 2000 members, roughly a quarter of whom are based abroad across 50 countries. For more information, see: https://www.bam.ac.uk/.
About the BAM Continental Network:
The BAM Continental Network is BAM’s first international community, established to build its representation in continental Europe. It aims to strengthen academic cooperation by connecting scholars in the UK and continental Europe and establishing a platform for knowledge exchange through regular inter- and transdisciplinary events on topics at the forefront of management theory and practice. For more information, see: https://www.bam.ac.uk/continental-network.