Lecture to debate relevance of business schools
The event, entitled ‘Business Schools: “Playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order”’, will take place from 5.30 to 7pm on Wednesday 18 May in the Rose Bowl at the University’s city campus.
A former business school dean, Professor Reynolds has a 40-year-strong career in academia and, in 2005, secured a £5 million corporate donation to establish a research centre.
“This lecture will offer some practical insights into the knowledge synthesis problem in business schools,” explained Professor Reynolds.
“Knowledge synthesis is a strategy for combining information from research with information from policymakers and practitioners.
“Over the last 20 years or so business schools have received much attention in industry-related literature and quality business press, with articles questioning their role and purpose, and the relevance of their research and curriculum.
“As a business school dean for the majority of that time, I have often wondered why business schools have struggled to respond to the ‘relevance’ question regarding their research and courses. While it is clear there is a spectrum of opinion on the value of the relevance debate in business schools, it would appear that a generation period of innovation effort has had limited impact.
“There are, of course, wide-ranging views on whether the practice-based model of business and management is meaningful; indeed, is it anything different from what a number of business schools would argue they have been doing for many years? There is no ambiguity as to my view on this debate, and also as to why business schools need to respond proactively to the criticisms expressed in industry-related literature.”
A Professor of Management Practice at Leeds Business School, Professor Reynolds studied for a degree in economics at the University of Sheffield. Following a period in industry, he returned to education, completing a doctorate in behavioural economics at the University of York and pursuing a career in academia. Prior to arriving at Leeds Beckett in March 2015, he spent five years in a similar role at Birmingham City Business School, part of Birmingham City University. He has also worked at Sheffield Hallam University, was Dean of Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University for 10 years and spent five years as Dean and Pro Vice Chancellor at Lord Ashcroft International Business School at Anglia Ruskin University.
As a business school dean, Professor Reynolds focused on developing new approaches to practice-based business and management education. He has led many curriculum innovations in work-based learning and in-company training programmes. In 1996, he was responsible for establishing one of the UK’s first in-company degrees in business at Nottingham Trent University, a programme that remains a flagship offering today, and he has continued to develop a number of innovative undergraduate and master’s degree programmes, many for corporate clients.
In 1990, Professor Reynolds secured a £125,000 research grant to apply artificial intelligence methods to develop THESYS, an expert system that supported undergraduates undertaking their final-year dissertation. In 2005, he secured a £5 million corporate donation to establish a research centre – the Centre of International Management Practice – at Anglia Ruskin University.
The lecture will introduce the notion of ‘practice intelligence’ as a work in progress concept to help address the knowledge synthesis problem in business schools. Innovating ways of synthesising knowledge from the traditional disciplines of business and management with knowledge relating to the practice of management is argued to be at the centre of the business school relevance debate.