Independent News Magazine

Copenhagen Business School

Does CBS top management have a problem with its style and structure?

The academic staff have a very low confidence in how the top management runs CBS. (Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard)

A new committee, set by the Academic Council, has looked into why the academic staff has a low confidence in the top management at CBS and found four major issues. We asked the top management what consequences this report will have.

Anne M. Lykkegaard

Journalist

Caroline Boas

Student Reporter

Non-involving decision making. Increasing bureaucratization. Not being able to speak up about the way things are done at CBS. Lack of confidence in the management of CBS.

These are the four main issues that the academic staff across the 15 departments at CBS state in a new report made by a committee appointed by the Academic Council: Report on job satisfaction survey & Annex satisfaction survey

Earlier in the spring, the top management at CBS asked the Academic Council to investigate why especially the academic staff gave the top management a low score (2.6/5) in regards to the confidence in how CBS is being run.

The conclusion from the new report, which was published on June 22nd on CBS Share, shows that the main problem might in fact be the general structure of the management at CBS.

One of the major issues relates to the question “I feel able to speak up and give my view/suggestions on the way things are done at CBS”, as not all faculty members feel they can speak freely about how things are done (3.3/5).

Four main issues

The committee has been conducting face-to-face interviews with colleagues at both junior and senior level at the different departments in order to find out where the shoe pinches. And they point towards four main issues:

1: An opaque strategy and vision for CBS including a lack of focus on research excellence, as well as concerns expressed by colleagues from several department about whether CBS would become a ‘regular business school’ with a narrow focus on the more traditional business school disciplines.

2: An increased use of CBS-wide key performance indicators that some faculty members perceive as challenges to academic autonomy and diversity, while other faculty members perceive these as being futile unless measurable CBS-wide minimum requirements and ambitions for research, as well as teaching are defined.

3: A failing recognition and appreciation of faculty work and deficient incentive systems.

4: A general lack of transparency in decision-making and an unreceptive tone from the top management.

The CBS management takes the critique in the report very seriously.

Janie Huus Tange, Head of Communications

The committee explains in the report that the fourth issue partly stems from a communication problem, but that it can’t be reduced to communication failure alone. The problem is also due to the perception that speaking up will not make any difference to the situation anyhow, they say.

Besides, faculty members also think that information is not being distributed well enough and that discussions are held very late in the process, making it difficult to be part of the decision making.

CBS WIRE asked the President of CBS, Per Holten-Andersen what the consequences of the report’s conclusions should be, but he didn’t have the time to answer them. Instead, Janie Huus Tange, Head of Communications answered the questions via email on behalf of the top management.

Does the management at CBS have a problem with their management style and structure?

The CBS management takes the critique in the report very seriously. Having an opinion is the right and the duty when working at a university and we value the engagement. Until the report has been discussed after the Summer holidays, the management has no comments to what the conclusions might refer to. We are dependent on an open discussion and this will take place after the holidays.

What will the management do in regards to the critic towards the way the management is being done in general?

First of all, the report needs to be discussed thoroughly within the management board. Then the management will decide what actions to take.

What do you plan to do with the four main issues highlighted in the report?

First of all, the report needs to be discussed thoroughly within the management board. Then the management will decide what actions to take.

Is the new public management approach limiting for the staff at CBS’ personal and professional well-being, as they are being controlled in a higher degree now?

Whether that is the case or not, management cannot have an opinion on this issue before they have thoroughly discussed the report, which they have not had the time to before after the summer holidays.

How does the management feel about the fact that the staff  is avoiding to speak up to guarantee their job or chances of tenure? Is this not damaging in regards to the quality and creativity of the work being produced?

Whether that is the case or not, management cannot have an opinion on this issue before they have thoroughly discussed the report, which they have not had the time to before after the holidays.

Why is the CBS management not 100% transparent in their work? What is not being displayed or shown to the staff and/or public? Why is it not?

We believe that publishing the report – including the annex with comments – immediately instead of leaving it on a desk until everybody comes back from holiday in August is a very open and transparent decision. This report concerns CBS’ staff which is why the report has been published on the intranet and not on external channels. It’s not an attempt to keep secrets, but at this point, we think it’s only relevant to us.

The report is a good, yet critical and serious, basis for the dialogue that we need to have after the holidays with both HSU and the Academic Council. This is another reason that we can’t deduct results or comment on details. This is serious, and the management as well as the rest of the organization, needs time to go through it thoroughly before we go further and engage in a dialogue across CBS, where we can focus on how the confidence in management can be reestablished. We hope that publishing the report now can initiate the dialogue across CBS during the summer.

Comments

  1. Maj Grasten says:

    Thanks to CBS Wire for a very interesting article. I’m sure this is just an unfortunate parallel but the response by Sven Bislev seems to reflect the extent to which is has become a popular technique among leaders to diminish the quality of the media that comments on them.

  2. sven bislev says:

    This is a problematic piece that triggers some reflections on what “Wire” could or should be. The English is really bad – several idiomatic problems, and problems of terminology are obvious.
    Moreover, this dialogue of the deaf is a provocation for anyone trying to rea the piece: Jannie obviously isn’t mandated to speak on behalf of the Senior Management Team (I suppose that is what she means when writing “management board”). Good journalistic practice would be to report the publication appearance of the AC report, perhaps interview on or two authors or have someone else review it – and then tell your readers that no comments are forthcoming from the SMT; as they obviously aren’t.

  3. John says:

    Hi, congratulations with this online article from the CBS news magazine.

    One question: Could the investigators behind this article please explain the analysis that has produced the headline part “problems with ….structure” … what structure and the evidence for this conclusion?

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