The theme of the recently concluded 5th National Business Management Conference (NBMC) is “Grassroots: Towards Responsible Management and Sustainable Business Practices,” which is both timely and appropriate for the Philippines.
The conference was organized by the Center for Business Research of the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University (DLSU), led by its director, Dr. Raymund Habaradas, and co-organized by the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA), in cooperation with the Philippine Academy of Management. The conference was held on Nov. 17 and 18, at the Avenue Plaza Hotel, Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City.
The NBMC, which was cofounded by DLSU and the University of San Carlos, aims “to enhance the ability of faculty members and graduate students of Philippine business schools to engage in scholarly research by providing a venue for the presentation and critique of their ideas, and by providing capability-building sessions on various research approaches and methodologies.”
The focus on the grassroots and its role in responsible and sustainable management practices is timely because all business leaders and students must imbibe in their practices the following most often quoted definition of sustainability by the United Nations (UN) World Commission on Environment and Development: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The plenary talk by Br. Armin Luistro FSC, De La Salle Philippines president and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) president, espouses the role of business in ensuring that our country has zero poverty by 2030, a goal that is aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN.
Bro. Armin focused on how the business sector through PBSP is helping address social problems in the country. He also challenged the participants to assist in the achievement of the SDGs through their research, advocacy, and community engagement.
The other sessions focused on capacity-building of faculty and researchers.
Dr. Emilina Sarreal gave a session on case writing and teaching. She focused on the need to develop more cases, especially Philippine-based cases, so that students and teachers can have a variety of cases to use in class for discussion and assessment of learning. Case studies are effective tools of instruction and have been proven to improve the critical-thinking skills of learners both in schools and corporations. They supplement theories that are learned in class, make students aware of various aspects of management, and provide various what-if scenarios in different situations.
On the other hand, Dr. Reynaldo Bautista gave a session on the importance of frameworks in quantitative analysis. He emphasized the need for such frameworks in the design, conduct, and analysis of surveys and studies to further management theories, and in the construction and validation of theories that would lead to better business practices.
Lastly, the session by Dr. Feorillo Petronilo Demeterio III on “Building a Research Culture in Philippine Higher Educational Institutions: Opportunities and challenges” focused on the history and development of research universities in the west, and on how the Philippines is faring compared with its Southeast Asian neighbors.
While most universities are now espousing research as evidenced by incentives related to research endeavors, there is still a dearth of faculty undertaking research to further the field of business and management, which has traditionally been known in the academe as being practice-oriented.
However, this talk and conference proved that given the nature of business practice, research can be done in a lot of areas to improve and to innovate management practices. The papers presented in the conference were a testament to the perseverance and passion that are brought about by researching on management.
Overall, the conference achieved its aim of being a venue for collaboration, communication, and compassion in management — traits that can lead to both responsible and sustainable management practices.
Brian C. Gozun is Dean of the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University.