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Southampton Business School

Business dilemmas in sharp focus with Executive Learning Partnership

Published: 6 December 2018

Members of Southampton Business School’s Executive Learning Partnership (ELP) faced an intriguing challenge at their latest monthly event.

They were challenged to explore the issues and dilemmas of conflict within a family business through taking on the identity of individual characters involved in the hypothetical scenario.

The drama was revealed in the 40 minute film Without Question through key themes including corporate governance, reliance on experts, accounting estimates and confidentiality. It was paused at key points in the narrative to allow discussion and debate among the delegates.

“It was brilliant,” says independent business consultant Paul (PJ) Stevens who was at the event. “Every board member ought to watch the film to understand how and why people make poor decisions. Often it just comes down to not asking the right questions and trusting to luck that things will work out right in the end. We spent three hours talking about it and could have stayed much longer.”

The event was organised by Richard Cartwright, Principal Teaching Fellow in Accounting and Finance at Southampton Business School, with Duncan Wiggetts from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) who wrote the screenplay for the film as a training aid for senior managers and company directors. Duncan is ICAEW’s Executive Director Professional Standards and also a qualified solicitor with extensive experience at PwC.

They were challenged to explore the issues and dilemmas of conflict within a family business through taking on the identity of individual characters involved in the hypothetical scenario.

The drama was revealed in the 40 minute film Without Question through key themes including corporate governance, reliance on experts, accounting estimates and confidentiality. It was paused at key points in the narrative to allow discussion and debate among the delegates.

“It was brilliant,” says independent business consultant Paul (PJ) Stevens who was at the event. “Every board member ought to watch the film to understand how and why people make poor decisions. Often it just comes down to not asking the right questions and trusting to luck that things will work out right in the end. We spent three hours talking about it and could have stayed much longer.”

The event was organised by Richard Cartwright, Principal Teaching Fellow in Accounting and Finance at Southampton Business School, with Duncan Wiggetts from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) who wrote the screenplay for the film as a training aid for senior managers and company directors. Duncan is ICAEW’s Executive Director Professional Standards and also a qualified solicitor with extensive experience at PwC.

“This is a powerful way of explaining the realities of business life,” explains Richard. “Without Question is a professional production with well-known actors.  We divide delegates into groups and each one takes the viewpoint of a particular person in the story. The session can get lively as people forget it’s a fictional company and become emotionally involved but afterwards they tell us they’ve learned a lot as well as enjoyed the experience.”

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