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The University of Southampton
Southampton Business School

Multi-disciplinary Challenges of Management in a Changing World: Panel Discussion by Southampton Academics

Published: 22 January 2021
Southampton Panel poster

On Jan 8, 2021 a team consisting of Southampton academics, Prof. Sabu Padmadas, Prof. Jaywant Singh, and Dr. Rob Angell delivered a panel discussion on Multi-disciplinary Challenges of Management in a Changing World for the ICMC 2021 Conference organized by the Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad (MICA), India and the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin. Professor Paurav Shukla acted as the panel moderator.

The panel was well-attended by more than 275 participants consisting both of practitioners and academics.

Prof. Padmadas discussed the macro aspects of management challenges that are underpinned by demographic changes globally including the age cohorts and their behaviours, health challenges and the need for culturally sensitive communications.

Prof. Singh focused on the role of corporations in society as a multi-disciplinary challenge. He argued that companies need to become pro-active agents in solving global crisis rather than only driven by the profit agenda. Keeping the current COVID challenges, he argued for a crisis-focused corporate social responsibility approach.

Dr. Angell added to the discussion by using example of retail industry to argue that many companies see sustainability as a distant, abstract objective. However, he emphasized that sustainability must be included in the short-medium and long-term objectives of organization and in doing so, we will be driven towards a fairer and sustainable society.

The panel also discussed the role of ‘creative convergence’ as researchers and practitioners in varying fields mostly operate in their disciplinary silos. The panel recommended that having open-ended communications is the foundation for breaking such silos, and the India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development at the University of Southampton offers a stellar example. The panel also identified a number of local cross-national initiatives, spanning across disciplines, that the University of Southampton colleagues are actively involved in.

The issue of cultural diversity, particularly the organizational culture, were also discussed. The panel argued that the need for diversity, cultural sensitivity and openness to experiment and readiness to fail and recover as important mechanisms towards building successful multi-disciplinary teams.  The participants asked some pertinent questions on related issues.

MICA has developed as an important partner for the University’s India-centric strategy and a number of collaborative activities have taken place over the past year.  Several new initiatives have been envisioned as we move forward.

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