MDIIM Thematic Priorities for integrated management scholarship
As mentioned, whether one considers the relationships between different functional areas inside an organization or the relationships between an organization and its external stakeholders, there is a growing need for managers who can articulate and reconcile issues from multiple perspectives. Desautels' approach to integrated management education involves two key activities:
- Values protection through robust metrics and risk management. Ensures that an organization’s performance metrics and risk management activities address and protect multiple values.
- Values creation through innovation. Ensures that an organization innovates in ways that transcend rather than accept trade-offs between different values.
Integrated management also involves reconciling economic value with other societal values against which economic value is too often assumed to be in conflict:
- health (individuals);
- social well-being (communities); and
- sustainability (ecosystems).
Each of these represents an area in which Desautels researchers already excel – areas of expertise that can be leveraged by combining them with the strengths of other McGill faculties, centres, and institutes.
Robust metrics and risk management
Organizations exist to create value for stakeholders with different perspectives on what is desirable and valuable, so they must achieve satisfactory levels of performance on multiple dimensions. Because gains along one dimension can sometimes be accompanied by – or increase the probability of – losses along other dimensions, while paying attention to just one or a few dimensions of performance while ignoring others can also result in value destruction, the integration of multiple perspectives helps managers to appreciate trade-offs and accomplish superior risk management. The robust metrics required for integrated management combine quantitative and qualitative information relevant to attaining financial as well as non-financial objectives.
Innovation is the process through which organizations transform ideas into novel products, services, technologies, practices or relationships that create value as viewed from the perspectives of multiple organizational stakeholders. An innovation is therefore a new idea put into action. Innovation is what makes organizations and societies thrive as they overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities – both of which require the ability to appreciate and integrate multiple perspectives that characterize integrated management.
Health, as a desired state of physical, mental and social well-being, is an obvious human value that encompasses more than the absence of disease. Lifestyle, environment and biomedical factors are key determinants of an individual’s health, which is also influenced by the quality of health promotion, disease prevention and healthcare systems. Organizations operating within these systems clearly play an important role in health outcomes – their achievement of both effectiveness and efficiency is a primary concern. But it is important to remember that all organizations have a role to play by attending to how their decisions affect lifestyles as well as working and living environments.
Social well-being, as a desired state in which people have a sense of belonging and contributing to a community characterized by trust and that provides opportunities for fulfillment and development, is an important value. Organizations in civil society and the public sphere clearly contribute to social well-being through service delivery and other activities. But it is important to remember that all organizations, including private ones, have a role to play by attending to the social impacts of their decisions and actively seeking to strengthen the social fabric of the communities and societies in which they operate.
Sustainability is a societal ideal and criterion for development which resembles other widely accepted but conceptually challenging human goals such as justice or freedom. Because scientific understandings of how nature functions change over time, and because value judgments are involved, it is impossible to define precise conditions for sustainability once and for all. Nonetheless, it is possible to discern its general orientations, which include pursuing economic prosperity while living within the carrying capacity of ecosystems and achieving social equity. All organizations from each of the private, public and pluralistic sectors have important roles to play, not the least of which is attending to the environmental impacts of their decisions and actively seeking to minimize harms or even to improve ecosystem functioning.