For economic development to take happen, there is need for sound macro-economic development policies, and strong education system. Corruption needs to be stamped out and physical infrastructures such as railways, roads, airports and telephones should work.
This depends and at the same time affects companies. Companies are key to economic development. And for companies to impact the economy positively, they should be well managed. That is where we believe the case-writing effort comes in.
We are training lecturers to write cases. This means identifying a business, and documenting its operations. The effort has four outcomes. The cases result in documenting of the firms. The lecturers then use the cases in class. This means the courses become more realistic and have relevant content since they draw from local examples.
Since the lecturers go out to the field to write the cases, it means they become better in their teaching since they face real business situations The result is better lecturers who have extracted ‘lessons to be learned’ from the field. The lecturers also develop better business theories and business models describing how real Kenyan companies work.
What is for sure is that lecturers trained in case writing teach and research better. This in turn translates to better business schools. And better business schools translate to better skilled managers. This in turn means efficient enterprises that pay reasonable salaries and remit taxes.
Thus well managed companies become catalysts for economic development as they are competently managed, socially responsible, and ethical. Strathmore Business School has been using cases for many years. Maybe no study has been done yet but we have seen many of our alumni rising through the ranks in many blue chips companies and contributing immensely in their growth and development. Maybe a study needs to be done to establish whether there was a linkage between the approach of Kenyan business schools and the success of their organizations.
Prof. Luis Renart is a senior lecturer at IESE Business School Dr. Freddie R. Acosta is the Faculty Director at SBS