The 3rd International Conference on Management, Leadership and Governance got underway in Auckland New Zealand this morning, with a keynote presentation by Phil O'Reilly, CEO of BusinessNZ. BusinessNZ is the apex organisation that speaks for businesses and those in the private sector in particular. O'Reilly is also the Chair of Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD and of International Labour Organisation a United Nations agency, so he has a strong global perspective.
O'Reilly's topic was The Research Agenda in Business. He spoke passionately about the need for high quality research to inform the business community to bring rigour to the 'educated guesses' of many business owners and leaders. O'Reilly suggested that if researchers are to deliver 'value', research needs to be relevant. More specifically, he argued that business needs research that is:
O'Reilly had some interesting ideas including that profit, business and capitalism are not ends in themselves. Rather, they are means: the actual end being successful communities. This was a refreshing comment, because it demonstrated that business has a vital place in the wider social fabric (the community). However, the value of the contribution of business is dependent on high quality research, to help leaders move from educated guesses to robust applicable knowledge.
The keynote set a strong tone for the conference ahead: that the academic–practice divide must be bridged, through relevant research that can be used by business leaders to grow strong, high-performance businesses.
Thoughts on corporate purpose, strategy and governance; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.