Bringing Humanity to Business Education

March 30, 2022
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller

There will be a very important gathering of people this week in our BW Papersystems location in Phillips, WI (USA).

A group of positive changemakers in the world of business education will gather to discuss areas of collaboration and put some framework around how we will work together moving forward.

The goal is to change the way business schools teach the skills of leadership.

I often say that in my early career, I took management classes, I got a management degree and got a job in management. When you’re taught to “manage,” you’re also taught to treat people as functions. You’re taught that success is money, power and position. You’re never taught to inspire. You’re never taught to care.

This group, comprised of business leaders and professors from around the world, to transform business education to be more humanistic and people-oriented wants to transform business education from being institutions that train people to “manage” into institutions that foster humanistic leaders who honor individual dignity and demonstrate the courage to care for others.

My co-host in this gathering is Michael Pirson an Associate Professor of Management, Global Sustainability, and Social Entrepreneurship at Fordham University and Research Fellow at Harvard University. He is the co-founder of the International Humanistic Management Association.

Michael has taken up my challenge to help his fellow educators see the need to create leaders, not managers.

He once wrote:

In many corporations managers are induced to be mindless. They imbibe a cultural narrative that portrays people as mere instruments to advance team or corporate goals. The labels for employees vary from human resources to human assets, to human capital. Managers get rewarded based on achieving corporate goals making the most of these resources, assets or capital…

Many times people do not feel heard and valued. Fights about salary are often symbolic and tend to disguise the larger issue: that people wish to be treated with dignity. It sounds trivial. Yet, a mindful shift in perspective can increase our awareness of our shared humanity and help resolve many conflicts.

We will hopefully share much more from this gathering soon, but I’d like to share with you a video featuring Michael, put together by our friend Alison Bartlett, a documentary filmmaker who recently produced a short film about Barry-Wehmiller.

You get to hear more from him about how caring leaders can change the world.

Related Posts

Need help in applying principles of Truly Human Leadership in your organization? Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute is Barry-Wehmiller's leadership consulting firm that partners with other companies to create strategic visions, engage employees, improve corporate culture and develop outstanding leaders through leadership training, assessments and workshops.

Find out more at