To strengthen student engagement in the intellectual life of the school and faculty, in addition to supporting UCLA Anderson Ph.D. students, the CGM funds MBA students to serve as research assistants to work with faculty on their global research projects, case studies and course development, as well as support UCLA Anderson's executive programs abroad.
MBA STUDENT CONTRIBUTES TO DEVELOPMENT OF POTENTIAL NEW MBA COURSE ON GLOBAL SOCIAL INNOVATION AND SYSTEMS CHANGE (2019-2020)
lecturer and faculty advisor, Impact@Anderson
The field of social entrepreneurship, in particular how it is taught in business schools, is rich with business and management relevance and is evolving beyond teaching MBA students about building and scaling enterprises that seek to solve social problems. While showing promise in some sectors, Gayle Northrop, continuing lecturer at Anderson, argues that typical approaches are not sufficient in scope or scale to address society’s greatest social and environmental challenges. What social impact experts, including impact educators, are recognizing is the need for solutions that take a systemic view, embrace complexity and leverage and integrate the work of multiple organizations, institutions, sectors and actors. These approaches, often called systems change or systems work, are gaining visibility and prominence in the field of social impact education.
During 2019-20, the CGM funded Northrop, who teaches its South Africa-focused social innovation and social entrepreneurship global immersion course, to assist with curriculum development for a potential two- or four-unit MBA-level course titled “Global Social Innovation and Systems Change” that would augment Anderson’s social impact curriculum. Northrop, who is also senior advisor at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, has been collaborating with her Bertha Centre colleagues who are pioneering a new way to write and teach case studies, referred to as the systems case method — an approach that reflects and will support the methodologies and mindsets of systems thinking and systems change curricula in management education. CGM funding supported the development and drafting of two systems case studies using this new methodology: one telling the story of the #FeesMustFall movement challenging South Africa’s higher education system, and the other exploring organizational scaling versus systems change to drive youth financial education and inclusion globally. Both cases can be used in the global social impact course at UCLA Anderson as well as in other academic and practitioner settings.
FACULTY & MBA STUDENT COLLABORATION
MBA Students Contribute to Research for New Book on the Scaling of Social Startups on a Global Basis (2018-19)
Jennifer Walske, adjunct assistant professor of management and organizations
MBA STUDENTS CONTRIBUTE TO RESEARCH FOR NEW BOOK ON THE SCALING OF SOCIAL STARTUPS ON A GLOBAL BASIS (2018-19)
adjunct assistant professor of management and organizations
During 2018–19, the CGM funded an award for MBA research assistants to support the data analysis, research, writing and editing of a book on the scaling of social enterprises on a global basis. It integrates case work, published research and best practices as voiced by the founders of startups themselves. The book’s co-authors are Jennifer Walske, adjunct assistant professor of management and organizations and interim faculty director of Impact@Anderson, and Laura Tyson, faculty director of Berkeley Haas’ Institute for Business and Social Impact and professor of business and public policy.
The topic of scaling has garnered great importance within the field of social entrepreneurship because, whereas more social enterprises are being founded, few have actually scaled. Historically, mission-oriented nonprofits and for-profit organizations have had difficulty breaking the $1 million revenue barrier. While within business schools a great deal of attention has been paid to design innovation and thinking, fast pivots and business model canvasses, this failure to scale has led to criticism of the social sector. The co-authors take a step back from current popular ideation practices and ask eight high-growth social enterprises what was most important to them in their first three years of operating, and what most influenced their ability to scale. Based on inductive, qualitative methods and comparative case analysis, this research suggests other success factors associated with scaling, including: developing a value chain, building a brand/media presence and something more well known, which is shoring up early investment capital.
With the initial assistance of Kathryn Li from the FEMBA Class of 2019 and the current support of Schafer Newman from the FEMBA Class of 2020, the book, which is under contract with Edward Elgar Publishing, is now complete and scheduled to be published in January of 2020. Newman participated in two CGM global immersion courses. One focused on social entrepreneurship and innovation in South Africa and the other looked at entrepreneurship in developing countries in Southeast Asia. He toured large private social enterprises and visited innovation and entrepreneurship hubs and accelerators. He heard from successful social entrepreneurs and community leaders, as well as emerging entrepreneurs working to start up and scale their social innovations and small businesses.
FACULTY & MBA STUDENT COLLABORATION
MBA Student Contributes to Research Initiative at the Intersection of Behavioral Science and Economic Development (2017-18)
Sanford DeVoe, associate professor of management and organizations
MBA STUDENT CONTRIBUTES TO RESEARCH INITIATIVE AT THE INTERSECTION OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (2017-18)
associate professor of management and organizations
During 2017–18, the CGM provided two awards to fund a research initiative at the intersection of behavioral science and economic development titled “Alleviating Time Poverty among the Working Poor.” This project involves the development and implementation of several original research studies by: Colin West, a UCLA Anderson Ph.D. student in management and organization; Sanford DeVoe, UCLA Anderson associate professor of management and organizations; and Ashley Whillans, assistant professor at Harvard Business School. The investigators are collaborating with partner organization Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Kenya to conduct several lab and field experiments advancing knowledge in behavioral science and economic development. During 2017–18, Sam Blake (MBA/MPP ’18) worked alongside DeVoe and West to assist with several aspects of project management and implementation. In addition to analyzing data and conducting background research and reviews to support project development, he also helped to form partnerships with NGOs in East Africa and assisted with writing grant proposals for additional research funding, including preparation, submission and management of grant proposals to governments, foundations and corporate sources.
This research advances a novel approach to poverty alleviation based on freeing up time and mental resources. The insights generated by this research will help to inform a new model of economic aid designed to overcome poverty traps by directly addressing the psychological costs of time poverty. Overall, a better understanding of time poverty will help to improve the effectiveness of businesses, policymakers and NGOs engaged in a wide variety of economic development efforts.