Published: 06 Jan 2016

School of Business showcase highlights students' original research

Latest edition of the college's Bulletin magazine shows a wealth of expertise applied directly to practical business problems

This has been a particularly productive year for our School of Business, reflected in the decision to devote the entire latest issue of Bulletin to a showcase of the best work by our students.

As Fred Hutchinson - principal lecturer in Accounting at Teesside University - notes in his introduction, 'the emphasis of this collection of papers is to bring together areas that have been explored by students with a particular focus on the development of 'ethical' leadership qualities. These articles provide examples of how Prague College's challenging but practical programme prepares students to be immediately useful in the world of work, whether with a large or small corporation or in public service.

'The research papers demonstrate a wealth of expertise applied directly to practical business problems. They are challenging, and even if one might not agree with the analysis and conclusions, still the reader will find much to reflect upon.'

The first two articles provide evaluations of the marketing strategies of two international companies. Katerina Haskova provides a critical analysis of the marketing approach of Starbucks, while Veronika Šírová provides a similar strategic marketing analysis of L'Oreal, offering perceptive insights not only on current strategy but also potential future direction.

The next three articles offer illuminating perspectives on the relationship between company success and the values that are portrayed by the company and its employees. Arlind Svarca's piece demonstrates how a company with positive ethical values appears to be placed in a better position to be financially successful, while Natália Krätsmar-Šmogrovičová and Anna Prošková focus more on an ethical justification of appropriate CSR, both drawing on Rawl's formulation of justice as fairness, but also applying Kant's "categorical imperative" in preference to a more utilitarian expression which they claim has a negative impact on those affected by particular business strategies.

There is a growing view that as technology and alternative information sources develop, it will be more difficult for companies to mislead or hide their activities from stakeholders, and that it will be essential for the company and its employees to display an authentic face to the world, and that behaviour that is perceived to be unethical will be frequently rejected. Whilst this view might be challenged by some, but not all, free market protagonists who will suggest that market value will trump other values, there is sufficient evidence here to suggest that stakeholder views are rather complex.

The final two articles offer an internal and external view of cultural understanding and its importance in a globalised world. Katerina Reznickova provides a helpful synthesis of leadership literature, and challenges traditional views by offering alternative perspectives on what might be considered to be good leadership suggesting that contingency approaches to leadership are important in an international context. Meanwhile, Alex Semerad explores the external responsibilities of managers in unfamiliar situations, drawing upon insights offered by Hofstede, Trompenaars and others to show differences between, for instance, Arab and American business culture.