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Academic view: What "sustainability" means in an MBA curriculum

Stuart Robinson of the University of Exeter Business School explains how an MBA curriculum can equip students with the skills and knowledge to implement sustainability

There is little debate about the responsibility of business schools to help achieve economic, social, and environmental sustainability by facing the global challenges of climate change, income inequality, urbanisation, migration, and an ageing population. What should MBA programmes do to develop managers with the requisite skills and knowledge? 

Addressing different aspects of environmentalism alone is far too narrow to equip managers with the expertise needed to address the full range of sustainability challenges we face. Rather, sustainability needs to be interpreted through several different MBA topics. A good example of this is the Global Risk Report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which looks at the most pressing risks facing the world. The report identifies environmental risks, but it also uses four other risk categories: economic, geopolitical, societal, and technological. Each of these  threatens, in different ways, the broader sustainability of our world and requires different knowledge and approaches from both individuals and organisations. 

At Exeter, we open our full-time MBA programme with an intensive discussion of the WEF risks and their implications for the world, and for individual students and their MBA goals. Our focus is looking at sustainability through science, innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. Science provides the knowledge base that inspires innovation; technology is the practical means to convert innovation into entrepreneurial projects. Finally, leadership enables entrepreneurs to build businesses for economic and social-wealth creation and to achieve environmental sustainability. 

We should not underestimate the difference between learning about sustainability and having the skills to create sustainable practice. MBA graduates need to be capable of leading change, often by challenging accepted practice. Theory must at some point become real. Everyone in a classroom will readily agree on the problem of our excessive use of plastics and the terrible threat to our oceans this poses. But implementing action that leads to an actual reduction of plastic use in organisations is a different matter. One of our MBA students is addressing this challenge now, and has started working with British retailer Marks & Spencer to look at how plastic packing across its supply chain can be reduced, while protecting shelf-life and product quality. 

Schools must find a way to integrate traditional, core business knowledge and practice with sustainable management techniques. For example, our students study circular-economy principles by using design-thinking techniques to reduce waste from a global fast-moving consumer-goods firm. The students’ proposals are assessed on how they apply principles from their economics, operations, and strategy modules—topics that sit squarely in a more traditional MBA curriculum. The exercise has the added benefit of creating a sense of shared purpose among the MBAs.

Partnerships are another vital component to the MBA, by allowing students to implement theory in the real world. Exeter’s approach to MBA teaching was initially developed in 2011 in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a charity, setting the foundation for our commitment to environmental sustainability. Since then we have engaged with a range of organisations and problems. These include understanding the implications of using synthetic microfibres for travel and adventure clothing with retailer Kathmandu, working with Coca-Cola to investigate circular-economy business models in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and carrying out a feasibility study for a “surplus-food-to-pig-feed” process. Our MBA students have worked in organisations’ sustainability teams, others in technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.  

Partnerships also bring current challenges into the classroom. Some of Exeter’s students have worked with a local charity, Hospiscare, to help develop its business model, to maximise future sustainable income. Taking account of social and technological trends, the students produced a comprehensive business-model innovation report, identifying a range of ideas.

MBA programmes need to take an integrated, detailed, and practical perspective on the full range of global risks and challenges. The creation of sustainable practice is rapidly becoming the mainstream of industrial, societal, and technological progress globally. Put simply, companies that are perceived to be uncaring of the impact of their practices do not have a sustainable future. 

Stuart Robinson is the Director of the Exeter MBA, University of Exeter Business School

We’ll be seeing EU

IN LESS than a year, Britain will leave the European Union. For British business schools and the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS), which represents the management-education sector in the UK, there are many concerns that will be further exacerbated on March 29th 2019. 

The parlous state of funding for British business schools is prime among them. A report by CABS published in April is sobering reading: domestic funding for business and management research from British sources has fallen by a quarter in real terms over the last six years, from £54.3m ($70m) to £45.3m in 2016/17. Overall funding from all sources has dropped by 12% in real terms since the 2011/12 academic year, according to CABS’s analysis of data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), which collates information from UK universities. Yet over the same period higher education institutes in general have seen increases in funding. 

Anne Kiem, chief executive of CABS, believes that business education simply isn’t seen as sexy enough. “The government only has a certain amount of money to put into research and they’ve decided that STEM (science, technology, engineering and manufacturing) is where it’s at,” she says. The argument is a simple one: a researcher who applies for £1m to conduct a study that could cure a particular type of cancer is more likely to get funding than a wonk asking for the same amount to improve regional productivity, even if the latter could have a more positive impact.

The drop in funding would have been more precipitous were it not for another source that has softened the blow: the European Union. A 38% increase in cash from European sources, from £11.7m to £16.1m, has made up some of the shortfall in domestic funding over the last six years. In three of the last four years, business and management research received more money from EU government bodies (£57.5m) than from the UK central government (£54.8m).

Business-school deans are concerned. According to a CABS survey in Nobember last year, 44% said they believed their schools were likely to lose European research funding ipver the next year. This will also have an impact on staffing. Research and teaching are symbiotically linked in the best business schools, which Britain can still, at the moment, lay claim to. With less funding available and a less welcoming environment as a result of Brexit, British schools will struggle to attract the best academic staff or PhD candidates, who feed their research into business school’s curriculum.

Applicants are already skipping Britain in favour of European schools. Roya Gholami, an associate professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, is moving to teach management information systems at Paris’ NEOMA Business School. She did consider positions in Britain, where she had previously taught for four years, but elected instead for France. “Protectionism and closing borders are not positive moves”, says Dr Gholami. “I think it’s moving in the wrong direction.” She is not alone. Research by CABS shows that a sixth of UK business schools reported last year that they have lost European staff, while a quarter say they are struggling to recruit new staff from within Europe.

Ms Kiem does not believe that the expected decline in European funding for British business schools will result in closures, but does believe that in a few years a tougher funding environment could prompt some schools to merge. British schools have begun to forge closer partnerships. In March Warwick Business School, which received £14.4m in the past three academic years, by far the most management-research income of any UK school, announced an “academic alliance” with the University of Paris Seine’s ESSEC Business School. The alliance will entail student exchanges, the co-financing of PhDs and the exploration of collaborative teaching opportunities. Though the two schools will remain separate entities, they have bound closer together to improve their bargaining power across Europe. 

ESSEC’S dean, Vincenzo Esposito Vinzi, praised the importance of collaboration between institutions in an increasingly competitive world. Warwick’s vice-chancellor said that the university “can’t afford simply to wait” for politicians to figure out how Brexit would affect Britain’s relationship with Europe. Unless something changes, expect to see similar tie-ups in the coming months.

Academic view: The call for coaching skills in today’s leaders

Companies increasingly want their leaders to have coaching skills. Professor Julia Milner (pictured), Academic Director of the Global MBA at EDHEC Business School, explains what business schools can do to address this

WHEN MBA graduates finish their degrees, we want them to have a variety of capabilities. One of the main ones is “leadership skills”. Yet the eternal question remains: which leadership skills should we focus on?

The first step, as in any business case, is to explore industry demands. There is already a break from the past in what organisations want from their leaders. In a companywide internal review at Google in 2013 to establish what made an effective manager, “being a good coach” came top of a long list—trumping technical expertise. The millennial generation, who already constitute the largest segment of the workforce, crave coaching by their managers.

New developments in the world of work require new leadership approaches. Leading no longer happens solely face-to-face: technology allows individuals and teams to work remotely and on-demand. Workers join and leave projects more frequently, so employees must act more as entrepreneurs. The manager’s skillset must allow people to experiment, to find their own answers and to learn from their mistakes. A traditional “command and control” approach in which people are told what to do and are micromanaged won’t work. Managers might miss out on great ideas because they are telling their staff what to do. By contrast, a coaching approach enables the employee to come up with their own ideas and enables their intrinsic motivations. Research shows that when leaders use coaching it improves employee’s motivation levels and performance, and boosts satisfaction with both their job and manager. 

Coaching skills may be more in demand, but they are in short supply.  In a 2017 Financial Times survey that asked what skills employers are looking for in MBA graduates, coaching was listed as being one of the most difficult to recruit. This issue is a regular occurrence in my consulting work. Understanding what coaching is can be a challenge. I have seen executives tell managers to “Just Coach”, without providing the necessary training. Some leaders think of someone yelling instructions from the sidelines but that is simply solving an issue for their team member. Instead I help managers to develop their listening skills and how to ask the right questions: what are your own observations; what is working; what is not working and what alternatives are yet to be explored?

Business schools therefore need to teach how leaders become good coaches. In the Global MBA course I teach, my starting point is to cover basic coaching techniques such as: 

appropriate questioning instead of prescribing solutions

constructive feedback 

assisting with goal setting

effective listening skills

identifying and working with employee strengths 

alignment of individual & organisational values

perspective, ie, understanding the challenges. It takes longer initially to manage in this way, but it is quicker in the long run because teams are more able to manage themselves. Managers can then focus on more strategic issues instead of getting lost in dealing with day-to-day issues.  

One of the most important points in learning coaching is a focus on receiving feedback and reflection. Managers may think they are asking a question, when they are simply disguising an instruction: “don’t you think it is a good idea to go with option A?”. By contrast, open questions such as “What do you see as a way forward?”, allow a team member to come up with their own answer. It is also important to encourage feedback on one’s own coaching skills and take the time to reflect on this. 

The good news is that leaders can learn coaching skills. The bad news is that in most cases they have to be taught them. In a recent study I co-authored, we found that out of 580 human resource and general managers at Australian companies, 40% said they wanted initial or more training in coaching skills. Organisations should not expect to employ natural coaches and managers are demanding training in coaching. Google now makes good coaching practices part of its leaders’ evaluation system and training portfolio. Business schools need to arm their MBAs with these skills, and organisations should further this training and incorporate coaching into their culture. 

Professor Julia Milner teaches an MBA core subject on ‘Managing Human Capital with Coaching’. Training leaders in coaching skills, she co-developed the LEADER model, which caters to the unique situation of leaders as coaches. She has just been named among the world’s top 40 business school professors under the age of 40 by Poets & Quants.

Rise of the machines

ASK 100 students what they want from an MBA programme and you’re likely to get 100 different answers. However, ask them what they want more of, and trends are easier to discern. At the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a survey of the current class earlier this year asked what students wanted to learn more about. The biggest response by far? Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. “It has rapidly consumed a lot of mental real estate with our MBA students,” says Brian Uzzi, who teaches a course on AI to MBAs at Kellogg.

That is not surprising. AI has become a key tool for businesses in all industries. By harnessing the power of computers to rapidly analyse data, detect patterns and suggest courses of action, businesses are able to work much faster and with fewer overheads. British supermarkets Tesco and Ocado use machine learning to help improve the routing of delivery drivers and to detect fraudulent transactions. Customer-facing businesses including Virgin Holidays use algorithms and big data to tweak marketing messages on the basis of real-time feedback. Uber harnesses machine learning to forecast demand and help direct its taxi drivers ahead of time to customers. It has also used AI to determine the level of price increases individual customers are willing to tolerate. A wave of recruitment startups use AI to weed through job candidates and screen for the best prospective interviewees—and even prospective MBAs.

Where business leads, business schools follow. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will soon permeate the entire DNA of the MBA programme at Kellogg and elsewhere, believes Mr Uzzi. Kellogg teaches AI in two different ways: one track of students takes an intensive, data-heavy course in which they learn hands-on how to develop neural networks that can solve problems. The other is a broader look at the impact AI can have on all aspects of a business, from hiring and firing decisions to helping a firm operate with greater efficiencies. 

Three-quarters of Kellogg’s MBAs elect to take the broader track, though the numbers of those interested are currently higher than the school can serve: the school’s course on human and machine intelligence is oversubscribed by a fifth, Mr Uzzi says. When the professor began incorporating AI into his research a decade ago, all but a handful of the 3,000 students he taught knew what AI was. Now, almost all do.

MBAs want to learn how AI is being used in the firms they are likely to graduate into, explains Michael Gibbs, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth’s School of Business, and former director of its Executive MBA (EMBA) programme. “Our students are not going to be deploying AI themselves, but they’re going to be hiring somebody to deploy it,” he says. Demand for it is high. Last summer around 30 of Chicago Booth’s EMBA class of 240 students across three campuses chose to take machine learning or algorithm-related electives, says Mr Gibbs. By contrast, just two chose an elective in business ethics. Chicago Booth has long been a data-driven school, but the makeup of students Mr Gibbs teaches has changed in recently years. When he started teaching nearly three decades ago, most students came from a finance or consulting background. Now, he estimates 40% have a technology background. 

Chicago Booth incorporates AI throughout the entire EMBA programme: classes on organisational design and human resources touch on how AI is changing the workplace. Other schools are also throwing their weight behind AI: Imperial College London’s business school has a two-year master of science in business analytics that teaches machine-learning applications for business. Other schools, including MIT Sloan, Harvard and Hult all incorporate AI into their teaching.

MBAs and executives are eager to learn about the power of AI. The challenge is in anticipating how automation will make jobs obsolete, and identifying the opportunities it provides to boost expertise. For years, IBM has been training AI to help doctors diagnose patients more quickly and accurately; similar decision making processes in business, previously the preserve of executives in the c-suite, could also be aided by AI. The technology is likely to become yet another tool a business can use to gain competitive advantage. Those destined to lead these firms need to have knowledge of how to use them to their full potential. And of course, MBAs are looking to create the next big, disruptive company. “You’ve got to remember MBAs are driven by role models,” says Mr Uzzi. “Jeff Bezos is now the richest person in the world and he’s been pretty much able to do that thanks to advances in AI."

Design thinking: People first

EMPLOYERS ARE increasingly looking for emotional intelligence, alongside intellectual rigour, in the people they employ. They may be small, nimble start-ups, or longstanding traditional businesses who see younger, more dynamic competitors challenging them. As a result, firms are adopting new business practices, and a new buzzword has entered the business-school lexicon: design thinking.

Design thinking puts customers’ best interests at the centre of problem-solving, rather than a rational, analytical approach that prioritises business’ bottom line. It aims to incorporate a creative thinking process with the approach of a start-up: identify the issue with the user at the centre, come up with lots of ideas, then prototype rapidly before finally rolling out the product. Since it was first introduced into business schools in 2006 it has become more popular on MBA programmes around the world. At its heart, design thinking is a way of considering problems in a more human-centred manner, explains Ileana Stigliani, of Imperial College Business School, London, where design thinking is now offered as a core module in their full-time MBA programme.

The classes and the concepts offered on Imperial’s eight-week module differ significantly from the traditional MBA programme. Teaching is more experiential, with MBAs learning by doing, rather than wading through hours upon hours of theory. Students are encouraged to incorporate thinking across disciplines. Initially, hard-headed students looking to burnish their credentials through a traditional MBA course can be resistant to the new way of thinking. But they are eventually convinced that analytical skills alone will not cut it in a business world that is being disrupted by big changes. “It changes their mindset,” she says. “They look at problems in a different way, and see problems as opportunities.”

At Aalto University in Finland design thinking is placed at the heart of its MBA and executive MBA (EMBA) programmes. The concept is covered in core modules on the school’s business programmes, while around two-thirds of students take an elective module specifically focused on design thinking. Mikko Laukkanen, the academic director at Aalto, doesn’t see the adoption of design thinking principles as a new innovation, but rather a return to the old way of teaching business, before it adopted what he calls “pseudo-science”. Traditional MBA programmes teach that the way to solve a problem is to draw up a market study, segment the market based on that data, and plan a solution based on that market analysis. Design thinking encourages students to ask a simpler question--what problems do customers have? Aalto’s MBAs are asked to undertake more ethnographic studies and less quantitative analysis, learning richer detail about their target audience.

Among the first schools to teach the concept is Rotman School of Management in Toronto, where design thinking was first integrated into the MBA programme in 2006. Its reputation is such that some MBAs choose the school solely for its design-thinking elective, says Mark Leung of Rotman DesignWorks, the business-design laboratory at Rotman. A recent weekend bootcamp on the subject attracted 220 of Rotman’s 350 MBA students, and the design student club has overtaken the finance club in popularity. Companies are keen to attract employees who are innovative and non-traditional thinking to get ahead of the next big disruption. Some Canadian banks are even creating “innovation centres” to entice the creatively minded to collaborate with them, says Mr Leung.

To some, design thinking may seem a voguish response to the rise of start-up firms, whose business models are increasingly focused on alleviating issues for customers. However, the principles are trickling through to bigger, more traditional businesses, too. Larger companies, including IBM, which has established its own innovation lab called IBM Design Thinking, incorporate design thinking ideas into their practices—though as researchers at MIT Sloan have noted, their business structures remain traditional, stymying the adoption of design thinking at certain firms. Even the big four are getting in on the practice: Deloitte’s innovation practice, Doblin, uses cross-disciplinary skills, including design thinking, in its work. The hot new teaching method is here to stay.

Businesses and business schools: Ties that bind

FOR YEARS, an MBA has been a fast track to employability, with an associated boost in earnings. The average MBA graduate in the United States will start on a salary of $110,000 a year, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), the body that administers the test used by many business schools. But as competition for places has increased with the rise of rival qualifications such as the Masters in Management (MiM), schools are better tailoring what they teach to meet the demands of employers.

This trend is particularly pronounced in Europe, where schools offering a full-time MBA programme face the greatest threat from competing qualifications such as the MiM. The MiM appeals to both students and employers: it is often half the price of an MBA, and graduates are cheaper to hire. This year three-quarters of firms in Europe told GMAC they expected to hire workers from MiM programmes. As a result, those crafting MBA programmes at European business schools have doubled their efforts to ensure the MBAs they produce are still seen as attractive to potential employers.

To do so, some schools are forging closer links with businesses. This is a smart move: though there has always been interaction between those teaching the employees of the future and the companies that will hire them, a more symbiotic relationship ensures that the MBA programmes provides what employers are looking for. There is no better defence against the threat of a cut-price interloper than saying your institution will give applicants the skills they need to walk into a job after graduating.

Integration with business is the whole philosophy of the MBA, says Julie Hodges, associate dean of MBA programmes at Durham University Business School, which offers its MBAs a range of three-month business development programmes in addition to its core 12-month taught programme. In addition to undertaking a strategic business project during the course of their MBA, where they work with a company on a strategic issue with a real-world company, Durham students can also take up the offer of a three-month internship with companies where they can put into practice what they have learned on the programme. According to Dr Hodges, 40% of Durham’s MBAs stay on for the extra three months. The internship puts them in front of prospective employers, many of whom then go on to hire the students they have worked with.

At Berlin’s European School of Management and Technology (ESMT), the integration with business is even closer. Founded by a collection of 25 German firms in 2002, MBA students have always had to take part in a consulting project that connects them with potential employers. The school has also responded to a call from businesses to bolster MBAs’ soft skills by altering its teaching, says Rick Doyle, ESMT’s dean. “Pretty much the whole class” of MBAs at the school will also be involved either in company visits or international projects with employers, giving them practical experience alongside textbook knowledge.

That desire for practical skills, tailored to the needs of employers, has become stronger since the 2008 financial crisis, Dr Hodges believes. Then, MBAs attended her school with plans of going into corporate banking. Now, just 10% of MBAs do, according to GMAC. Instead, people take MBAs to go into a plethora of jobs, for which they need far more than the ability to navigate a balance sheet. Indeed, technical skills such as quantitative and qualitative analysis languish in the middle of the list of desirable qualities employers want. Oral communication, listening skills and adaptability are the top three desirable skills.

Just like the wider world of higher education, as the cost of an MBA has increased, those taking the qualification demand more for their money. No longer can schools simply cycle through the same case studies and lessons year after year. They need to show they are offering more or risk losing further ground to the MiM.

Correction (March 12th 2018): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Julie Hodges is the dean of Durham University Business School. She is in fact the associate dean of MBA programmes.

Business-school research: Bulldozer needed

BUILDING walls, rather than breaking them down, has become the focus of political discourse in the past year. Education has not been an exception. 

Business schools, many think, are typical of institutions that have become firmly entrenched within their own walls. “Because you work in a university environment and you’re competing with other departments, you tend to be more theoretical and academic than we should be,” says Graeme Currie of Warwick Business School, who along with colleagues from the University of Huddersfield and King’s College London, has written a paper calling for business schools to collaborate more readily with their colleagues in other departments. This tendency for business professors to navel gaze has it own term: physics envy. Esoteric, self-referential research takes priority over addressing pertinent issues that were once the domain of management education, such as improving health care and dealing with the demographic and economic issues associated with an ageing world population.

Academic view: Small business should not mean small-minded

Christoph Loch (pictured), dean of Cambridge Judge Business School, says start-ups and small businesses need to look beyond simple excuses for their lack of financing, growth and innovation

THERE is a common refrain heard from entrepreneurs and small-business owners: banks and other lenders simply won’t provide the capital they need to flourish. (Regulators seem to agree.) But I have some candid news for such companies: it’s not only them, it’s also you.

One reason start-ups and other small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have a hard time getting access to capital is that such firms are simply not transparent, and many are downright opaque. Banks often don’t know what is going on at these companies, and if there is one thing that lenders particularly dislike it is being in the dark. The last thing they want is to invest in an SME, only to find out later that the firm is struggling or going bankrupt. Why take a risk on a company they don’t properly understand?

Reporting standards for SMEs are far less stingent than for large public companies, so less information is provided and that which is supplied is not standardised. But any company seeking growth should open up. It should be transparent by supplying data on current indicators such as turnover, profit, costs and staffing levels. Not only that, investors should be clear about its strategy, its position in the eyes of customers, the scalability of its processes, and the motivation of its employees. This can open the door to fresh capital.

Many young companies resist transparency because they fear leaking information to competitors, or they simply don’t like being in the spotlight. Secrecy can make people feel safe. But sometimes external scrutiny can force them to take a hard gaze at themselves. In addition to looking at management capabilities, young companies need to look hard at three notions that can often be a barrier to growth.

First, because many SMEs don’t grow into larger firms, they feel it is unrealistic to set ambitious growth targets. We need to turn this argument on its head, because the evidence clearly shows that without ambitious growth targets SMEs just don’t grow. There are a variety of ways to set such goals: attract more revenue from existing services to existing customers, offer new services to current customers, and find new customers. But without ambitious targets SMEs will stagnate and remain roughly where they are.

The second canard is that SMEs can’t attract good people. But many start-ups manage to find talented employees, even though they have fewer resources than SMEs. They do it by promising excitement—perhaps offering shares rather than salary, or a leadership role in a likely-looking venture. Smaller firms also need to stoke workers' enthusiasm. That doesn’t happen if the chief executive treats employees badly and will not delegate. But it does when he offers people the opportunity to be involved throughout the whole business, and to be responsible for a chunk of it, which large companies often can’t do because they are compartmentalised.

Third, some SMEs feel they can’t innovate. They blame this on not having the money to invest in technology. But that’s another poor excuse. In fact, investment in developing technology is often risky for SMEs and doesn’t lead to growth. There is plenty of technology that can be bought from the outside, such as computers, process manuals and software packages. SMEs that grow use such technology in clever ways, even ways the tech vendor may not have foreseen.

In any case, innovation doesn’t have to come through technology. It can be generated through understanding customers: not just what they say (because that usually only unearths current irritations) but by looking at their long-term needs. That insight can be used to change how a company operates—in relation to suppliers, sales and more besides—so as relentlessly to improve service to customers.

Such an outlook means being open to scrutiny. Looking in the mirror is hard, but it is usually more effective than simply casting about for an easy target to blame for a lack of growth. 

Lavish funding for superstar British business professors has not improved their work

STUDENTS may pay business-school professors’ salaries, but it is research that wins faculty its reputation. Unfortunately for Britain, the standard of research coming out of its business schools has been lacking. Though business school attendance grew there in the 1990s, its representation in academic journals, and its ability to win funding from research councils, lagged behind. So in 2002, the Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM) was launched with the goal of redressing the substandard work academics were producing. The best part of £30m ($43m) was spent in an attempt to bolster the quality of research by directly funding superstar academics, rather than their research. That project ended in 2012, so what impact did that all that money have?

Not much, according to a paper soon to be published by Stuart Macdonald of the University of Leicester and two colleagues in the British Journal of Management. “The passing of AIM has been little mourned,” reckon the authors. “The vast majority of management academics in the UK had little chance of joining AIM and gained little from it,” they go on.

Academic view: Managers must take responsibility for building a more cohesive society

THE concept of the modern, open democracy that embraces freedom, diversity and human rights, is under threat. We live in a time of conflict unlike any other. A war is underway that is not just being fought out on conventional battlefields among state powers, but on the internet and the streets of our towns and cities, as the citizens of Paris found to a shocking cost in November.

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