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Researchers Looked at Business from a Humanistic Perspective

The international conference ‘Business. Society. Human’ took place at the HSE from October 30-31, 2013. Scholars in economics and the humanities discussed what ‘business with a human face’ would look like.

The ‘Business. Society. Human’ academic conference took place from October 30-31, 2013, and was organized by the HSE with the participation of the Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), Saint Petersburg State University, Russian Academy of Science institutes, Chuo University (Tokyo), the Association of Business Psychologists (Great Britain), the Russian-Japanese Center for Comparative Studies of Corporate Culture, and the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology.

Academic conferences on business issues are usually held as part of specific disciplines. The ‘Business. Society. Human’ conference was an exception: this was the first time that such an academic forum was interdisciplinary and brought together economists, psychologists, sociologists, lawyers, and cultural researchers. A total of 350 representatives from Russia, Western Europe, Japan, and the CIS countries, took part in the event.

‘We focused on the idea of humanizing business, and harmonizing the interaction between society and business, and business and personality’, said Alla Kupreichenko, Chairman of the conference organizing committee and professor of the HSE Faculty of Psychology. ‘We paid special attention to the issues of business’s social responsibility, the psychology of health in business, and trust in society and business. We discussed the problems of decision-making, conflict resolution, and effective management, as well as business consulting and business education’.

The first presentation at the plenary session was made by Wilmar Schaufeli (Utrecht University, Netherlands), who spoke about the importance of employee physical and psychological health for society and business. William Mayon-White (London School of Economics) spoke about systems thinking and methods of facilitated decision making in business.

Akihiro Ishikawa (Chuo University, Tokyo) shared some surprising results of his studies: he discovered that Russia and Japan have much in common with regard to corporate social responsibility, and suggested some ways to activate corporate volunteering. His fellow professor, Masamisi Sasaki, revealed the results of a comparative study on the trust level in different countries.

Russian scholars from the HSE, MSU, the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH), and other educational and research institutions also presented their papers.

Three open lectures were read as part of the conference. They included lectures by Professors Mayon-White and Schaufeli, as well as by a renowned British business coach Adina Tarry, who spoke about her original method of coaching. In addition, Russian experts—together with their British colleagues—conducted a constituent meeting of the Association of Business Psychologists of Russia.

The conference continued with a research seminar ‘The Psychology of Business’, which took place on November 1-2, 2013. (The HSE implements a master’s programme in this field.) It was intended for both HSE students and lecturers, as well as for professional consultants, psychologists, and coaches. Leading Russian and international professionals in business psychology conducted master classes as part of the seminar.

According to Vladimir Stroh, Head of the HSE Department of Organizational Psychology, as a result of the conference, the theses of all the speakers and the academic articles based on the best papers will be published in the Organizational Psychology e-journal. And within two years, prior to the next conference on this topic, a collective monograph will be published on one of the research areas of business.

Anastasia Chumak and Oleg Seregin, HSE News Service

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