During the closing event of the first Latin America Business Education Jam, two core reflections emerged: The pressing need to develop a distinctive value proposition for Latin American business schools and the potential impact of doing it in a collaborative way.
There was a major criticism about adopting business school’s models that were not conceived for the Latin American context. Hence, it was suggested that the unique value proposition for schools in the continent should emerge from studying and addressing the societal problems prevailing in the region. In this way, schools would be creating knowledge that is relevant to the continent and to the world, while increasing their impact on business and society.
Given the utmost importance of developing novel insights about the region and enhancing the value of Latin American management education, the idea of creating a research community emerged. As a result, the “Latin America Scholars Community”, a network of researchers focused on developing content about the continent, was launched in June 2019.
Its main objective is to promote collaborative work among professionals doing academic or applied research on five initial topics:
- Social entrepreneurship (current state, new business models, impact investing, social impact metrics, etc.), as well as all issues related to poverty, income inequality, and inclusive growth.
- Corruption (economic and social costs) and ethical leadership.
- Family business (e.g., dynamics, evolution, professionalization, corporate governance, succession).
- Gender (e.g., female leadership, women in top management, levelling the playfield, support systems).
- Management education (e.g., new teaching and learning methodologies; flexible vs lockstep programs; lifelong learning; certificate programs; academic vs applied research activities).
Currently, the network has a total of 174 researchers from 27 business schools located in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru, and EFMD as global sponsor. To date, the number of researchers participating by topic is as follows: 68 in Social entrepreneurship, 37 in Corruption and ethical leadership, 32 in Family business, 29 in Gender, and 59 in Management education.
Regular interaction is virtual and by group of interest. In addition, a face-to-face event addressing topics from the different research groups takes place every year (during 2020, such event did not occur due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The venue of the annual event rotates among participating schools and during the event attendees have the opportunity to share their research ideas and explore new collaboration opportunities, while expanding their research network and strengthening the existing one.
In March 2021, thanks to the support of EFMD Global, the Latin America Scholars Community website was launched with the aim to continue promoting collaborative work among researchers of the network. The website has two main purposes: give visibility to the network, its members, and its research work, and providing a collaboration platform to facilitate interaction between researchers.