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Forbes, Businessweek report on Slater’s research

Freek Vermeulen writes in Forbes about research by Union's Daniel Slater.
Freek Vermeulen writes in Forbes about research by Union's Daniel Slater.

JACKSON, Tenn.Dec. 16, 2010 – Forbes magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek magazine recently reported on research by Union’s Daniel Slater about environmentally responsible chief executive officers.

Slater, assistant professor of management, co-authored the research, which indicated that CEOs with Master of Business Administration degrees are more likely than those without such degrees to be environmentally responsible.

“The Future of the Planet in the Hands of MBA: An Examination of CEO MBA Education and Corporation Environmental Performance” was the first published research to bring facts into a discussion that had been formerly led by opinion, wrote Freek Vermeulen, author of the Nov. 22 article in Forbes.

In the wake of the fall of investment banks, Forbes and Harvard Business Review both discussed in a series of articles whether business school educations were to blame for CEO’s seemingly unethical and unconcerned management, Vermeulen said.

Bloomberg Businessweek also covered Slater's research.

Slater co-authored the research with Heather Dixon-Fowler, who was his fellow doctoral candidate at the University of Arkansas.

“We took a small portion of this bigger debate,” Slater said, in response to the specific criticism about the huge impact poor business management might have on natural resources.

To determine whether company leaders with MBAs were economically responsible, Slater and Dixon-Fowler used research conducted by KLD Research and Analytics Inc, an agency that conducts social research for companies.

“KLD is considered the gold standard for measurement of social standards,” Slater said, because it measures not just a few, but 60-70 indicators of companies’ social performance.

Using information gathered by KLD about the economic responsibility of hundreds of companies and determining which companies had CEOs with MBAs, Slater and Dixon-Fowler discovered that companies with CEOs who had MBAs actually had better environmental performance than those whose CEOs did not have MBAs.

The Academy of Management Learning and Education Journal, which Slater called “about the best business education journal there is,” published their paper in September 2010.

“It was great to have (our research) in Forbes, because it was an additional audience that was aware of it that normally wouldn’t read the Academy of Management Learning and Education Journal,” Slater said. “It brought together the two sides of an often challenging issue, which is the rigor and relevance balance. It certainly was a rigorous study, but demonstrated relevance, too.”

Slater joined Union’s faculty in January 2010. He said he was drawn to Union because it not only emphasized excellent teaching from a Christian worldview but also showed commitment to research.

“Union gives me the funding, the flexibility and the freedom to pursue intellectual contributions,” Slater said. “That’s something I value highly.”

By Samantha Adams (’13)

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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