MANAGEMENT: Doing Business Better
Recent Western Cape Business News
The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) in association with the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation has taken a landmark step in establishing a Centre in Values-based Leadership at the GSB that is committed to exploring new ways of doing business, based on purpose, sustainability and responsible practices.
The centre is the first of its kind in South Africa and it seeks to raise issues of sustainability and values-based leadership to priority status in the country – and beyond. It has been established through sponsorship from Allan WB Gray, founder of Allan Gray Limited and the co-founder of Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.
Speaking at the launch of the centre in Cape Town, Allan Gray said that values-based leadership shifts the focus of business management away from profit and shareholder value as drivers, in favour of values, meaning and purpose.
The Allan Gray Centre for Values-based Leadership will consist of a senior professor, a senior lecturer and two PhD bursaries. Research will follow an agenda decided on by both UCT GSB and the Foundation, with the main goal being to explore new ways of doing business that will be good for business, good for society and good for the environment.
“Values-based leadership is an exploration into creating dignity and belonging and initiative through business,” said Professor Walter Baets, Director of the UCT GSB.
“It is a fundamental questioning of the principles by which the world has been doing business. We’ve seen that how we have been doing business is questionable and we should bring in a new way of thinking. I believe values-based leadership is a fundamental building block of new business and economic practices.”
The centre builds on a long-time relationship between the UCT GSB and the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. Baets added that the new centre is bold. “Not many business schools have a values-based leadership faculty. It shows that Allan Gray is innovative and visionary, and that the business supports the vision and mission of the UCT GSB,” he said.
The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is an organisation that was established in 2005 as an education and development catalyst to assist a generation of high growth entrepreneurial change agents to bring about job creation in Southern Africa.
“After a great deal of conversation between the Foundation and the GSB we decided to support the Values-based Leadership Chair; to support an academic powerhouse as it investigates new leadership practices,” said Anthony Farr, CEO of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.
“The vision of the Foundation is to develop high impact leaders and entrepreneurs. We feel values are implicit in leadership. Leaders should be motivated by a sense of purpose, and that their actions should speak louder than their words – a philosophy Allan Gray himself has always subscribed to.
“This partnership is a coming together for a common vision,” said Farr.
Allan Gray agreed. “When I first met Walter Baets and discussed his philosophy of management, I was intrigued by the similarities of his academic approach to our business philosophy, which was central to the formation of Allan Gray Limited 38 years ago, and still characterises the business today.
The partnership is by no means standard because the relationship will be more closely knit than traditional partnerships of a similar sort between sponsors and business schools.
“In the case of this centre, the Foundation will be at the forefront of the research agenda and they will help select the faculty members, it is a mutual responsibility and endeavour,” said Professor Baets.
But the relationship between the two will mean more than just research; for students at the business school there will be internships and mentorship programmes available through the Foundation. At the same time the Foundation will benefit from the fresh research and input to improve their endeavours.
“I think it’s an advantage to have this close a relationship, and co-operation such as this. It’s good for our students, for the Foundation and for business in the country,” said Baets.
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