SUMMER SCHOOLS 2016 in Florence / Italy

Rethinking Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics


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Background of the Summer School 2016

Renowned management scientists as well as practitioners are recently criticizing that business schools might have developed several instruments and tools for a successful business administration but are lacking a deep reflection about the role of managerial ethos and value-based leadership. Our mission is that we find ways to transform business and business education by embedding spiritual and religious values and traditions. However, pedagogical instruments focusing rather on learning than on teaching that permit to develop a managerial ethos in business schools are scarce. Therefore, the Summer Schools of the Yebe project advance a new and innovative approach to the task that spirituality becomes integral part of management education. In this sense, we want to promote entrepreneurship education and social entrepreneurship among young people. This means promoting empowerment, participation and the active citizenship of young people in the world of business and society.

The Summer School 2016 in Florence

The Summer School 2016 took place in Florence, Italy and was designed to bring students and young professionals of different European countries in contact with each other as well as with international experts with a broad range of experiences in business management. Overall, more than 30 young people stemming from Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Slovenia participated in this event.


Part I „Rethinking Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics”

In general, the Summer School was made up of two parts. The first part (August, 19th – 24th) focused on reflecting the current economic and social challenges in fast changing times. Referring to the religious and economic traditions of business ethics the participants commonly explored the(ir) values and motivations for future leaders to master these challenges. The whole event was structured by discussions in various formats and interactive group collaborations as well as excursions and exchange with practitioners who are willing to share their experience and discuss with the participants. For instance, the group visited a dynamic and innovative 750 years old family wine company (Pomino and Nippozano) and had the opportunity of fruitful exchange with its leadership. Moreover, the excursion “Common Good and Special Interests – Lessons from History” took the participants to milestone monuments and museums in Florence. Apart from inputs from resource persons, the participants themselves were prime actors. Their experiences and views were tapped interactively in small groups and teams. During the various workshops, the participants commonly explored and discussed questions like: What constitutes valued-based leadership today? What are the main challenges which have to be faced by their generation? What can religious and spiritual traditions contribute to create a new vision for companies as well as society? This reflection, dialogue and exchange of the first part of the Summer School increased the awareness and sensibility of the students and brought to the surface the most pressing issues of their generation.


Part II “Rethinking Leadership – Develop your leadership skills!”

The second part (August, 24th – 28th) focuses on discovering and developing the individual potentials and leadership skills of the participants. The workshop-like format was mainly based on personal experience, informal sharing, creative work, and inspirational recreation rather than on formal lectures. Guided by Hans Neff, renowned coach and mentor for executives and teams, the group explored and developed main tasks and responsibilities of effective and successful leaders, for instance to lead and strengthen the own personality, to lead and develop individuals, to lead and develop teams, as well as important management and leadership tools for high performance.

Next steps

We would like to express our most sincere thanks to all the involved partners, supporters, participants, and friends without whom this wonderful Summer School 2016 would not have been possible. On the other side, we are very much looking forward to future activities, projects, and most enriching personal exchange within the framework of the Yebe project – not at least to the upcoming Summer School 2017 in Slovenia!