Why does CBS need diversity and inclusion?


This month's column by CBS' Senior Management is about diversity. President Per Holten-Andersen describes in the column how CBS will fight for the development of gender equality with the purpose of creating the best possible conditions for diversity and inclusion between employees and students

     By: Per Holten-Andersen, Rektor, CBS
     Translated by: Mai-Britt Ohlesen, CBS

CBS is doing very well in many areas: We are moving up in international business school rankings, and an increasing number of students are aiming for CBS. We are a triple accredited institution and have been for several years, and both the number of CBS researchers and the quality of research output, measured by international standards, have grown over the past years. Just to mention a few of the areas where CBS is doing well; very well, in fact.

But we owe our society more. Our society needs continuous qualified research and education, and CBS, like Denmark, will not be able to continue to deliver and hold our own against the international competition unless we utilise the entire talent and intelligence pool. This potential utilisation of talented women is one of Denmark's, and CBS', talent and intelligence reserves.

At the moment, we are far from using this intelligence reserve to the fullest. This is a loss of talent, diversity, thoughts and opinions. And in the end, it is a loss of quality and competitive power for CBS and Denmark. I will argue that we can do better and achieve new and improved results if we can put all talents into play.

It is the wish of CBS (as appears from e.g. our 2013 Staff Policy and the UN principles for responsible management education (PRME), which CBS has joined) to promote equal opportunities at CBS and to create a good framework for diversity and inclusion among staff and students. The Senior Management therefore decided in 2014 to reorganise the work for equal opportunities at CBS by establishing a ”Diversity and Inclusion Council”. The council is formed in recognition of the fact that CBS e.g. faces a general challenge in ensuring a better gender balance in both academic and administrative leadership, but also in a wider sense in ensuring equal opportunities for all staff and students. The council has a 4 years mandate, and I have chosen to chair the council myself.

The council will advise CBS management on initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in relation to  academic and administrative staff as well as CBS students. The council will contribute to dialogue and debate on an ongoing basis and illustrate the importance of diversity and inclusion among staff and students. The council has a special obligation to look across the initiatives and policies that are already in place and make recommendations to CBS management. And finally, the council will prepare an action plan with a few suggestions for initiatives, listed in order of priority,  which will hopefully be effective.

At an initial meeting this October, the council looked at current statutory and CBS initiated efforts in the area. So far, CBS has focused on complying with legislation and on issues regarding the academic staff. CBS management has an ambition to do more than just meet statutory requirements on equal opportunities. We want to highlight the importance of diversity, talent spotting and talent development from the overall talent pool. 

The council's next steps will be to pool new ideas on what and how to work with diversity and inclusion at CBS. I hope everyone at CBS will contribute with suggestions. The council will seek inspiration with other Danish universities, but also look into international experience in the area.  In my view, the biggest challenge for CBS is at the top of the hierarchy. The statistics speak for themselves, this is where the imbalance is most pronounced. The gender imbalance among senior researchers at CBS is at least as bad as it was ten years ago and the most challenging piece of news is that the number of female professors hit an all time low last year with just 13 %. Our total student population has an almost 50/50 gender balance, but that picture has not changed over the past ten years. As it is our assumption that women are just as talented as men, we must do better by working together. CBS should be able to attract and retain its share of talented women to act as role models and opinion makers in education, in research and in the academic and administrative management of CBS.  

How does this match my recent participation in hiring a Dean of Research and a Dean of Education – both men – when the rest of the Senior Management are also men? Without  going into details on the recently completed dean recruitment process , the long and the short of it is that we did not achieve that goal in this round. My reflection on the process has given me ideas for initiatives that can be put to work in connection with future recruitment and application processes at CBS. For example, it is important to ensure as wide a field of applications as possible; This is also among the goals that CBS has suggested for the future development contract. 

It is my firm belief that the new Diversity and Inclusion Council can give advice and contribute to this work, because there is no doubt that we need more women in senior positions at CBS. This continues to be one of my goals which I will focus on and work towards in the next 4 years. 


The page was last edited by: Communications // 12/17/2017

CBS Diversity and Inclusion Council members:

Per Holten-Andersen - Chairman 
Sidsel Green - Student representative
Trine Madsen - Employee representative (GCC appointed)
Jan Damsgaard - Head of Department 
Frank Güsmer- Director of HR Services
Kai Hockerts - Academic Director PRME (Responsible Management Education)
Lynn Roseberry - Equal Opportunities Officer (since 2010)
Ana Maria Munar - Associate professor (AC appointed)