Nukhet Vardar, Director of Brands Whisper’g Comm. Consultancy Ltd, London, UK
Rapidly changing educational needs, quickly evolving technological advances, and the COVID-19 pandemic made the entire teaching and learning community to rethink and reevaluate all known facts about higher education. We started hearing more direct calls about changes, adaptations, alterations, and out-of-box methods for answering newly emerging needs and demands of students and society, in general. Similarly, we know that diversity, equality, and inclusivity (DEI) concepts are being assigned more of a critical role in teaching. But is this really so? Or are we just repeating the DEI acronym just for the sake of using it without really putting it into practice in lecture halls? Maybe more importantly, how can we put DEI into practice while teaching IB?
Apart from the usual DEI-related concepts that usually pop into our minds, such as gender roles, color, race, ethnicity, religion, and similar, it might be worthwhile to start considering DEI in relation to topics covered under IB and examples discussed in the classroom. To start putting DEI into practice, we need to move away from our comfort zones, start questioning our tried and tested way of teaching and be willing to incorporate different and innovative tools into our teaching. To this end, we would like to make three simple suggestions in regard to putting DEI principles into practice while teaching IB.
1) Using a multidisciplinary approach
First, we know that there is a common ground between all disciplines of business studies, such as strategic management, finance, accounting, organizational behavior, marketing, and similar. Since businesses encompass all these functions, we could also be more inclusive in our choice of subjects while teaching IB. For instance, we can readily make use of strategic management, marketing, finance, and the like while teaching IB. This would enable lecturers to have a more holistic teaching approach while simultaneously allowing the students to be exposed to a broader range of concepts they can use in real life after graduation.
2) Making use of less well-known cases across the globe
The second suggestion is regarding examples we bring into the classroom. Recent trends in international business remind us that geographic boundaries are losing their previous significance by the day. As intercountry dependencies, interconnectedness, and reliance on each other increase in international trade, we cannot continue to overlook the less well-known examples emerging from different corners of the globe. As an example of the high degree of interconnectedness and interdependency across countries, just remember major disruptions experienced in the flow of goods during COVID or how the whole world trade came to a standstill in March 2021 when a big cargo container – Evergreen – blocked Egypt’s Suez Canal because of an accident. The increase in interdependence also calls for more examples covered in lectures from different parts of the world, which traditionally do not make their way to the lecture halls.
3) Incorporating innovative teaching tools and methods
The third suggestion is about incorporating new teaching tools and methods for putting DEI principles into practice. Research shows that today’s university students mostly learn and communicate through multimedia (Nicholas, 2008). Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, students needed to be engaged with learning exercises, enabling them to be active decision-makers. Raes et al. (2020) point out that remote students generally learn less via online teaching, often behaving as if they are watching TV. One of the reasons for this outcome is that, often, monologue-based teaching strategies are used, which are not well‐suited for online/hybrid learning environments. Using questions, live examples, or making students take an active role in the classroom are suggested as possible ways of overcoming these shortcomings. Research findings point towards more group work, problem-solving, and robust case analysis, all with technology integration, whether face-to-face or online teaching for the 21st century. To this end, Liedtka (2001) names video cases as powerful learning tools by bringing the richness of the practical world to lectures.
Putting these three suggestions together for bringing DEI into IB lectures, we would like to mention a new tool called Brands Whisper’g®, a web and video-based platform developed as an alternative method for teaching marketing. The platform can be easily made use of in IB lectures. This digital platform is structured like a marketing e-textbook. However, each chapter is covered via lecturer-scripted real-life video cases based on a problem-solution method. Each video case is narrated by company executives based on the script written by lecturers. Chapters end up being explained by top executives instead of academics. Students are first exposed to the case (problem), learn how a particular company solved that specific problem, and then relate the example to the theoretical framework. In teaching notes, the specific example given in the case is linked to the theory that needs to be covered in that chapter. Brands Whisper’g® Collection has been available since March 2016 and can be accessed at http://www.thecasecentre.org/educators/ordering/whatsavailable/collections/BrandsWhisperg. (Its original methodology was also employed for the MNC Whispering at http://www.mncwhispering.com video case collection, which was produced specifically for IB teaching in 2021).
There are 13 different video cases in the Brands Whisper’g® Collection, totaling 41 teaching-related materials. Cases address issues faced by the Turkish subsidiaries of international companies, such as Ford Trucks, Carrefour, McDonald’s, Unilever, P&G, Bridgestone, as well as some local companies competing with international giants. Some of these video cases address concepts such as market/product diversification, competing as a local brand against international giants, international marketing/communications, delisting an international brand and creating a new one, use of digital technologies in sales force, digital transformation of a subsidiary through AI, and the like.
On a final note, we would also like to highlight that different and innovative video cases are being produced across the globe and new ones are being added every day. One such innovative teaching video case was recently published by Georgia State University – CIBER International Business Case Series at https://t.gsu.edu/3aUu9PP with the narration of a minority-owned company executive based in Atlanta. In this 3-minute video, the owner asks students two questions after giving brief background information about his company. In this case, students are also given further guidance on answering those questions, listing possible sources of references that can be used. Therefore, it will not be wrong to say that such different styles of video cases include thought-provoking material and lively class discussions while simultaneously supplying students with online guidance whenever and wherever they may need them. In addition, covering some less touched-upon multidisciplinary business concepts in IB teaching and discussing less traditional cases in the class can serve towards more inclusive class environments and more motivated student groups. If we can attain more of a multidisciplinary approach in teaching, use less known real-life cases across the globe and incorporate innovative teaching tools and methods; we will put DEI into practice rather than only preaching this overused buzzword.
1. Liedtka, J. (2001). The promise and peril of video cases: Reflections on their creation and use. J. of Management Education, Vol. 25. No.4. August. 409-424
2. Nicholas, A. (2008). Preferred learning methods of the millennial generation.The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15. Issue 6. 27-34
3. Raes, A., Detienne, L., Windey, I., Depaepe, F. (2020) A systematic literature review on synchronous hybrid learning: gaps identified. Learning Environ Res 23, 269–290 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-019-09303-z
Dr. Nukhet Vardar is the Director of Brands Whisper’g Comm. Consultancy Ltd, UK, a London-based edtech company, developing innovative online teaching tools and adapting them to international markets. Following her MSc and Ph.D. in International Marketing from Univ. of Manchester Institute of Science &Technology (former UMIST), UK; Vardar pursued an academic career while working for the industry since 1985. Her last appointment was as a marketing professor (2004) at Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey. Her research interests are in international marketing/ advertising, brand development; with a special focus on case writing and new pedagogy development for business studies. She is the author of 12 books.