Systemic Approach and Contextual Studies
Hans Ulrich’s Systemic Approach (St. Gallen Management Model) has influenced the direction of HSG’s business management education for many decades. It calls for corporations and their leaders to be open to environmental and societal concerns, and integrate managerial tasks from an early stage.Along with core subjects such as Business Administration, Economics, Law and International Relations, the university has firmly established interdisciplinary topics over many decades. What used to be Cultural Studies has become Contextual Studies, due to the Bologna reform in 2001. This area comprises 25 percent of the curriculum at the Bachelor and Master levels of all courses offered by HSG, and provides wide-ranging leadership skills, critical thinking and cultural awareness.
This unique and unprecedented integration of professional studies within a cross-discipline framework of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is second to none among business schools. It also ensures that HSG graduates are given the opportunity to extend their knowledge beyond the subjects of Business Administration, Economics and Law.
IWE and IWOE Foundation
The university has a long history of incorporating ethical issues in its business education, and this was in evidence when it established a Chair for Business and Corporate Ethics, as well as the Institute for Business Ethics (IWE-HSG) in 1989. We also integrated ecology into the curriculum with the foundation of the Institute for Economy and the Environment (IWOE-HSG) in 1992. Both institutes were among the first of their kind at a European university, and reflect the university’s history of progressive-minded academics. The contributions of outstanding St. Gallen scientists, including Hans Ulrich (Business Administration), Hans-Christoph Binswanger (Economics), Peter Ulrich (Business Ethics) and Rolf-Peter Sieferle (Environmental History) are closely linked to these developments, and many graduates and up-and-coming scientists have benefited from their tenure at the HSG.
IWE & IWOE Expansion and CLVS & CDI Foundation
One of the HSG’s most noteworthy developments recently is the expansion of the School for Humanities and Social Science. The university established a second Chair for Business and Corporate Ethics, and also founded the Center for Leadership and Values in Society (2005), which is focused on the public responsibility and added value of corporations and organizations. Similarly, HSG established the Center for Disability and Integration (2009), which conducts research on workforce opportunities and prospects for people with disabilities. Finally, we created a privately sponsored Chair for Management of Renewable Energies. In all of these areas, the university maintains a strong presence both in science and in public.
HSG’s legacy of incorporating corporate responsibility and sustainability into its academic programs is largely due to the significant contributions of the student initiative oikos. oikos was founded at the university in 1978 as a student association, but originally emerged from the Student Committee for Environmental Economics (SCO), which launched in 1972. This group was founded by committed St. Gallen students in response to alarming messages conveyed in a Club of Rome report entitled “The Limits to Growth.” More information on oikos’ wide-ranging activities can be found in the “Student Engagement” section.In 1989, oikos played a major role in founding the Swiss Association for Environmentally Conscious Management (öbu), now called “Network for Sustainable Business Practices”, a vibrant corporate association featuring about 400 Swiss companies as members. It also contributed significantly to HSG’s founding the Institute for Economy and the Environment and the creation of a Chair for Environmental Sustainability Management.