More EQUAL than Others?

Irina Sennikova

Dr Irina Sennikova is Associate Professor and Rector
of Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration (RISEBA) in Riga, Latvia, and Chairman
of EQUAL

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The European Quality Link (EQUAL) is one of the less wellknown bodies in which EFMD is involved but is also one of the most innovative and long-standing. Irina Sennikova explains its role.

EQUAL (or the European Quality Link to give it its full title) may be new to many recent members of EFMD and other associated bodies but in fact it dates back to the mid-1990s (June 1996 to be precise) and is one of the earliest and most innovative bodies established to promote effective management development and business education.

What makes EQUAL so interesting is that it is a network of networks and so is hugely wide in scope and the expertise it can draw on. It was set up originally as a think tank for EQUIS (the then new EFMD accreditation system) but also involved other associations as stakeholders. And over the years it has grown, since now it is not only EFMD that is involved in accreditation but many other regional associations as well.

EQUAL has deep European roots (though it is much more global in scale now than when it was founded nearly two decades ago) and its perspective remains grounded in European values and ideals such as subsidiarity and co-operation.

But as a network organisation in a global and culturally diverse milieu EQUAL’s main role is to promote and ensure continuous improvement in the field of management and business education.

EQUAL membership is open to national, regional and international associations, meeting EQUAL criteria, which are based on these associations having members that include supportive leading management education institutions. A list of current EQUAL members is set out in Box 1 (overleaf).

EQUAL does not lay down ground rules but it does produce guidelines and various position papers, often initiated by member associations. One recent guideline, for example, dealt with sustainability – an issue currently of very much concern to business schools and similar institutions such as accrediting bodies.

However, not everyone really understands what sustainability is or how to integrate it into the curriculum. As a result, EQUAL began to think what might be some common ground on the issues involved. Some of these are set out in the box “Sustainability Guidelines” on the opposite page, adapted from EQUAL documentation. Some of these are set out in the box “Sustainability Guidelines” on the opposite page, that are adapted from EQUAL documentation.

For the full article, you can view the PDF or listen to the podcast.

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