The School of Business, Woxsen University achieves Level 5, the highest level in the 2022 Edition of Positive Impact Rating at the Global Level. Positive Impact Rating (PIR) is a Swiss Association which governs the rating and is globally reckoned for its assessment of B-Schools towards their Social and Environmental Impact.
Woxsen University was recognized for its social impact and sustainability achievements when the Positive Impact Rating (PIR) results were unveiled on 3rd June 2022, at the UN PRME Global Forum. Woxsen stood out amongst all the leading business schools selected across 5 continents and 21 countries, and went on to achieve Level 5 – Pioneering School globally, in line with PIR requirements.
The PIR 2022 Report goes on to include important lessons & examples from the Pioneering Schools, in which it highlights Woxsen’s efforts towards driving ERS (Ethics, Responsibility & Sustainability) with each of its programs for high societal impact and student activities contributing to social causes. Additionally, Woxsen has become a case study based on its practices, as it may be referred in the report.
The PIR is a rating conducted by students, for students. Students worldwide assessed their business schools on how they perceive their positive impact in the world. The positive impact of business schools goes beyond their contribution to business and the economy; it addresses the need for their positive impact for society.
The role of business schools in times of crises
The third edition of the Positive Impact Rating (PIR) appears at a time when crises are increasingly happening on the doorstep of business schools. Over the past years, the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in the sense of instability and uncertainty, replacing the long-held focus on economic growth and prosperity in the Global North. The Ukrainian war has sealed that sentiment: we live in a time of crises.
The PIR 2022 Report focuses on insights from top-performing business schools in the Global South and leading business schools in the Global North. The latter schools are challenged to embrace change far more quickly than ever in recent history. The report provides business schools worldwide with important lessons from peer schools, for whom dealing with crises and challenges in their communities is a role they have accepted and embraced for a long time. If Business Schools in the Global North are to continue providing value to business, they must support both business and society in responding effectively to societal crises. Students and other stakeholders challenge them to provide relevant insights to society and equip graduates with appropriate skills and competencies (see the remarkable case study from Kozminski University, Poland, in appendices).
What students want!
Students provided an incredible wealth of constructive comments on how their schools can increase their positive impact. They are very clear in what they want their schools to START doing: Teaching sustainability and responsibility in a wider number of courses, programs, and classes; providing practical skills for a future career as a sustainability leader in curricula, operations, and culture; but also updating curricula to include new theories and models of business and economics relevant to 21st century challenges. There is also a consensus on what they want their schools to STOP doing: Using single-use plastics on campus and offering unsustainable food and catering services (see appendices).
Measuring the social impact of business schools
The rating survey asks students 20 questions in seven relevant impact dimensions: governance and culture of the school; study programs, learning methods, and student support; the institution as a role model and its public engagement. The overall PIR score of the business school is used to position the schools across five levels. The different levels refer to the levels of achievement in developing the social impact. Business schools are provided with a defined social impact model and a tool that they can use for measuring their impact.
A tool for collaborative learning and action
The purpose of the positive impact rating is to enable learning at and across schools rather than creating a competitive ranking. A rating offers the safety of groups rather than individual ranks and intends to foster collaboration. Schools, therefore, are positioned in five different levels, where they are featured alphabetically. Students and the management of each participating school receive free online access to a dashboard featuring their school’s results across the different areas compared to the average of all schools. This allows them to actively work towards increasing their positive impact. Students, who have access to the same data, are empowered to collaborate with the school administration.
How the participating schools performed
In the third edition of the PIR, students from business schools located in five continents and 21 countries participated in the survey. Despite the continued COVID-19 crisis and its impact on campus education, the number of participating students, business schools, and countries remained stable.
The PIR 2022 edition features 45 schools ranked at levels 3 or higher. Again, four business schools have reached the top Level 5 (pioneering schools). At Level 4 (transforming schools), the PIR features 29 schools, up from 24 schools last year. Level 3 (progressing schools) includes 12 schools (18 last year). In the spirit of reinforcing good practice, the rating does not feature schools rated below Level 3. All top schools in Level 5 come from the Global South – from India. Three of these schools have participated before in the PIR, with one newcomer joining in 2022. The top-rated schools perform solidly across all seven dimensions measured.
PIR as an enabler for business school development
This business school rating seeks to serve as a tool for continually improving the business school. It reflects the positive impact of the school as seen and evaluated by its students. Every year, this is done anew, with successive generations of students evaluating and reevaluating their schools. Learning and development are enabled through the design of the PIR. By providing the assessment tool to the student organizations and school management, both are empowered to use the data in many productive ways. In addition, the PIR organization collects and communicates best practices from the best performing business schools in the rating.
PIR – a valued tool for social impact measurement and reporting
The PIR has a dual purpose. It is a comparative rating, but it also serves as a social impact measurement and reporting tool. The design of the PIR offers all participating schools a private link to their school dashboard, where the survey results are available in full detail. The PIR dashboard represents a solid basis for school management and engaged student organizations alike to define actions and strategies to increase the positive impact of their schools.
What is the PIR effectively used for? A new survey of the participating schools has shown that the PIR is primarily used as a tool for social impact measurement and communication. While the benchmarking and rating function of the PIR is appreciated, most of the participating schools value the PIR primarily as a tool for understanding how and where the school can increase its impact on society (48%). The second most important purpose is to use the PIR as a source to understand and meet students’ expectations and to engage and collaborate more closely with them (23%). Schools also use the PIR to communicate its positive impact (20%).
Furthermore, most schools have started to use the PIR as a measurement and reporting tool to account for their school’s progress and social impact. 62% of the schools surveyed have used the PIR in their AACSB accreditation. 49% have used it in their PRME Reports. And 35% of the responding schools have used it for their EQUIS accreditation (see appendices).