Management scholars from across Canada paid rich tribute to C K Prahalad, the India-born management thinker who passed away on April 17, at their annual conference.
The conference was held by the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada, the largest body of business scholars in the country, earlier this week at Regina, Saskatchewan.
Dr Hari Bapuji, assistant professor at the Asper Business School, University of Manitoba, welcomed attendees as chair of the special session held in Prahalad's honour.
He recalled Prahalad's contribution to the management field and his recognition as a top management thinker across the world by mentioning, "if you have been anywhere near a business school in the recent past, you know of Prahalad."
Glenn Rowe, Paul MacPherson chair and director of executive programmes at the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, pointed to Prahalad's uniqueness as a scholar who did research of great interest to profit-making businesses and yet of relevance to marginalised sections of society, that Prahalad referred to as the "bottom of the pyramid" in his celebrated book.
Several attendees then commented on Prahalad's work and its profound impact on the field. Attendees included scholars from McGill University, University of Quebec, HEC Montreal, University of Toronto, York University, University of Regina, University of Western Ontario, University of Manitoba, University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie University, Concordia University and many more across the country. Scholars also noted their own multi-disciplinary and international backgrounds and how Prahalad's work had appeal across the globe.
Suhaib Riaz, assistant professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, was the discussant for the event, and shared the advice he had received from Prahalad. He recalled Prahalad's suggestions to build cross-disciplinary understanding and at the same time never lose focus on the real problems of world.
He also mentioned Prahalad's challenge to scholars, "we are privileged set of people, and it is our responsibility to focus on research that is relevant to the problems of the world."
A recent online forum initiated by Canadian business academics, called 'Strategy and You' (www.strategyandyou.org) was dedicated to Prahalad's memory and scholars were encouraged to use such forums to engage with the real problems facing the world.
Earlier, the forum had carried remembrance blog posts on Prahalad by professors and students in Canada impacted by his work.
Bapuji concluded the session by mentioning that a feeling of being 'intellectually orphaned' at C.K. Prahalad's passing away best summed up what Prahalad meant to many in the management world.