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Themes: Media, arts and culture

Can Hollywood blockbusters, graphic novels and other artistic mediums stimulate fresh approaches to business and management?

Dr Allegre HadidaDr Allègre Hadida, Lecturer in Strategy at Cambridge Judge Business School, regularly uses Hollywood blockbusters and graphic novels to stimulate fresh approaches to business and management by her students who include seasoned corporate executives.

Clips from The Godfather demonstrate diversification in a family business; Gladiator shows the implementation of a functional strategy; Jerry Maguire illustrates the concept of values and there’s even room for a short sequence from the latest Star Wars movies.

These and many others are used alongside the familiar and well-thumbed paper corporate case studies.

Dr Hadida is a Fellow of Magdelene College and her research interests focus on strategic decision-making and management of arts, cultural and media organisations as well as creativity in business.

However, despite using clips from leading movies, Oliver Stone’s recently released Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps, starring Michael Douglas, may not eventually find its way onto her list. Dr Hadida maintains there is no identifiable business-film genre.

“There’s a huge paradox when you look at movies that are set in a business-related setting. You have quite a few in Hollywood and elsewhere that take place in the corporate world. They use it as their context but don’t actually address the ideas, the concepts and values that we are faced with daily in business life or that we teach in business schools.”

She says that there are many movies that have nothing to do with the business world yet they address those values, concepts and ideas. Business schools, she explains, traditionally use paper-based corporate case studies for this purpose.

“It’s good to take students, be they MBA or executives with 30 years’ corporate experience, out of their comfort zones and use visual elements like movies or graphic novels to make them reflect on what are business-related situations yet depicted in different settings.”