The Dean of Lagos Business School, Professor Enase Okonedo, on Friday, January 24, delivered her inaugural lecture at the Honeywell Auditorium of the Pan-Atlantic University.
The lecture titled ‘Complexities of Decision-making in a Volatile Environment’ comes months after her appointment as a Professor of Management by the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU) and marks the 10th inaugural lecture of the University.
Presenting Okonedo to the audience, Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, Professor Juan Elegido summarised her 23-year journey from her role as a Research Assistant to former part-time faculty, Dr Christopher Kolade CON, to taking the highest academic and administrative position in the School. Elegido thanked Okonedo for her “immeasurable contribution to the progress of the PAU and LBS”.
In her lecture, Okonedo began by buttressing on Elegido’s introductory speech with a meticulous account of her journey in academia. She spoke on her decision to quit the banking industry and join LBS, her appointment as a faculty in the finance department, the encouragement she received from senior colleagues to venture into research, up until her appointment as Dean in July 2009.
On the practice of decision-making in Africa, she shared a summary of findings from research that led to the publication of her book chapter “Decision-making Practices in Africa”. The study sought to understand the possible influence of cultural beliefs, limited information, faith, ethics and other institutional factors on decisions made by business executives in the different sub-regions of Africa – East, West, Northern and Southern.
According to her, “a clear understanding of the nuances associated with making decisions in Africa will create an opportunity for business executives to make effective decisions in the context within which they operate”. This led her to embark on writing a book “The Art of Decision-making: A Guide to Executive Decision-making in Africa” scheduled for release this year.
On the impact of management education in Africa on decision-making, Okonedo said, “Increasingly, there is a perception that graduate management programmes in African institutions do not meet the needs of the continent. The curriculum offered in several higher institutions does not reveal global trends in management education. Also, the pedagogy as well as programme structure may not promote the development of skills such as critical thinking, analytical ability, problem solving, and adaptability especially required in the African context where the practice of formal management is still in the developing stage. These skills are critical for effective decision-making within organisations. Superior decision-making skills expectedly will lead to better outcomes and advance not only the interests of the organisations, but the nation and the continent”.
“Decision-making in a VUCA environment can be extremely daunting, but executives can navigate through the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity by becoming aware of certain considerations”, she added.
She concluded by adding that “managers and executives who understand the environment anticipate events through proactive thinking, perceive the challenges as an opportunity to grow, develop business models which are adaptive to the environment, and manage the chain of operations flexibly and nimbly will improve the effectiveness of their decisions”.
Okonedo thanked the members of the audience, and colleagues at LBS, then expressed special gratitude to three individuals – Dr Christopher Kolade CON, Professor Juan Elegido and Professor Fabian Ajogwu SAN – who have mentored and guided her through her endeavours.
Guests at the lecture were treated to a cocktail at the LBS foyer.