The first annual conference of CEEMAN, held in Brdo, Slovenia began with a story from Alice in Wonderland. Alice meets a Cheshire cat and asks which way to go from here. The cat says it very much depends on where she wants to go. However, Alice isn't certain; so it is agreed that what really matters is that she gets somewhere….
"Today the emerging market economies of CEE, confronted by the task of finding their way from the old, unsuccessful and ideologically constrained system into new and modern business and social environments are facing a dilemma similar to Alice's. Clearly these countries want to escape from the old system, but it is much less clear where they want to be in the future."
The introduction went on: "Business education and management development institutions in CEE countries have an important role to play in helping their societies to find the right way toward a more successful, democratic and market-oriented future. To support their efforts to develop top-class management in CEE, these institutions have created CEEMAN, a framework for cooperation, exchange of information and better communication within the CEE family and with the world."
The May 7-9, 1993 meeting was attended by 65 delegates from 25 countries, representing 49 participating schools and universities, as well as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP New York), International Labor Organization (Geneva), and EMFD (Brussels). One day was devoted to a review and update on management development needs and trends in CEE. A second addressed the organization and workings of CEEMAN.
Andrzej Koźmiński introduced management development challenges by noting that many CEE management institutions are facing problems dealing with "Western influences" and struggling to develop "international cooperation" in areas of curriculum, teacher and student exchanges, and so on. Then he laid out a challenge: "Instead of building low-quality replicas of the programs of the Western schools, the CEE institutions should strive for high-quality, region-specific programs based on the principle that 'only the best is good enough'." This would mean becoming "active partners" with Western schools, rather than "followers or passive recipients of tailored programs."
Later, Koźmiński detailed how different organizations in CEE required "different managerial skills and expertise": Ma-and-Pa Shops need business basics; Growing Sharks (larger private firms) need forecasting and growth strategies; Mixed-Marriages, (firms with foreign ownership) need a stronger customer orientation; Pretenders, (market-oriented but over-staffed firms) need cost-cutting; and Dinosaurs (huge systems) need complete restructuring. Derek Abell, in turn, noted how top enterprises today compete on both "costs and qualities at the same time" and through "better buyer/seller relations." To move the region forward in these regards, he opined, "the majority of management development activities in CEE countries should be Eastern-led and Western-supported." Next there were individual country reports from member schools on their progress and challenges and working panels on program development, marketing, and administration issues in member schools.
On the second day, the agenda turned to the business of forming CEEMAN. CEEMAN Board members led discussions on:
- Sergey Mordovin: Faculty, staff, student exchanges, credits, accreditation
- Irén Gyökér: Membership, budget, and funding
- Danica Purg: Programs and conferences
- Velimir Srića: Newsletter and communications
- Sergey Mordovin and Stefan Kwiatkowski: External relationships
At the meeting, members also formally adopted the Charter of CEEMAN. Within months came the first publication of conference proceedings and of the CEEMAN News (see Sidebar: CEEMAN NEWS).