Arnold Walravens' analysis of the "themes" emphasized in the annual conferences from 1998 to 2002 finds a shift of attention from themes of disintegration to reintegration.

The first conferences in this era focused again on transition issues—addressing the skills gap in CEE as identified by the CEEMAN study of management development needs and coping with the diversity of peoples, firms, and national challenges encompassed by CEEMAN's remit.

The next conferences in this period looked forward: to the integration of nations and businesses with Europe, revving up entrepreneurship, going international from emerging economies, and moving toward a desired future society.

(Photo from: the Sixth CEEMAN Annual Conference, Riga, Latvia 1998)

6th Annual Conference - Riga, Latvia
1998: Transformational Leadership - The Challenge for Management Development in Central and Eastern Europe
Sixth CEEMAN Annual Conference, Riga, Latvia, 1998
"Do we have enough leaders for business and government who have the necessary knowledge, skill, global orientation, ethical standards, energy, and charisma to bring their organizations and the whole region into the next stage of development? Are we in our business schools developing just managers or also future leaders?" With these words, Danica Purg opened CEEMAN's sixth annual meeting on October 15-17, 1998, in Riga, Latvia, hosted by Boriss Kurovs and Irina Sennikova of Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration (RISEBA).

To kick off the subject of transformational leadership in CEE, Peter Olechnovitz of ABB shared his experiences leading ABB-Zamech through six years of restructuring in Poland. He emphasized the importance in acquisitions of striking a balance between importing ABB management systems and retaining local practices. He also spoke about shifting from a product to market orientation and boosting customer contacts and service. In turn, business leaders Kaare Birkeland, of Scantrade in Lithuania, and Ainars Roze, of Roze Gramatnica in Latvia, emphasized competing on quality as opposed to low costs.

Attention turned next to preparing CEE schools to transform management students into future leaders. Wiktor Askanas, IMC, Hungary described his school's success in customizing programs for banking and health care; Krzysztof Pawlowski, National Louis University, Poland, highlighted how his school uses "tested American programs"; and Andrzej Popadiuk, of the Gdansk Manager's Training Foundation stressed the value in executive education of developing "partnership relationships with our clients." Delegates traveled to the seaside town of Jūrmala to dine, dance, and see its famed wooden houses dating from the 19th and early 20th century built by Baltic German and Latvian architects.

The conference concluded with a provocative talk by Derek Abell where he posited that transformational leadership cannot be taught, but can be learned. The secret: practical experience that is internalized through self-reflection.

7th Annual Conference - Budapest, Hungary
1999: European Diversity and Integration: Implications for Management Development
The first business school in CEE, The Handelsakademie Pest (later reconstituted as the Budapest Business School), dates from 1857. Prior to 1985, there were no MBA degrees offered in CEE countries. Students with an interest in management would study law or economics or political science. Non-degree management development programs offered by schools or universities were rare. Over the next years, through a combination of East-West collaboration and indigenous academic entrepreneurship, business and management education exploded in CEE. By 1999, there were nearly 50 private management schools in the region.

CEEMAN annual meeting in 1999 was hosted by International Management Center (IMC), in Budapest, Hungary. Founded by a group including investor and philanthropist George Soros in 1988, IMC was the first school in CEE to offer graduate business education leading to an American MBA degree. From 1996 to 2001 it was connected to the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2002, IMC was officially recognized as the Business School of Central European University.

Some 86 CEEMAN delegates were welcomed to IMC by Wiktor Askanas, Dean and CEO. At this meeting, emphasis shifted from national transition issues to preparing for European integration. Professor Peter Welzel, Augsburg University, started with a macroeconomic overview of Europe followed by panels of business leaders (led by Abell) and consultants (led by Gyöker) that addressed the corporate and commercial implications. There was general agreement that the opportunities afforded by integration were substantial but that risks of "over-regulation" were significant, too.

This was followed by open plenary discussions on what European integration might mean in terms of faculty recruiting and development, research and case development in relation to customer needs, meeting customer needs and expectations, adapting to the European credit transfer systems, and formulating strategic options in school management.

This would not be the only time that CEEMAN would face and deliberate issues of diversity and integration. These would arise in the context of nations joining the EU five years later and of globalization 10 years hence.

8th Annual Conference - Trieste, Italy
2000: Entrepreneurship on the Wave of Change: Implications for Management Development
Eighth CEEMAN Annual Conference in Trieste, Italy, 2000, with (from right to left) Vladimir Nanut, Dean of MIB, Riccardo Illy, mayor of Trieste, Danica Purg and Dutch entrepreneur Bert Twaalfhoven
For the first time, CEEMAN held its annual meeting outside of the former socialist world in Trieste, Italy, on October 12-14, 2000, hosted by Dean Vladimir Nanut of MIB School of Management. The region is a hothouse of entrepreneurship and the 120-plus delegates joined in "trialogues" between member schools, their students, and leading entrepreneurs, including Bert Twaalfhoven, a founder of the European Forum for Entrepreneurship Research and President of Indivers from the Netherlands, who spoke about 50 of his start-ups in 10 countries. Mindful that the dot-com boom was now becoming a bust, he focused critically on the 17 that failed. Among his messages: "innovate continuously," "implement decisions quickly," and "focus on cash flow NOW."

Student panelists validated these messages. Luka Novak, a bookstore publisher in Ljubjana, remarked, "The new economy is about creation. Selling comes later. Therefore we must not overestimate the new economy's potential as this might lead to huge losses."

Riccardo Illy, then Mayor of Trieste and an executive in his family's business which includes Illycaffè, a worldwide purveyor of coffee, welcomed CEEMAN to his city. The Illy brand embodies the hybrid Italian design impulses of tradition and modernity and Riccardo carries the moniker "missionary of espresso" based on his book Dal Caffe all'Espresso (From Coffeebeans to Espresso). Here he shared his entrepreneurial story with delegates and then talked about the revival of the region through stakeholder management practices adapted from business and the power of civil networks to foster social action and innovation.

His remarks echoed Robert Putnam's theses in Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy that inter-organizational networks and the resulting "social capital" are crucial in regional economic development. Several of the entrepreneurs spoke about the importance of such networks in building their businesses and Bohdan Budzan, General Director, IMI-Kyiv, Ukraine addressed the role of corporate-management development alliances in promoting entrepreneurship.

At the closing session, Danica Purg introduced a panel to explore the relationship between "arts and entrepreneurship." Slovene entrepreneur Japec Jakopin, famous all over the world for his wonderful yachts, spoke about designing them; Haris Pašović about theater and film making; and Klemen Ramovš about organizing concerts. Stefan Kwiatkowski, Conference Chair from LKAEM Poland, summed it up this way: "We have learned that entrepreneurship is not a profession but an approach. Whatever you deal with—boats, music, theater, or any other enterprise—you need to take this approach to be successful."

Delegates strolled through the timeworn streets of Trieste, once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, later annexed by Italy, on their way to a gala dinner and dancing.

9th Annual Conference - Dubrovnik, Croatia
2001: Going International from an Emerging Economy: Corporate Experience and the Business School Challenge
Ninth CEEMAN Annual Conference, Dubrovnik, 2011
The ninth CEEMAN annual conference was held on September 27-29, 2001, in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was a fitting locale for a meeting on "going international" from an emerging economy as during its Golden Age in the 15th through 16th centuries the city was a center of global maritime trade and had its own merchant fleet of nearly 200 ships for Adriatic and ocean sailing. This was also a timely meeting. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, outward FDI (foreign direct investment) more than tripled from some CEE countries from 1993 to 2001. Among the major CEE transnationals expanding on the international stage during this period were Novoship and Primorsk (Russian shipping companies), Latvian Shipping, Slovene companies Adria Airways and Gorenje (a house appliance maker), and the Pliva Group (a Croatian pharmaceutical).

Branka Skaramuča, Corporate HR Director of Pliva, gave a keynote address to the 100- plus conferees about her company's growth strategy. It included acquisitions in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany, expansion in the UK and France, and organic growth driven by the development of value added generics. She stressed the importance of mergers and acquisitions and change management skills, and of her company's success in hiring talented young people and giving them "great responsibility" from the get-go. "Finally," she added, "without a good understanding of culture, it is extremely hard to…..expand westward."

John Stopford, then Professor at the London Business School, followed with an analysis of the challenges of globalizing including, with reference to the CEE, a lack of "commitment to the market" and a need to understand the "world's capital market demands." Yet he reminded the educators that rational logic was not sufficient for preparing emerging economy managers to go global. "You have to change fundamental behaviors." Summing up his insights from a series of presentations by business leaders on their globalizing experiences, Conference Chair Derek Abell argued that CEE management schools should emphasize both domestic and international excellence in their curricula and stress "new conceptual learning about practice."
Ninth CEEMAN Annual Conference, Dubrovnik 2011
Panel sessions that followed focused on what CEEMAN schools are doing to internationalize their students. Virginijus Kundratas, of ISM, Lithuania, spoke about faculty exchange and Mardris Ozolinš, of Riga Business School, Latvia, about student exchange and partnerships between business schools. In turn, Professor P.N. Thirunarayana, of the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, talked about "practicing obedience to the truth" in cross-cultural encounters and Professor Michal Čakrt, of the Czech Management Center, spoke about "beating the crocodile syndrome"–meaning that global managers shouldn't be "all mouth" and "no ears."

On their way to dine together, conferees walked through the streets of Dubrovnik, the city walls still pockmarked ten years later from bombardment during the Serbian-Croatian war, taking it all in.

10th Annual Conference - Bled, Slovenia
2002: Leadership and Our Future Society
10th CEEMAN Annual Conference, Bled, 2002 (CEEMAN Board members)
For its 10th anniversary, CEEMAN returned to IEDC, newly moved to the lakeside in Bled, Slovenia. Two buildings featured modern amphitheaters for case teaching, seminar rooms for large and small-group activities, and an inviting gathering space opening on to a large terrace. An article in the Financial Times described the Bled campus as a "modern monastery."

Danica Purg started the proceedings with tough talk, following Enron's financial finagling and collapse, about business leaders being accused of "corruption and greed" and the "rewards" of good leadership being equated to "self-enrichment." "Let us insist that a traditional sense of duty should once again be a requirement for leadership."

Conference chair Andrzej Koźmiński was even tougher: "A couple of years ago… we were discussing a neat concept of 'transformational leadership' combining vision with mobilization and institutionalization. I recently went through the colorful slides for that presentation. They now look ridiculously naïve. There is clearly no vision and mobilization is not possible without the legitimacy of leadership." He went on "In Central and Eastern European intellectual tradition, leadership has a strong spiritual dimension embodied in the archetypal myths of 'good' and 'beauty.'" These ideas animated the 100 or so conferees and would be more fully developed in the book The Three Faces of Leadership: Manager, Artist, Priest (by Mary Jo Hatch, Monica Kostera, and Andrzej K. Koźmiński).
The talk deepened, but the mood brightened, as speakers turned to the emergence of a global economic space and the widening of Europe (Jean-Pierre Lehmann); a new emphasis on socially responsible business (Lev Kreft); and leadership beyond the bottom line (Derek Abell). Leonid Evenko, President of RABE, reminded the delegates of the increasing number of women rising into leadership positions and American William George, former CEO of Medtronic, a leading medical device manufacturer, stressed the importance of authentic leadership--"people of the highest integrity, committed to building enduring organizations."

Parallel sessions on business leadership and employment, sustainability, social responsibility, and individual self-realization put meat to the bones of these ideas. John Elkington's work, humorously titled Cannibals with Forks: The Triple-Bottom Line of 21st Century Business, was regularly referenced. As the delegates moved from Bled to a gala dinner at the castle in Ljubjana, Purg's message was carried with them: "Let us agree that we will not go to the rest of the world to lecture them on how they have to behave. For us, it will be enough to start to realize the principles of morality, trust, development of people, and sustainability in our own leadership style."

Related materials:

Text — adapted from the book "CEEMAN - 20 Years of Creating History" by Philip H. Mirvis and Arnold Walravens, 2013

Production and Design — Artyom Ushnichkov, 2018