Friday, December 28, 2018

From older Scots literature to corporate social responsibility via Soviet Union and mechanical cutting

I expressed in an earlier post my surprise on seeing Sally Mapstone, professor of Older Scots literature at the University of Oxford in the UK, among members of international scientific committee of the conference Corporate Social Responsibility, organized by an obscure foundation Institute of Scientific Research and Expertises from a non-university town of Gorzów Wielkopolski in western Poland. At the time of the conference, 15-16 December 2016, she held already the post of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews (UK), the oldest university in Scotland, established in 1413. In the current ranking of world universities compiled by Times Higher Education it is classified as number 165 in the world.

Sally Mapstone authored and edited publications on literature in Scots and Latin before 1707. For example, she authored the book Scots and Their Books in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (1996), book chapter Shakespeare and Scottish Kingship: a Case History (1998), and edited the book Older Scots Literature (2005). How does the older Scots literature relate to "corporate social responsibility"? There is no visible connection between her academic research and the roles she performed in academic administration and the conference theme.

One can similarly question the disconnect between the subject of the conference and professional lives of other conference organizers.

Tadeusz Zaborowski, the operator of the foundation behind the conference, is a retired professor of mechanical engineering at the Poznań University of Technology. One of his early publications is "Możliwości adaptacji przecinarek taśmowych do cięcia anodowo-mechanicznego" ("Possibilities of Adapting Band-type Cutting-off Machines for Combined Anodic and Mechanical Cutting") in an obscure Polish monthly Mechanik in 1983. Between that paper and the next one listed in the Scopus database, "Verification of cutting zone machinability during the turning of a new austenitic stainless steel" is a gap of 28 years. His next several publications in the database are from the mechanical engineering domain.

There is, of course, nothing wrong in pursuing new interests and exploring new areas of research and social activity. It is, however, astonishing, that Zaborowski acts as chairman of the organizing committee of the conference on corporate social responsibility, i.e. in a field in which he did not seem to have been active.

What about conference's deputy chairs?

Daniel Fic, has no publications in the Scopus database. His web page at the Higher School of Security (Wyższa Szkoła Bezpieczeństwa) in Poznań informs that he graduated from both the Wrocław University of Technology and Moscow School of Management in 1976. He was clearly privileged and highly trusted member of Communist inner circles. There is no information about his doctorate. His subsequent career at two institutions of higher learning in Zielona Góra, Higher Pedagogical School and Higher Engineering School, in which he held a number of management positions, includes the position of chairman of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Technology, for which he was quite obviously professionally unsuited.  He obtained habilitation from the Moscow University in 1989. Fic is also a faculty member of the Faculty of Management in the Higher Military School of Land Forces in Wrocław. Fic's background indicates an extremely strong backing of the Communist authorities. and the Communist military.

Zygmunt Bauman, a retired professor of the University of Leeds, was a sociologist (died in January 2017). He worked for the Communist military intelligence in his youth. His later claim about cutting off ties to Communist intelligence cannot be taken seriously.

Tatiana Ronginska. No publications in the Scopus database. PhD and habilitation in Leningrad. She is currently head of the Institute of Psychology at the University of Zielona Góra, which was formed as a fusion of the Higher Pedagogical School and Higher Engineering School, institutions where Fic also held important positions. Ronginska came to Zielona Góra in early 1990s, at the time when the Red Army was leaving Poland. She was one of a large wave of arrivals from the Soviet Union to the universities and institutions of culture. The military contingent was replaced with the next batch of troops. Quite clearly the Russian and the Polish side co-operated in the smooth placement and preferential treatment of the Soviet individuals in institutions across Poland.

Xuesong Yin from China. There are several persons having this name in the Scopus system. None represent the field of economics.

Robert Woźniak from Poland. Three persons from Poland in the Scopus database with the same first and last name, none in economics. Each with just a couple of papers.

Corporate social responsibility is among the last themes one would respect to be on the mind of persons with strong ties to Communist civilian and military authorities. Clearly there is more to this conference and its participants than meets the eye.