MAN 101 is short for a college or MBA course named introduction to management. I took that course back in 1980 from late professor Muhan Soysal at METU. (I strongly recommend a book written for him by Hasim Akman and Mehlika Babaoglu; Muhan Hoca)
I had my MBA at Umass at Boston in 1989, and took even more management courses. Throughout my life I worked at different organizations with different capacities at various roles. Attended many training courses including the famous General Electric’s BMC program at Crotonville NY.
Today after 25 years in business, I came to two very clear conclusions;
The first one is the following: It is not “business“, it is “management“. And “MBA” gives all management schools a bad name. Just because smart Harvard MBA grads worked at Wall Street investment banks with very high salaries and much talked about bonuses, doesn’t mean that they performed much managerial jobs. And in the management discipline’s criteria, most of them have been unsuccessful. Management is a discipline. It may be performed in business, in non profit organizations, for churches or for boy scout teams. If MBA title is to be redesigned and I believe it must, it must be called Management in Business Applications rather than Master of Business Administration. “Administration“, by the way is the worst word as it refers to maintaining things as they are, whereas Management tries to create and add value. Needless to say, I also consider Peter Drucker as the father of management as a discipline and not Frederick Taylor who invented in my mind industrial management right after industrial revolution. Drucker’s “Management; Tasks, Responsibilities and Practices” was written back in 1973. He wrote more than 20 books and many articles many of which became classics of Harvard Business Review. There is a new book called “What Would Drucker Do Now” written by Rick Wartzman, who is the author of Bloomberg Business Week column ”The Drucker Difference”. It looks at today’s issues companies face from pure sound management practice point of view. As such, I applaud Jack Welch’s endeavor to expand its management school to an international audience.
In fact many issues we face everyday as managers at our organizations were addressed many years ago. That takes me to my second point. Management should be taken as a positive science although it is more than that. For us not to make same mistakes over and over we should treat management as a science rather than an art. In positive sciences once a theory is proved, it is used until proved otherwise. No one challenges if two plus two is four or not right? Yet in management we learn and forget. Take for instance; “the purpose of a business is to create a customer” Why do businesses forget this so easily? Or Management by Objectives: How can we expect people without clear targets to come and work motivated everyday? Can you manage anything if you can not measure it? Or if you don’t have a strategy, how are you going to design your organization? If you don’t have a top management how are you going to execute your strategy? Sounds so obvious right? Yet look at many organizations, look at your organization (and see how many departments don’t have clear targets for instance). And of course take a look at European Union. What is their strategy, their organization structure. And who is in charge? Who is the CEO of Europe? How can one dream of a European Monetary Union without a fiscal and political one? (only politicians who never let their power go I guess:)
So, in today’s world many issues we face are the results of the things that we do wrong. This is why companies go bankrupt and this is why now countries go bankrupt. They are managed poorly. They make obvious mistakes. Mistakes that they could avoid if they took management teachings seriously rather than having MBA degrees which look-nice-on-a diploma!
Now you know why I call this blog MAN101. Many things which we believe are difficult to tackle are in fact easy to address. Look at management books. It’s right there before us !!!