Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Academicians vs Managers

Management is one of the most applied of all sciences. Its not a theoretical science. You would therefore expect that in this field there is the closest of cooperation between academicians and practitioners. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The two mutually loath each other although outwardly its all bonhomie

Managers think academicians are outdated, theoretical and of no use in the "real" world. They think what is taught at business schools is of little relevance to corporate life , even though they may have been from a business school themselves.

Academicians see practitioners as non cooperative, contributing little to the profession and certainly irrelevant to the academic world, except for allowing professors to write cases. They see them as something of an intellectual vacuum.

Interaction between the two is therefore largely restricted. Top notch professors sit on company Boards and do consulting, but the vast majority of academicians have retreated into their academic world and interact little with the business world. Similarly a few business leaders and some committed souls visit universities and give guest lectures, or cooperate in an academic endeavour, but the vast majority of managers would react with horror at the thought of spending a week in close proximity to a professor.

End result is that both lose.

The academic research that is done is often trivia and many publications are unreadable. Pick any PhD thesis and the average manager would probably not even understand the title. Does "Perceived Organizational Support and Organizational Commitment: The Mediational Influence of Psychological Well-Being " excite you to get up at 4 AM in the morning and read; this is an actual PhD title for example.

Managers have virtually gone obsolete and have forgotten management theory (read my last post). So you get Boards that don't understand credit default swaps leading the whole world down the tube.

In my view, no Professor should be allowed to continue in his role, if every 10 years, he hasn't worked one year in business. Actual work. Not consulting. Where he feels the responsibility in the pit of his stomach and the shit hits the ceiling every alternate day. And no manager must be allowed to keep his business degree if he hasn't gone back to university every 10 years and requalified.

The world of management is ill served by this tiff between academicians and practitioners. Just to prove this point, both sides, if they read it, will tell me that this piece is utter rubbish.

4 comments:

A journey called Life said...

after reading yesterday's post, I was not convinced as to how, going back to school every few years was going to help, given that experience teaches more and better. But then in answer to my query when u said that a manager still needs to get his training, to pick up technical skills, i was still only partly convinced..
this 'marriage' between an academician and a manager to be visited every now and then, seems like a good option.. and makes a lot of sense, now i can rest my mind (and case if there was any)

rads said...

Yea I guess academicians and managers should switch their roles once in a while. LOL@"Perceived Organizational Support and Organizational Commitment: The Mediational Influence of Psychological Well-Being" I would never even have the patience to read the title at 4 AM in the morning.

Ramesh said...

@ aparna - I wouldn't recommend a real marriage between a manager and a professor. It would be a "complete disjoint one" to borrow your phrase !

@rads- Such is allure of the business Phd. Maybe you'll like "Sequential Estimation of a Linear Function of Normal Means under Asymmetric Loss Function" Lol !

Adesh Sidhu said...

The balance is definitely required between the two. One reason is too much money being offered to managers in corporate world and it will not encourage any manager to go back to school.

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