Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Innovations in Management Education for 2020

Innovations in Management Education for 2020
T. V. Rao
Chairman, TVRLS and Adjunct Professor, IIMA

Paper presented at the eighth AIMS Conference at IIMA, January 2, 2011. (raotalam@gmail.com)
Management education needs to rethink, redesign and reposition itself and its delivery systems considering the changes in the changes in the global and local scenario, the nature of students taking up management courses (Gen Y, Z and Z+), changing nature of organizations, business processes, technology and other factors. Management education should move from classroom to the field and from theory to theory guided practice and perhaps from a concentrated one or two year programs to spread out programs ranging over longer periods. Such changes have taken place in Doctoral programs already. This paper intends to present a number of thoughts which require somewhat out of the box approach on the part of Universities, Ministry of HRD and various Sate Governments to implement.

Management Profession and Professional Management

Professional management is well accepted and professionally trained managers are in demand while pprofessional management ahs has become well accepted qualification for employment by most modern organizations. However whether management has come of age and acquired the stature of a profession is always a question. It has been subjected to debate recently by a few articles that prepared in the west. Management as a profession has still not matured.

In my view the most important factors that provides the contextual significance to Management Education is the issues raised by Harvard Professors Rakesh Khurana and Nitin Nohria.
The following four characteristics of a profession as applied to management profession by Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/4650.html)
1. a common body of knowledge resting on a well-developed, widely accepted theoretical base;
2. a system for certifying that individuals possess such knowledge before being licensed or otherwise allowed to practice;
3. a commitment to use specialized knowledge for the public good, and a renunciation of the goal of profit maximization, in return for professional autonomy and monopoly power;
4. a code of ethics, with provisions for monitoring individual compliance with the code and a system of sanctions for enforcing it.
On the basis of their examination they conclude in their 2005 Harvard Business review article that Management as a profession falls short of meeting these criteria. Their observations re quoted below. (http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/4650.html):

1. “Besides having failed to develop a body of knowledge and theory comparable to those of the true professions, management differs from these other occupations in lacking a set of institutions designed to certify that its practitioners have a basic mastery of a core body of specialized knowledge and can apply it judiciously”.
2. “Although the MBA has been the fastest-growing graduate degree for the past twenty years, it is not a requirement for becoming a manager”.
3. “Having given rise to the notion of making managers "think and behave like owners" through equity-linked compensation, agency theory can now be seen to have led directly to many of the worst profit-maximizing abuses unmasked in the recent wave of corporate scandals.”
4. “.. trust in management as an institution could not be much lower than it is in American society today. In light of that, the benefits of a true profession of management adopting a formal normative code would appear to be obvious—particularly in comparison with a regulatory regime that could all too easily stifle the innovation and risk taking that have contributed so much to the success of American capitalism.
My interest in the sociology of professions dates back to my work on my Ph. D. On medical profession in early seventies (see Doctors in Making, 1975: Baroda: Samasthi Publications). I have examined the status of HRD as a profession a couple of years before Khurana and Nohria’s articles have appeared and presented my view point on the book on “Future of HRD” published by Macmillan India (Rao, 2003). A working paper was written for the Academy of HRD India and widely circulated on this theme. In my this examination I have used the following nine characteristics of a profession based on the review f literature (Rao, 2003)

Based on the review of literature the following characteristics of a Profession were identified:
1. A high degree of generalized and systematic knowledge.
2. A profession has well defined intelligence requirements and it chooses the future professionals on the basis of possession of basic aptitude for practicing the profession.
3. Acquisition of knowledge requires a long period of Education, Training and Socialization.
4. Professional practice is often legally recognized by some form of licensure and these boards / Associations are manned by the members of the profession
5. A profession should claim to offer services not available elsewhere.
6. Its members are bound by a sense of identity, they share common value and there is always promotion of internal relations between the members of the same profession.
7. Members of a profession are bound by ethical code of conduct.
8. A Profession is well accepted by public and member roles are well defined and understood by public at large.
9. Practitioners are motivated by an ideal of altruistic service rather than the pursuit of material and economic gain

Based on my analysis of research, education, professional bodies in India and their work etc. I concluded the following:

“Judged against these criteria required to be profession, it may be concluded that HRD in India, unlike in the west can at best can be called an occupation or a preoccupation of a few and has not acquired the status of a profession. To be qualified as a profession it has a long way to go. “(Rao, 2003, p 37)
I also suggested that it is high time that academics, professional bodies and reputed institutions professing and championing the cause of Human Resource Development take time and make efforts to do the following:
1. Define basics and outline what constitutes Human Resource Development, the competencies required to be called a HRD professionals;
2. Introduce a certification mechanism for recognition of qualified HRD Professionals and or Facilitators;
3. Define and enforce a code of conduct including standards, ethics and values;
4. Make efforts to make available the body of knowledge at one place or at various places of preparation of HRD professionals;
5. Put mechanisms in place that distinguish HRD Professionals from others and help them to contribute to the society at large through their organizations, practice and work;
6. Step up the basic and applied research in HRD area; and
7. Create a reflective and rejuvenating HRD community.

These are just a few steps and many more need to be undertaken to make HRD contributes to the society. Strong will power and positive efforts taken by the organizations and HR practicing professionals may change this scenario. one must remember that professions like Medicine and Law have a history of two centuries and they acquired the status of profession after going through many stages of development. HRD is a recent field and in future, and in due course of time, it may also develop into a profession like Law and Medicine.
On reflection I feel Management is no different than the HRD. In fact if any HRD as an occupation is much more organised than the management which is in a way its parent discipline. In HRD at least there is a code of conduct formulated by the US based Academy of HRD and the National HRD Network in India.

Management education in India has gone into the hands of politicians and money makers in the last two decades and AICTE has facilitated this by showing over concern to control not well developed management schools than to develop the professional management. It is only in the recent t past the HRD Ministry is being guided to ask some right questions on research output of these institutions earlier it was more questions on the acres of land, number of computers, classroom size and fee collected and rarely on the curricula taught. In any case a controlling agency cannot be expected to develop the profession. Profession has to be developed by committed professionals.

If we ask a question “Who are the committed management professionals in this country? The answers are not always happy. For example the Government is concerned more with numbers and not quality. Professional associations are often headed by people with no professional qualifications. Profession bodies do more of short capsule training than education. Teachers and researchers and the Management schools rarely participate in the Professional bodies like AIMA, CII, and those that use academics have slowly become extinct. For example bodies like ISTD, NIPM, AIMA, AMA, and NHRDN have very limited academic participation though ironically they have been started by well intending scholars and academics. Professional LMAs have extended the concept of management ranging from home management to import-export management and international management offer one day to one year programs part time. You can become a member of these bodies by paying anywhere between a hundred rupees to a thousand rupees. No one asks for professional qualifications.
Thus we seem to be at an age any one call himself or herself Home Maker, HRD managers at home and Home managers and enter an LMA as an office bearer. Some of them are more professional than the professionally trained managers as they have scientific knowledge, well set rules and a lot more determination and on the spot user-feedback if the curry is not cooked well or the child is sent late to school something lacking seriously in management education.

Projects are awarded by bidding and not be expertise (a thing that rarely happens in medicine). They don’t ask for bids from doctors when a politician is to undergo a heart surgery but bids are invited for organizational surgeries and bid evaluations are made by managers with no professional training sometimes based on brand image and nationality of the company than the professionalism and professional qualifications of service providers. Professional managers and IIMs don’t normally participate in these bids. (see tvraoblogs@blogspot.com for more arguments)

Changing Profile of Entrants into the Management Profession

A recent survey at IIMA on student activities as an indicator of their needs revealed that today’s student is more serious and less jovial and more reserved and introverted. This perhaps is an impact of the Internet world. Social interactions seem to be much less preferred and focussed achievement is preferred adding a lot of seriousness to life (Vijaya Sherry Chand and Rao, 2011 forth coming).

There are many studies in other countries that indicate the nature of the new generation we are dealing with. For example studies reveal that Gen Y workers expect to be paid more, to have flexible work schedules, expect to be promoted within a year, expect to have more vacation or personal time, and expect to have access to state-of-the-art technology. They have a more difficult time taking direction or responding to authority than other generations. They are an important segment of the workforce and literally the future of companies and organizations?

We need to take cognizance of this in designing and managing the management education. In contrast the professors specially the older ones who have a lot of knowledge and wisdom may not yet be fully in tune with the new generation of students.

Management education should take into cognizance the changed profiles of the students and if necessary redefine its objectives.

If they are more introverted should we design the curricula to suit the introverted profile or should we design the learning experiences to in encourage more networking and interpersonal dialogues and team work? How much it should be technology based and how much of it should take care of the hidden adverse effects of technological impact? Is a major issue the management educators need to address?

Studies after studies have indicated that students who enter the management profession learn better and appreciate the learning better if they enter the school with some experience. My own study in 70s indicated that a three year experience makes the student appreciate the institution and its curricula better than and fresh student. Yet most management schools in their eagerness not to lose out tenanted students to their competitor schools admit only fresher’s. There is a sea change in thinking needed for this. In case this cannot be changed the curricula should be changed.

Where do we need Innovations for 2020?

We need to innovate both in professionalizing management as well as building Management as Profession?
To building management as a profession we need to do the following:

1. Consolidate and develop the management theory. There are many theories and there could be many but there should be well accepted theories that make management a profession.
2. Articulating a code of ethics including the roles and responsibilities of professional managers.
3. Disseminating the same
4. Execute the code of ethics by discussing them in the classrooms, seminars and by extensively discussing case studies like- Enron, CWG, Satyam (as soon as Satyam scam broke out the Institute of Chartered accountants circulated a ppt on the big five Accounting firms) and also success stories like the Delhi Metro and Indian railways and how much professionals and the code of ethics have helped in project management etc.
5. Create self-regulation mechanisms and attitudes among the Professional Managers
6. Teachers and researchers should actively participate in professional bodies and use them o disseminate professional knowledge than make them as platforms for brand building of a few individuals and organizations. This requires active participation by academics and management schools in professional management associations.

As Observed by Khurana and Nohria- “Although it is now fashionable in some quarters, as we have suggested, to denigrate professionals as elites enjoying shelter from the rough-and-tumble of the marketplace, do we as a society really wish to surrender the benefits that we rightfully demand of professionals in return? And given the inevitable existence of elite knowledge workers, such as managers, in complex modem societies, ought we not to be concerned with producing elites who are motivated by something beyond the pursuit of self-interest under the laws of the marketplace, or the fear of punishment under the laws of the land.”

What are the ways we innovate in Management Education?

Prepare teachers

The first place to innovate is in preparing teachers for management education. There is an acute faculty shortage in management schools. This needs to be tackled fast. We need to do this by focusing our attention on preparing faculty for Management Education. For this purpose distance education mode could be sued. Most retired managers with post-graduate qualification in management and allied disciplines are registering for Ph. D.s. Management is one filed where theories are largely built on the study of successful practice. For example the 7-S and other models of McKinsey were developed on the basis of an examination of successful corporations. Why not we sue successful managers to teach others by getting them to conceptualize their success r by encouraging them to undertake research. Why not do this for early age. In this context I have the following recommendations to make to Sate Governments, Management schools, Universities and to the Ministry of HRD:

There should be no retirement age for Guiding Ph. D.s and Mentoring students. Ironically when a professor has all the wisdom to guide Ph.D.s he retires at 60 years or at 62 while in the USA they are appointed as Professors emeritus and can guide students until they decide not to. In India once you retire you cease to be guide. When you have time and wisdom we waste both.

Make an All India Registry of Ph. D Guides in Management and various allied disciplines and allow Universities and Management schools to use guides in any distance learning based Ph. D. Program. This model has been effectively used by the Fellow program in HRD started jointly by the Academy of HRD and XLRI. In a seven year period they produced about 25 Fellows and made them available as teachers and researchers. A practicing manager anywhere may register for the Ph. D. Program but ahs to go through a set of compulsory courses by distance education mode or campus visits to be qualified to do thesis work. He then carries out the thesis or research work under the guidance of a faculty (perhaps a retired faculty in his/her town). Universities should open themselves up for this. MHRD should promote this than to restrict such innovations.

Enhance formal retirement age to 65 or 70 and informal to life for outstanding scholars. For example the Indian Institute of Health management and research has used the services of late Dr. Udai Pareek until he died at 85 years of age.

Focus on Institution Building and Ethical Dimensions needed to make it a Credible Profession

Articulate the purpose and process of Management Education and re-focus on management Profession. Profit centered corporate are always likely to constitute most of the chief promoters of business schools. If government also becomes commercialized it will be unfortunate for management. I recently one Sate Government has offered land for education institutions at the market rate. Only those who have commercial interests can buy such land and once they buy they will be busy recovering their costs a by a high fee. Governments should carefully think of such designs that encourage profit driven education than profession driven education. When medicine and medical services get profit driven we are seeing the consequences of the same.

Educate owners mangers of corporations that long term contributions to society outweigh short term profits and get them to reinvest in Education than buying more properties for re-sale. Encouraging Professionals to start Management Education programs and set up schools.

There could be a fund or a bank created for institution Building. Space should be created for academics without profit motive to start professional institutions.

Professionalize government at all levels and not merely in the centralized and state run- services. They should be opened up for management professionals. Government to provide scope for employment of professional managers to man and carry out development jobs.

Provide continuing education for Alumni and inviting employers for alumni meets.
Reviewing code of conduct and self regulation and recognizing value driven manager.

Curricular Changes

Changes need to be made in the curricula for making it more relevant and scientific. Provide scope for localized curricula as much as possible (the last term should be to prepare for jobs after placement: Small Industry, Microfinance, Rural development, NOREGA, and other development fields). Involve students in Research and consulting like surveys, assistantships etc. Make structural changes like the one’s suggested below

The three categories of people who enter management schools in future may be characterised as follows:
1. Long Duration Full time programs are largely will constitute Gen Z and gen Z+ born Post nineties.
2. Long Duration Part Time Programs will consist of those largely from Gen Y born in eighties and nineties but prior to 2000. The Doctoral Programs- Full Time will consist of Gen Y and a few gen Z born post eighties and nineties
3. Doctoral Programs Part Time will consist of Gen X and Gen Y born in fifties and sixties
They need to be treated differently and programs designed differently.

Long Duration Full time programs (18 months or a 2 year MBAs)

PGP should be different to different categories of participants: Fresh Graduates, Those with One to three years experience; those with more than three years and have occupied supervisory positions; Seasoned executives with experience and higher positions; Owner managers/ Family Business etc.
Teaching method may be same the content should be varied. The following may be a suggested format:

Term 1: Introduction to various Organizing and Management disciplines: This should start with introductions to the nature of organizations. The first few months should focus on introducing the candidates to various organizations, their purposes, mission vision, activities, services, products and the way they are structured. They should become familiar with various types of organizations including the corporate sector (within it manufacturing, various services etc.). They should be introduced to various functions and roles in organizations. They should learn about the government and the way it is structured. As a part of this s there could be study visits and presentations. They should be exposed to a BPO, a Bank or a Financial Institution, Insurance agency, IT service provider, a Telecom Industry, An advertising agency, an NGO, A funding agency, an small scale entrepreneur, a municipal corporation, school etc. He should be able to learn by the end of the course the nature of organizations, the nature of roles, their functioning and the departmentalisation etc.

All this study will prepare the context of management. Here we should have introduced to some basic notions of human behaviour, organizational behaviour and then to the way the nation functions and it s economic and political aspects. How economic and political processes influence life in originations could be touched upon as Foundation courses.

Part 2. This is the most critical part which is practical’s. In this the candidate should be given a six month exposure to a job. Where the candidate will actually be placed in a department as junior executive and he performs the role. He experiences the organization. While working he also reads and prepares himself for understanding organizations and their functions in depth. He will be required to study on distance education mode organizational processes in depth and write papers or case studies. These papers can be selectively used for other batches. He also learns the basics of other functions in the organization.
Long Duration Full Time Programs

Part 3: Specialising. On return the candidate should specialise in one or two functions and also learn advanced human behaviour, finance and accounting, human resources management, operations management, macro and micro economics, marketing, and systems and technological applications. About three months for specialise and three months for advanced studies.

Thus at the end of eighteen months the student is ready to join and perform various tasks in an organization. The specialising can be of the choice of the company.
Placement could take place at the end of the second year. Or at the end of the first three months of advanced courses placement can begin and the employer could facilitate through a mentoring scheme the student to choose the specialising courses.

Management schools to adopt Industry and other organizations.

Long Duration Part Time Programs

There could be two types: Industry sponsored in which industries are tying up with management institutes for on-the job degrees. For example IIMA conducts a one year program for LIC executives. The second ones are public programs of long duration for executives. Many Institutions offer part time programs for practicing managers XLRI, AMA, Symbiosis, etc offer them. All such programs should be made modular and may include the following :
Part 1: Contextual Understanding: Global, Indian, Organizational, Functional, Role, Individual (6 months)
1. Introduction to Organizations, structure, people, individuals, roles, interpersonal and group dynamics
2. Macro and Micro economics: environment, policies, planning, government, its role, functioning etc.
Part 2: Functional Modules (12 to 18 months)
3. Marketing and Customer Management
4. Operations Management
5. Systems Management including IT, MIS etc.
6. Technology Management
7. Human Resources Management
8. Financial Management including Accounting and MIS
9. Each module for three months and should end with a project on the job of study, implementation, diagnosis, creation and management etc.
Part 3: Business Strategies and Entrepreneurship and Integration (6 months)
10. Project planning and implementation. Entrepreneurial skills
11. Strategy Formulation, Implementation and Management
12. Legal and Ethical Aspects of business
13. Management as a Profession: Roles and Obligations
14. Global Business etc. Specialization topics
Doctoral Programs : Full Time
The IIM and IIT model follows full time ranging from three to five years including thesis work. The university model is by thesis with no course work and takes about three years. No change is required in these models expect to give more practical work for students. It is useful to think of providing a year’s work in an organization to observe and study. Thesis topics should be made more relevant and usable. Publications and dissemination of research output should be insisted.
Doctoral Programs : Part Time

The entrants to this will be largely Gen X and Gen Y born in fifties and sixties. The AHRD, XLRI and IGNOU Models should be encouraged. It could begin with course work on “Management” for those who do not have an MBA. Capsule courses need to be developed and offered on distance education mode. Some minimum classroom education must be insisted. AHRD insists on a six week contact sessions twice before thesis work. Research Methods proficiency should be provided through simple research and theory building courses. Advanced courses in one’s area of specialization should be a prerequisite before the thesis work begins. Completion can range from one year to three years once registered. Courses on Classroom communication, case writing, research writing to be made compulsory. An all India Guides List to be developed and local Guides should be encouraged.
Annual Conference of Guides and candidates -location based could be organized.
Encourage dissertations to be written documenting one's experiences and using the data of the organizations where the individuals worked. New code of ethics in use of data needs to be developed. Appointments of such Ph. D.s on faculty to be encouraged. University statutes should change to appoint part time or term based faculty from among those getting Ph. D.s through this method. Retirement age to be 70 or 75 and no retirement for Ph. D Guides. No salaries need to be offered for those appointed after certain age and may only be given token honorarium based on the affordability of the Institution. Most guides work for fulfilling their obligation to society than to earn any income.

There should be no retirement for Professors of excellence. There should be no status differences. A professor is a professor once he undertakes to be a professor. Head of Institutions should promote actively the involvement of the faculty in assisting the local companies. Heads of institutions should participate actively in local management associations and professional bodies. They should form such bodies and actively pursue the same.

Corporations and Government should encourage executives to take off sabbaticals and teach or learn. Encourage them to register for their Ph. D. S and complete. National Consortium of P h D guides should be made and they should be eligible to guide anyone anywhere. At least some flexibility should be introduced. A lot of activities should be designed to encourage students to interact with the society and undertake short activities to learn about the society.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting read about how management education in India should modify itself & be made a profession. Very inspiring & thought Provoking, sir.