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Management and Liberal Arts Traditions Bridging the Two Worlds

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Management and Liberal Arts Traditions Bridging the Two Worlds

  1. 1. Management & Liberal Arts Traditions: Bridging the Two Worlds<br />From Drucker’s Lost Art of Management<br />Joseph A. Maciariello and Karen E. Linkletter<br />
  2. 2. The History of the Liberal Arts Tradition and the Rise of the University<br />Roots in Classic Greek Civilization.<br />Rise of European University with a structured curriculum on the Greco-Roman artesliberales.<br />Protestant Colleges retained artesliberalesgoal of building character and leaders.<br />Rise of the modern research university in Germany with emphasis on individual freedom and democraticideals(occurred within US as well).<br />Growth of more secular, state sponsored institutions to prepare young men for modernizing world.<br />New idea that the university was the place and source of cultivation of ideas and development.<br />
  3. 3. Challenges to Learning<br />19th century transition to the “liberal-free ideal” leading to highly flexible coursework.<br />Academic freedom and independent research transformed universities into research oriented institutions with little resemblance of liberal arts of antiquity.<br />Intellectual disorder in universities reflective of the social and cultural disorder existing beyond ivory tower.<br />Post Civil War industrial expansion fueled attitude that a liberal arts education was outdated.<br />
  4. 4. History of Management Training and Professional Business Schools (19th Century)<br />Growth of Professional Organizations for educated middle class to distinguish itself from the lower working class. <br />Business school linked to larger trend towards specialization and professionalization. <br />Universal white male suffrage increased the need for educated populace.<br />1stb-school’s (Wharton, Harvard & Dartmouth) capitalized on trend towards scientific specialization while retaining elements of liberal arts tradition.<br />Influence of Scientific Management to improve productivity as the study of business became a profession.<br />
  5. 5. Early 20thcentury<br />Linking the new business school with the liberal arts tradition ensured that the values of old would be inscribed on the new institution.<br />To promote professionalism, b-school’s emphasized scientific management and rationalism.<br />After the US entered WWI, war production placed unprecedented demands on businesses and the obsession with efficiency and planning reached new heights. <br />By 1920, business and managerial professionals no longer seen as a source of disruption and were now seen as able to regulate the ups and downs of society (e.g., the business cycle).<br />Most Americans in 1920 believed management, planning, and efficiency were the key to social order and prosperity. <br />
  6. 6. Depression and the rejection of the MBA<br />During the 1920s business schools appeared to choose their curriculum in a “shot gun” approach.<br />During the Great Depression b-school curriculum became more standardized as management as a profession came under fire.<br />Americans rejected the model of the business elite and now placed their faith on planning and bureaucracy in the public sector.<br />The Modern Corporation and Private Property by Gardiner Means and Adolf Berle, presented the case for managers to consider their obligations to society and not just their own interests.<br />
  7. 7. Post WWII<br />Despite lost faith in business professional ability to control societal ups and downs, the demand for professionally trained managers boomed as America’s corporate sector expanded.<br />Economy driven by newly structured firms with excess capacity from war production as well as up and coming industries like consumer credit.<br />The GI Bill created a flood of primarily white American men into colleges and universities many of which opted for a business degree.<br />University faculty in other departments viewed b-schools as solely a place for vocational training, composed of classes that lacked academic rigor and faculties doing 2ndrate research. <br />The Ford Foundations report, Higher Education for Business, shattered the image and confidence of the b-school community.<br />
  8. 8. The White Collar Manager<br />Perception of new white collar workers turning into soulless “yes men”, willing to sacrifice their individuality and moral fiber for pecuniary gain.<br />Drucker’sThe Practice of Management put management on the map as a discipline worthy of study.<br />Business faculty pursued increasingly specialized areas of research to establish their scholarly credibility.<br />During the 1970s b school curricula fell into a prescribed model of coursework defining the “typical” MBA program. <br />A new emphasis on quantitative methods and management science eradicated the ideals of the liberal arts.<br />Despite Drucker’s work, during 1950s and 60s the human component of management was lost and analytical managers were King.<br />
  9. 9. Modern Social and Economic Upheavals<br />Corporate executives were portrayed as loose cannons incapable of effectively managing organizations.<br />Aligning the interest of shareholders and managers by rewarding managers with increases in accordance with share values.<br />The corporate world had become a jungle, and “you bring your own machete”.<br />BusinessWeek rankings of MBA programs emphasizing starting salaries of graduates and volume of job offers received versus academic quality.<br />1980s students started to demand they received marketable skills – they sought an ROI.<br />Management as a profession, discipline and practice was broken and battered long before the mortgage meltdown and credit crisis.<br />
  10. 10. Chapter 2 Take Aways<br />Must recognize the need for social relevance of both traditions and restore their most crucial components. <br />Liberal arts struggle to be socially relevant.<br />Drucker’sgoal of a “tolerable or hopeful” society provides us with a goal for the practice management as a liberal art.<br />

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