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7 Principles of Management Education

Management is not a function nor a blend of functions.  It is a practice best understood by means of experience that are set in context.

All levels of education divide subject matter into definite categories, according to the means of creation of that knowledge, not by the manner in which it is used.  This is true for Management Education as well.

Management Education being imparted in educational institutions, although essential, is missing a tremendous chance of creative learning for practicing managers that may empower them to engage in Innovation Management, by teaching subject matter in compartmentalized form.

For effective management, knowledge is essential but wisdom is key—the capacity to combine knowledge from different sources and use it judiciously.

Art combined with science through craft is what management is all about—coping with issues in their highest complexity of living, not as arranged compendia.

An alternative approach to Management Education has been developed that:

  • Integrates Management Education with management development.
  • Employs extremely noteworthy innovations in Management Education and development.

This approach has helped leading business schools revamp the whole process of disseminating Management Education.  The approach encompasses the following 7 principles:

  1. The criteria for selection of candidates should include practicing managers with demonstrated job performance.
  2. Education and practice of management should be parallel and cohesive.
  3. Management Education must draw from life and experience.
  4. Contemplative thinking should be fundamental to learning.
  5. Organizational Development should be a corollary of management development.
  6. Management Education should be a continuous learning process.
  7. Each facet of education must enable learning.

The application of above principles assists in simultaneous development of managers and organizations.

Let us delve a little deeper into some of the principles encompassed in this approach.

The criteria for selection of candidates should include practicing managers with demonstrated job performance. 

The practice of management can be improved in a classroom, but it did not originate from there.  Merely classroom study cannot produce good managers.  Current Management Education programs rely on the candidate presenting themselves for selection, then choosing from the pool of candidates and setting them on a path for Leadership Development.

Transforming classrooms into vibrant learning platforms requires selecting learners on the basis of managerial experience.  Intelligence is a good basis for selection but verified job-performance is a far more realistic and suitable indicator for participant selection, particularly when the aim is to groom great future leaders.

Education and practice of management should be parallel and cohesive.

It is not logical to select participants on the basis of their practice and improve their skill while keeping them removed from that practice.  Keeping managers on the job enables education and experience to be intertwined making both environments richer.

Continuing both education and practice does create tension but such tension is inherent in management practice therefore encountering it is more beneficial than sidestepping it.

Management Education must draw from life and experience.

Presently, the learning agenda is controlled almost entirely by instructors in the class room resulting in much teaching and little learning.

Formalized knowledge—ideas, concepts, research—should meet the need that the managers bring to the classroom and reverberate with the participant’s wide-ranging but tacit knowledge.

A process of infusion rather than intrusion is required to galvanize the faculty’s educational push and the participants’ learning pull.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

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