A previous GBSN blog
entry entitled 'Can Business Schools Rebuild Their Image' referred to a 2008 article from the Harvard Business Review
that grapples with the knowing-doing gap faced by business schools. In light of
the findings that many high-level managers of major companies, that were
severely distressed during the peak of the financial crisis, were also
graduates of business schools, critics, and some employees of b-schools,
have suggested that management education has become too theoretical, lacking
the real-world application methods to help managers to effectively solve
problems. Although many professors champion the case-study method as a solution
to this practice problem, there remains a question that lies at the source:
What level of practical experience is sufficient, as provided by b-schools?
the answer might be found in a selected paper from the Graduate School of
Business of the University of Chicago entitled 'Rethinking Management
Education: A View from Chicago.' The paper constructs a model of the necessary
elements needed to provide effective performance as a manager. The primary
elements are conceptual and domain knowledge, and the combination of these lead
to action skills which in turn produce action and then outcomes. The advanced
form of this model figures in insight skills that come into play at the outcome
stage, and feedback into action skills. According to the model, there are three
players: business schools, companies and students. Each has a comparative
advantage in a particular element: whereas business schools are more apt to
creating conceptual knowledge, companies have a comparative advantage in
producing domain knowledge; it is the responsibility of the student to harness
their mental capacities to develop insight and action skills. The paper
concludes with a recommendation that these three players work together to
ensure effective outcomes in the marketplace.
is it possible that b-schools are doing all that they can do to develop
effective managers and are placing emphasis in the right area. Or is the
knowing-doing gap, the theory/practice dichotomy still one to be argued?
Vako Tamaklo is the Business Development Officer
Nyaho Medical Centre and serves as the co-chair of The West Indian and African Association at Hamilton College.