GL Bajaj on Importance of Management Education and its Indian Context

Sociologists
characterize 20th century society as a society with fundamentally new
characteristics compared with previous historical societies. It is a society
of organizations
. Organizations have pervaded all parts of our lives. They
range from business organizations, to education, hospitals, semi-public and
public organizations, NPOs, and so on. They are the organs of modern society –
hence society is dependent on the quality of its organizations.
For
organizations to function they need to have means to achieve their purpose.
This is where management comes in – without proper management the organizations
cannot achieve their purpose. It is quite obvious for businesses, but equally
clear for education institutions, hospitals, research organizations and public
sector bodies. Against a backdrop of the modern society of organizations, the
systematic study of management started in the early part of the 20th
century and saw a notable acceleration in the post-war years
. University based
Business Schools and independent institutions sprang up everywhere leading
today to a mind-boggling number of more the 12000 globally. Large businesses
were the natural place to start with education and the systematic application
of management as their increasing scale, scope and complexity required specific
skills to survive and thrive in competitive markets
. The emerging discipline of
management included various elements such as operations, human resources,
strategy, leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. General management and
increasingly specialized disciplines took on an accelerated development, which
can be measured by the number of books, scientific articles and management
conferences. Besides a few fads a huge body of useful knowledge was produced
that made Management an essential social technology
. Yet outside business the
application of management knowledge was rather limited, to say the least.

Fast
forward to today’s situation: In order to get back to sustainable growth, high
performing organizations are needed in all parts of society. Even though
budgets are being cut, higher and better outputs from organizations are
required. “More for less” is the mantra.
While large businesses are overzealous
in cost cutting (including human resources), non-business organizations and the
public sector have not yet fully woken up to this new challenge. The latter
introduces at best formal rules to reduce civil servants over time (e.g. hire
only 1 for two leavers). However, the creation of more and new value with less
resource is the mandate for the future
. This means that organizations need to
be better managed towards achieving a higher degree of value creation by
innovating in all fields of their activity: providing products and services
that meet the needs of customers and hence of society but also innovating in
the way they operate e.g. by introducing new HR practices taking into account
the multi-generational workforce, by implementing new ways to develop
transformational leaders with strong entrepreneurial capacity, by implementing
new tools for creating and sharing knowledge etc.

In
his new book “The Learning Curve” Santiago Iniguez, the dean of the Spanish
Business School Instituto de Empresa expressed it this way: ‘What the world
needs now is good entrepreneurs, good managers, and good business leaders
. I
believe the best antidote to intolerance or the clash of cultures or poor
foreign policies, is to develop good managers, create new businesses, innovate
and generate value and wealth at all levels of society.’

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