Isn’t it amazing for us to be at the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution today? A revolution that promises exponential changes in the way we live and work today. As we big to adopt smart technologies in our everyday lives and workplaces, these machines will start interacting with each other making changes automatically.
At moments like this, one might even imagine that business schools are becoming the sources for technology innovation, with professors eagerly waiting to master new technologies that are emerging.
Absurd as it seems, this is not what is happening today.
The business schools of today are more keen on learning and researching 20th-century management principles. To be specific, they’re engrossed in leading the band toward learning yesterday’s expertise.
Here’s an example to give a clearer picture of the subject:
“MBA programs are not the open forums advertised in admissions brochures… Business school instruction is routinely blinkered… An MBA class will consider a business issue… in isolation. Its challenges are delineated; its society-level implications are waved away. The principals’ overriding goal—profit maximization—is assumed. With mechanical efficiency, students then answer the question of how to move forward. Individual choices are abstracted into numbers or modeled as graphs…”
This was a first-hand account that was published in The New Republic by an MBA student named John Benjamin.
Sarah Murray also says, “While there is growing consensus that focusing on short-term shareholder value is not only bad for society but also leads to poor business results, much MBA teaching remains shaped by the shareholder primacy model.”
Technology has no doubt changed the way we live, but even more, it needs to change the way we work. The future is in our hands, however, if we do not take decisions seriously, we’re all going to live under fear.
The peril of the fourth industrial revolution
In its essence, the fourth industrial revolution is already playing its drama affecting almost everything. Organizations are getting connected; business strategy framework is being framed for better business outcomes. This revolution is creating a world in which firms leading the revolution are performing well. For instance, Apple, Facebook, Etsy, Airbnb, Uber, Tesla, Samsung, Spotify, Lyft, Google, Microsoft, etc. are more focused on the profits and not the goals. Such firms remain to have effective strategic leadership and management contributing to the success of the organization.
Besides this, other companies wish to continue running their businesses like the lumbering 20th century. These companies have strategies that are based on maximizing profits and carry a philosophy of control, focusing on an entirely different situation. Such strategies are becoming obsolete. It may be a good fit for the 20th century, but isn’t a good match for the current industry.
Grave situation: Good management is not so good today
In effect, what was once called “good management” or “good strategies” these firms followed in the 20th century is “not so good today.” There’s a drastic change in the world today, what may have worked earlier may not possibly work today. As a result, it couldn’t even cope with the current industry trends and the complexity of a customer-driven marketplace thus began to falter.
Yet, this so-called “good management” of yesterday is being taught in today’s business schools.
The point is, there’s a vast difference between successful firms and the unsuccessful ones. Both have access to the same technology. But is it just a matter of how one utilizes it and the kind of business strategy framework is being used to implement changes.
Firms that followed old school strategies failed to produce positive results. It is not the technology that made the difference, but the manner in which these technologies are being used, the kind of business strategies used for deployment.
Despite having individual thought leaders in business schools, not many changes were brought about in the curriculum. There is a huge gap between what is being taught in these business schools today and the ongoing changes taking place in the current job industry. It gets challenging to bring in discussion since there’s a slight speck of doubt in career, competencies, values, goals, job tenure, – the assumptions of business schools worldwide.
Going agile: The new management mainstream
There was a lack of familiarity in business schools with newer ways of how to run a business, this could be excused since the management themselves remained obscured. It was also thought that general management had less respect for management ideas that came from software developers. But this is not the case today. There has been a paradigm shift in the management and no longer remains a secret.
In the meanwhile, while business schools are churning out fresh MBA’s, others have approached learning skills by taking up business strategy certifications.
Going agile is what’s transforming the current workforce. As a result, this is a way out towards paving a pathway and future-proofing your career.