Management: Arts or Humanities or Scientific Reasoning

The first week at IIM Ahmedabad campus as PGPX student stimulates various thoughts in mind of participants. The journey has just begun and there are constant warnings about how difficult it is going to get over next couple of months before the principle of equilibrium sets in. And the famous quote from GameOfThrones,’Winter is coming’, appear very much the buzzword for the participants of one of the most academically stimulating, and technically comprehensive MBA program in the competitive MBA world across the globe.

While going through various initial sessions, I was wondering how true the fact that Management is built on the premises of humanities, art or science. In today’s world, where the human race has evolved. Nowadays, the thought of getting latest mobile brings more smile on the faces of the younger generation than that of getting a new bicycle. The feeling of being recognized technically advance may be more content among higher age managers than being called more humane, sensitive and holistic. The idea of running a competitive team is more rewarding than the thought of building a long lasting, robust and sustainable team.

Wonder, in this environment, how much of Management has remained art and humanities, and what part of it has been converted to science & mathematics driven reasoning.

Organization Behaviour: No ‘one size fits all’ approach to deal with humans, a challenge to keep the a relevant humanities facet of Management

The various courses such as organization behavior have retained the flavor of being more closer to humanities and arts. The academic material still talks about dealing with people, their perceptions, biases in day-to-day interactions and designing a communication model around the ‘complex’ human race. A lot of this subject is open to interpretation, situation dependent and subjective.

Designing Operations: Sustainable time tested methods, or short term high performin ways. A mathematical approach as ever.

Then, there are quite a number of other courses which like to talk about the past to design the future in a better and predictable manner. One such area is about designing operations to serve the demand of an organization. One may wonder whether it is possible to design an operation that is long lasting in today’s environment in which companies face uncertain future and may not really require a sustainable model. Rather, a short term competition beating operation module may draw more traction with such organizations. In fact, the related area of operations research has undergone major transformations and is not more pen-paper analysis. There are complex computer models, excel base analysis that has taken over the traditional methods of pen-paper calculations for effectiveness and sustainability analysis etc.

Marketing the product: Still an art flavour than the science or mathematics.

Moving on, there are various opportunities in the marketing landscape. Even in this area, the traditional wisdom may tend to defy the conventions. Who could have imagined that roping in a leading celebrity in movies could have backfired entire marketing campaign of a company? The information accessibility, connected generations through twitter/facebook has made it possible to blow a minor glitch out of proportion and bring down the entire marketing strategies for a company. The not-so-late fiasco of Snapdeal marketing based on leading Bollywood actor is an example of the kind of challenges companies face. Another change is the marketing is seen by toothpaste making companies that adopted hard lines against desi ways of cleaning teeth until the early 2000s. They are forced to bring out herbal products, an approach that seems inconsistent with their past strategy. This is one area which appears to have retained the art flavor over scientific evaluations and requires coming up with more appealing approach than just the scientifically correct ways. The best thing I heard about Marketing was, nobody is a genius in marketing, and nobody is dumb here! We all lie in the middle of normal distributions hovering around mean+/-1StandardDeviation :-).

Come what may, the journey has just begun and here we stand solid as the rock! There will be many sleepless nights, winds challenging self-belief, screams of helplessness. However,  mettle will prevail ultimately!!

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