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"Nothing good is ever easy".  I can't remember who first said this to me, whether they made it up or quoted it off a movie, but I find it comes back to me time and time again when I am faced with obstacles on the way to something good.  In a way this course reflects this mantra, the last obstacle before the final good of graduation after 4 years of seemingly endless papers.  Not that I haven't enjoyed university, I merely find it is (at times) difficult, however I don't see 'difficult' and 'enjoyable' as being mutually exclusive.

Needless to say I found it a little bit nerve-racking to read Davies and Easterby-Smith's (1984) essay on learning and development when it suggested that formal management training may not be of as much use as we think it is - at least compared to on-the-job experience.  Being a management major I couldn't help but wonder if this formal education is not going to get me anywhere, then what's the point?  Though this was hardly breaking news, as I'm sure many of us have questioned the validity of our degree at some point during our university lives.  Instead what I found most interesting about the Davies and Easterby-Smith's (1984) essay was the concept of novelty, and how facing it is possibly the best way for managers to develop.

In novel situations, Davies and Easterby-Smith (1984) say, our old learned behaviours are inadequate, and we must learn new ways to deal with the situation at hand.  This is exactly how I felt when I was first put into a group and plunged into the relentlessly intricate simulation that is MikesBikes.  Nothing I had learnt before seemed to be any use in this case, and 'novel' was definitely a good way to describe it (though during the early weeks of the course it probably wasn't my first choice of word to describe MikesBikes…).  By adapting to the situation - and adapting well, might I add - we developed and grew because we were faced with novel problems which were difficult enough to hold our interest yet rewarding enough to motivate us.

Finally, after 4 rollovers and being the only team in our industry running at a loss after rollover 2, we've scored first spot in our market for our SHV.  I know the game doesn't end here, and I don't mention this because I want to show how excellent our team is, I mention this because we have tried so hard and put extensive effort in to reach this 'good'.  Had we been a team whom were all MikesBikes-savvy at the start this small victory would not have been as sweet -  it would have been expected.  As it goes, I feel that we have succeeded despite our slow beginnings due to the effort we've put in and sheer determination - which, I'm slowly learning, gets you further than you think.  Perhaps it's the difficulty of these novel situations that make the 'good'  just that.

 

Reference

Davies, J., & Easterby-Smith, M. (1984). Learning and developing from managerial work experiencesJournal of Management Studies, 21(2), 169-182. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6486.1984.tb00230.x

2 Comments

  1. Hi Beth,

    I really enjoyed your learning journal. I found that you really reflected on your experiences using the readings extremely well.I thought you chose one idea of novelty and ran with it very effectively. You also combined your own thoughts and feelings and the formality of the reading very successfully. I think this is important as a lot of the learning journals i have read so far struggle to do so! Your writing was also very clear and easy to follow.

    The only thing i could possibly suggest to improve your learning journal is to make some parts of the structure you folllowed more explicit and stated. However i only say this because it was in the instructions to the journal. I found your learning journal one of the most reflective i have read and i think you have done this without following one of the suggested structures so whether you use a structure or not is up to you i personally think. The only other thing i could say is perhaps you could of talked about the readings just slightly more and maybe critique what the readings say in relation to your own experiences, perhaps by even disagreeing with the readings?

    Overall your journal was great so keep it up!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this journal piece. You have an excellent writing style that is to the point but yet personal. You definitely achieved what Daudelin mentioned about being introspective- looking within when reflecting. You also followed her structure by stating the problem (that university may really be useless) and connecting it to the theory well, showing off the fact that you are heading up and up in Bloom's taxonomy of the stages of learning! I would have like to see a more explicitly stated ACTION sentence at the end... what does it all mean? maybe... that your philosophy of hard work is what you will stick to in the future in development (that may not be that useful) and beyond. These are the makings of an excellent journal and I really felt that you grasped the meanings of the readings and applied it to your own situation- impressive!!