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This week in Management 300 a lot of key decisions had to be made, from take-overs to marketing budgets, and product development. What came across my mind as these decisions where being made however, was the effective administration our team leader has been providing throughout our time together. He has given us all a level of autonomy, whilst still bringing the team together to collaborate on decisions. This week’s reading focussed on effective management, and how some question whether what we learn in theory and formal training is relevant to the ‘real world’. In MGMT 300, most of what we learn comes from our experience in the teamwork, and this makes me question whether or not learning management theory is crucial to becoming an effective manager.

In short the problem I focussed on this week was, is management theory useful?

Over my short two years at university I’ve come to question myself a lot on weather what I’ve learned in theory is important for me in the real world. Whenever I cram for an exam the classic ‘when will I ever use this again’ thought comes around. Whilst I understand learning is a lifetime process, is learning about 100 year old theories that are so outdated and redundant important? Davies and Easterby-Smith (1984), showed that managers tended to regard theories as learning, not developing. Developing is clearly much more important than learning, usually a deeper level of learning is a result of developing. People need to develop to adapt and survive, and whilst people can learn, it takes special circumstances to develop. Katz (1995) backs this theory by explaining that executive development programs generally offer unfavourable results. Once again explaining that practical experience i.e. developing is much more worthwhile than memorising theory.

Taking these two articles into consideration it becomes clear than there is rarely a place for theory to be an effective manager. Moreover it seems effective manager’s develop from their experiences within an organisation. This brings me back to the group work many courses other than MGMT 300 offer, it seems as though the university is aware there is a place for theory but equally as important is the experiences and development we gain from university.  

1 Comment

  1. Hi Ed,

    I think the questions you raise are valuable and are on a lot of students minds. I'm not sure whether I would consider your reflection as being focussed on a problem; it seems more focussed on a question. You may have just had a mind block and struggled to put together a coherent reflection journal that follows the pattern of learning and analysis encouraged in the course. However if not, my understanding is that each week we are encouraged to identify a challenge or program we are facing as a team or an individual, articulate it clearly, consider any theory from the course or elsewhere that is relevant, then propose a number of practical ways of addressing and overcoming the challenge. Developing this habit increases our capacity to learn and improve our contributions to the process. 

    All the best bro!