Everybody’s Business: What’s Wrong with Today’s Business Schools

By Ian I. Mitroff, Ellen S. O’Connor & Can M. Alpaslan

Business schools are one of America’s greatest inventions. They are vital to the education and training of future managers and leaders. Sadly, the invention is in serious trouble. Business schools accelerate and reinforce intellectual fragmentation, focus on the wrong units of reality, and use simplistic frameworks to understand human motivation. They compartmentalize knowledge in a narrow body of disciplines that have no explicit connection to one another and no incentives to make connections. As a result, they do not serve students, business, and society well.


Every Important Problem in Business Is a Management Problem

Business schools should teach how to manage complex, messy problems, but they don’t. Instead, the separate disciplines (Accounting, Finance, etc.) primarily teach how to tackle their own stylized exercises independently of one another. As a consequence, Management has never been recognized as the “integrating glue” that holds it all together. Little wonder why business schools are less than the product—not the sum—of their separate parts.

(A system is the product NOT the sum of its parts and interactions. The overall performance of a system is a function of the product of the performances of its parts and interactions. Thus, a perfect score of 100 on one part or interaction times zero on another results in a total systems’ score of zero.)

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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.