The four paradigms of business policy throw light on how the discipline has developed over the years. The story does not seem to end here. The approaches and methods of analyzing business processes have not yet coalesced into a theory of how to manage the show. But certain visible trends revealing how strategic issues get resolved can be outlined thus (Christensen et al).
Top management Prerogative: Business policy puts lot of emphasis on top management functions and responsibilities such as defining objectives, specifying action plans, providing direction to enterprise activities, ensuring control, balancing the concerns of internal and external groups and ensuring the success of a firm in a changing environment.
General Management Bias: Business policy tries to look at the jungle rather than the trees. Instead of examining issues from a functional angle, policy makers tend to view all key issues from a broader perspective –i.e. assessing the overall impact of a decision on the entire business. This, of course involves choosing a right path, keeping organizational capabilities and environmental pressures in the background.
Resource Focus: Business policy is chiefly concerned with the mobilization of various resources in order to achieve the goals of an enterprise in an effective way in the face of severe competition or adverse circumstances.
Business policy tries to underscore the importance of environmental impacts on organizations and the need for top management to come out with appropriate responses. As things stand now, the most important factor in assessing organizational effectiveness is not efficiency but adaptability to environmental challenges.
Covers a Large Territory: Business policy and Strategic management cover lot of ground now a days. Barring some differences in applications especially in non profit ventures these courses find ready acceptance in small businesses , public sector enterprises and other types of non business organizations.
The Indian Scenario
Management education received a big boost in the early 60s after the setting of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Administrative Staff College of India. IIMs structured their curriculum along the lines followed in reputed American Business schools. The case method of study (as followed in Harvard business school) was an important pedagogical tool employed in IIM, Ahmedabad all these years. Several university departments, meanwhile have started the Masters in Business Administrative (MBA) programs at various locations throughout the country. After the opening up to the Indian economy in early 90s, the All India Council for Management Education (AICTE) was set up to provide proper direction to the growth of management education, The Business Policy and Strategic Management course has gained wider acceptance as an integrative discipline in over 1500 management institutes that have come up in the recent pass (1990 – 2003). A number of doctoral and post doctoral studies have also been undertaken with a view to enrich the knowledge in this area especially with a clear focus on Indian companies. A professional association called Strategic Management Form of Indian has also been formed in 1996 – which is exclusively devoted to the development of issues relating to strategic management. A number of publications covering the concepts, techniques and case studies relating to business policy and strategic management have also gone up impressively especially after the 90s, such as Strategic Marketing, Business Standards Strategist etc.
Objectives of Business Policy Course
The business policy course is offered in various management institutes to serve three important purposes:
1) Integrate the knowledge and methods learned in previous courses having a functional flavor such as production, finance, marketing, accounting etc.
2) Develop analytical skills and decision making capabilities of participants through the extensive use of ease, research reports industry specific studies micro and macro economic data.
3) Promote positive attitudes genuine ethical values and healthy ways of thinking, taking a holistic view of the concerns of internal as well as external stakeholders of the organizations.