Why study Management?

Management as an academic field of study offers a number of insights into many organizational aspects of our daily lives. Consequently, several reasons explain why we may want to study this topic.

The first reason for studying management is that we all have a vested interest in improving the way organizations are managed. We interact with them every day of our lives. Does it frustrate you when you have to spend a couple of hours in a Department of Motor vehicles office to get your driver’s license renewed? Are you perplexed when none of the sales people in a department store seem interested in helping you? Does it surprise you when a major corporation that everyone thought was thriving suddenly declares bankruptcy? Are you angered when you call airline men three times and its representatives quote you three different prices for the same trip? As a taxpayer, doesn’t it seem as if something is wrong when you read about companies that have over billed the federal government for defense related equipment? These types of problems can largely be attributed to poor management. Organizations that are well managed such as Infosys Technologies, Nicholas Piramal India Ltd., ICICI bank, Hindustan Lever, and the TVS group of companies develop a loyal constituency, grow, and prosper. Those that are poorly managed often find themselves with a declining customer base and reduced revenues. Eventually, the survival of poorly managed organizations becomes threatened. For instance, Metal Box, Bata India, Hindustan Antibiotics, Dunlop India, and the textile mills in Mumbai were once thriving corporations. They employed tens of thousands of people and provided goods and services on a daily basis to hundreds of thousands of customers. But weak management did them in. Today those companies no longer exist.

The second reason for studying management is that once you graduate from college and begin your career, you will either manage or be managed. For those who plan on careers in management, an understanding of the management process forms the foundation upon which to build their management skills, but it would be naive to assume that everyone who studies management is planning a career in management. A course in management may only be a requirement for a desired degree, but that needn’t make the study of management irrelevant. Assuming that you will have to work for a living and that you will almost certainly work in an organization, you will be a manager or work for a manager. You can gain a great deal of insight into the way your boss behaves and the internal workings of organizations by studying management. The point is that you needn’t aspire to be a manager to gain something valuable from a course in management.

It’s important to put whole topic of studying management into a proper perspective. That’s because management as a field does not exist in isolation. Rather, it embodies the work and practices of individuals from a wide variety of disciplines.

How does Management Relate to other disciplines?

College courses frequently appear to be independent bodies of knowledge. Too often, what is taught in one course is frequently not linked to past or future courses. As a result, many students don’t see some vital connections and linkages in their courses work, especially in many businesses curriculums. A lack of connectedness is often evident between core business courses and between courses in business and the liberal arts. Accounting classes, for instance, typically make little reference to marketing; and marketing classes typically make little reference to course in economies or political science. College curriculums often resemble group of silos, with each silo representing a separate and distinct discipline.

A number of management educators do recognize the need to build bridges between these silos by integrating courses across the college curriculum.

The big picture is often lost when management concepts are studied in isolation. By adding this cross disciplinary perspective, you will gain a greater appreciation of how general education courses are useful to students of management, which in turn can help you to be a more effective manager.