Can Managers be Taught to Manage?

International Journal of Applied Management Education and Development (ISSN: 1742-2639) Volume 1 Issue 1

Daniel O’Hare, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Key Words
Philosophical debate, teaching methodology, holistic approach to managent education and development, competency approach.


This paper seeks to broaden the debate into the differing philosophical areas of teaching managers to manage and how best these managers can be educated and developed, in order to achieve and maintain a high level of competence. This high level of competence is not only applicable and desirable in private enterprises, but also in public service industries in addition to the voluntary sector.
In this section many aspects of philosophical positions are examined and critiqued with the intention of gaining a depth of insight into the multifaceted nature of this complex area.

Machiavelli wrote-It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order.

The tenor of discussion contained in this article will not attempt to initiate a new order of things, but simply examine the philosophy of teaching managers to manage. However, subsequent input denotes a best practice model and a number of recommendations in persuance of a ‘new order’.

In the year 2003, many questions remain unanswered in the field of management education and development. Does the UK stumble on as it has done in the past, fine tuning pragmatic Darwinian approaches to management education and development, or alternatively become vigorously pro-active in determining a national strategy concerning the education of managers? Does the country indeed accept a current fragmented adhocracy and maintenance of the status quo?

Perhaps a more structured progression will emanate from the following strategic activity.
A government-sponsored inquiry, under the chairmanship of Sir Antony Cleaver, addressed these issues over a two-year period and completed deliberations in May 2002. The inquiry concentrated on national management education and development matters. Findings of this report were published in October 2002 and the UK Government duly responded in the same month. The report was named ‘Raising Our Game.’ This paper contains details of the report and Government response, in addition to the author’s views on the proposed activities and intended direction of management education and development in the UK.

Whilst recognising the importance of many of the subject areas covered in this wide-ranging inquiry, this section will discuss the wide-ranging philosophical arguments for and against the differing concepts of management education and development in addition to the relationship of the learning developmental process to the workplace.
It is also part intention of , in discussing the philosophy of management education and development, to demonstrate that one of the key factors in gaining competitive sustainable organisational advantage, is to have a very clear sighted, high quality, human resource management education/development strategy. This strategy, if it is to be successful in the long term, encompassing not only the mechanistic formulaic competencies required within organisations, but also the much more difficult areas to teach of social responsibility and high standards of moral and ethical behaviour.

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