Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Keith Townsend and Gabriele Suder
We all went through the B-schools when we were young and the professors had all the answers on the blackboards, computer printouts, and reading assignments. Everything was so clean and precise. The problems in the accounting and quantitative courses always had logical answers. Even the principles of management and policy courses had structure and form, citing the five functions a manager performs or the three steps of strategic planning. The same is true of the management development programs I have attended over the years. The trainer has all the answers to my problems – one, two, three. But I’m here to tell you it really isn’t like that. My day consists of running from one meeting to the next, fielding questions from my internal staff and outsiders, trying to respond to telephone messages, trying to smooth over an argument between a couple of people, and keeping my ever higher in-basket from toppling down on top of me. In fact, I feel guilty that I’m not doing the things that the management educators, trainers, and the things I read say I should be doing. When I come out of one of these sessions, or after reading the latest management treatise, I’m eager to do it. Then the first phone call from an irate customer, or a new project with a rush deadline, falls on me, and I’m back in the same old rut. (Luthans et al., 1988, pp. 27–8)
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