A Research Companion
Edited by Mustafa F. Özbilgin and Ayala Malach-Pines
Yehuda Baruch and John Blenkinsopp INTRODUCTION The highly competitive nature of current labor markets leads people to strive to gain skills, competencies and qualiﬁcations that will make them better leaders and managers – in academic terms, they seek to develop their human capital (Becker, 1964). Human capital theory (Becker, 1964) suggests the labor market rewards, either directly or indirectly, the investments that individuals make in themselves. Further, it is claimed that such investments can result in increased opportunities (Becker et al., 1990) and actual career progress, for both mid-level managers and top executives (Baruch et al., 2005; Judge et al., 1995). There is clear evidence to suggest that investments in human capital may be translated into economic wealth (Baruch and Peiperl, 2000; Baruch et al., 2005; Becker et al., 1990). People seek to make an investment that will yield the best return. Societies, via labor markets, value and reward certain occupations over others, and managerial positions are among the more desired ones. One way to reach managerial roles or to progress faster on managerial ladders is by studying business and management. Gaining a ﬁrst degree or second degree is the typical route for this, and the Master in Business Administration (MBA) remains the ﬂagship of business education. Whether the MBA remains the ‘right tool for the job’ for business and management is widely debated – there has been signiﬁcant criticism of the entire MBA concept and its contribution, with prominent scholars questioning its value and relevance (Bennis and O’Toole, 2005;...
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