Ackoff on Business Schools

Russel Ackoff about business schools. His thoughts fit into my exploration of human friendly organizations as one of several clues. In fact we cannot discuss how to make organizations more human friendly without also deconstructing the mental models of our education systems. I hope things have started to shift in business schools since this was written, but I have to admit that I see very little evidence of it.

"I have ‘‘endeared’’ myself to some faculty and business schools by identifying the three things that business schools do for students. First, they provide students with a vocabulary that enables them to talk with authority about subjects they do not understand. Second, they transmit to them a set of principles that have demonstrated an ability to withstand any amount of disconfirming evidence. Third, they provide a ticket of admission to a job where they can learn something about management and business. Around 95 percent of what managers use on the job they learned on the job. The most they get out of business school is connections. Attendance at a business is justified economically in terms of return on investment, but not in terms of providing an education."

(Quote from STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP, VOL. 31 NO. 3 2003, pp. 19-26, MCB UP Limited, ISSN 1087-8572)


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