Mar 8, 2005

Management - A profession or a discipline?

Nitin Nohria, Rakesh Khurana and Daniel Prenice have taken a fresh look at the debate, is Business Management a profession, according to HBS working knowledge.

My answer: No, it's a discipline. It is not something you can get certified on, or tested on. Management is so context specific that a successful manager can be a spectacular failure when he/she moves across functions and/or companies/industries.

I mean, if there is a certification for managers, what would the curriculum be? B Schools rarely agree in the curriculum in totality and there are fresh calls for the rehaul of the MBA program by people like Mintzberg, Tom Peters, Seth Godin and others.

People get into management from various streams of careers, from technical careers, from research, from shop floors, from academics - without an MBA , and of course after an MBA also.

So what would a certification of management possibly cover? It can at best be generic ...

What I would agree with is a certification of board members. There has to be country specific regulation and certification as to who can get into the board of directors of an organization.

What do you think?