Post by regular contributor R Karthik:
One gets to hear it quite often when in college or b-school- "what you are going to be doing as part of your jobs is not very directly related to your course curriculum", a nd some tend to swallow this perspective. Especially if they are MBA programme entrants who have not any kind of prior work experience, so do they hook, line and sinker. Senior students who have had their summer stint in industry say "theory is altogether different from practice-concepts which we live with out here do not apply all that directly in practice in organizations" (If that only sounds like some sort of solace to the student who is scared of scores (CGPA)-unfortunately it doesn't!). Alumni interactions also drive the same point home and why, even some of the teaching faculty members hold this opinion. Out from campus, into the first job as a fresh hire your induction programme features some superb speakers (notably top managers from the organization) with whom this disregard for theory resonates so readily. So all of their sessions are not completely devoid of the "theory-oh!-it's all crap" refrain! Note that there is an increase in the degree of disdain for theory over the time-period (campus-to-corporate).
I would appreciate if the same disregard were indeed directed against academic excellence being considered as a CSA/KSF for on-the-job performance. But pitiably, some professional managers and the organizations they represent subscribe to this sacrilegious school of thought. Yes is it not somewhat blasphemous to disparage theory which feeds almost every sphere of management practice in business organizations? Proponents of theory or theory by itself does not claim superiority over practice and as a quid pro quo professionals must acknowledge that practice owes its allegiance to theory and ongoing research in different streams. While it is universally accepted that all of management theory is not practicable or applicable to real-time business scenarios, let us be thankful to what researchers and theorists have offered. Only those can be professionals in the true sense of the term, who are capable of appreciating the theoretical foundations behind every practice. I somehow can't get away without saying that I tend to look down upon those who say they don't believe in theory. It is not even fashionable to make such statements! Theory without practice has not fruit and practice without theory has no root- indeed true; isn't it?