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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Management As A Profession

According to this Harvard article If management was a licensed profession on a par with law or medicine, there might be fewer opportunities for corporate bad guys.The authors write, To speak of the professional obligations of individuals such as CEOs and other executives is to imply that business management itself is a profession— but is it Our criteria for calling an occupation a bona fide profession are as follows:
• a common body of knowledge resting on a well-developed, widely accepted theoretical base;
• a system for certifying that individuals possess such knowledge before being licensed or otherwise allowed to practice;
• a commitment to use specialized knowledge for the public good, and a renunciation of the goal of profit maximization, in return for professional autonomy and monopoly power;
• a code of ethics, with provisions for monitoring individual compliance with the code and a system of sanctions for enforcing it.

My Take: The authors suppose that if management were a licensed profession, there may be fewer opportunities for unethical folks.This doesn't seem like an entirely bad idea to me, but I just don't see how it can work in practice.No body is an expert to start with. They need lots of coaching before they become good managers, and lots of practice before they become excellent managers.There may be challenges in licensed professionals working at different levels. Any license/accredition need to come up with an obligation to continually update skills.It is very telling that , MBAs are the least likely to pursue continuing education- I think that virtually anybody may end up with management responsibilities.It may be a good idea to get senior-level managers/executives,to get on board.As good faith for stakeholders,this may serve as as an incentive for younger managers.The focus and thrust should be in measurable continual education.

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