The rapid evolution of management knowledge has enabled organizations to marshal geographically distributed human, physical and financial resources more effectively than at any time previously. New approaches to organizing, decision making and communicating have been central to these developments and are as important to raising standards of living as progress in science and computer technology.
Managers fill a variety of roles and functions to coordinate to accomplish organizational purposes. Processes such as decision making are essential in all organizations, including businesses, government agencies and nonprofit groups. Since managers work with and through individuals, small groups and whole organizations, students developing a concentration in management will benefit from increasing their understanding of human behavior, including behavior grounded in cultures others than their own.
Managers draw on analytical tools and theory from a variety of disciplines that provide diverse intellectual tools for understanding, predicting, allocating and controlling. A well-designed program in management will include learning grounded in several academic disciplines (e.g., economics, psychology, sociology and mathematics) that will hone such tools.
Management is important in a variety of institutional settings, from educational to penal to social services. As an academic focus, management is both an area within business and public administration, and a body of knowledge that transcends institutional settings.
Students pursuing careers in business or public institutions may wish to choose between a management concentration and a business administration or public administration concentration, which maintain separate guidelines. These two concentrations, within their respective institutional settings (business or public sector), require broader preparation than a management concentration:
- Business administration and public administration presume preparation in a wide variety of subject areas, one of which is management.
- Management concentrations include more management studies than business administration concentrations, but not as many studies in such areas as accounting and finance.
Note: The terms "management" or "manager" are used in the private sector. "Administration" or "administrator" are the comparable terms used in the public sector.
In developing proposed educational plans leading to the award of a bachelor's degree with a concentration in management, it is recommended that students consider educational preparation in three broad areas:
- Specialized body of management theory, concepts and frameworks that constitute the common body of management knowledge.
For teaching and learning about management, this knowledge has been organized in at least four primary ways:
- The time or historical approach traces influences on management thought and the accretion of management knowledge that can be taught, learned and practiced. Examples of studies examining historical perspectives are history of management thought and the history of business.
- The units of analysis approach organizes management knowledge around four levels that managers commonly deal with: the individual (psychology), small groups/cliques (social psychology), whole organizations (sociology, economics) and organization-environment (sociology, economics). Examples of studies examining this approach are organizational behavior and organizational development and change.
- The functional approach organizes management knowledge around functions that decision makers engage in at all levels of an organization. An elemental list of such functions includes, at a minimum, planning, organizing and controlling. Examples of studies examining this approach are management concepts and principles of management.
- The approach through roles that managers fill (such as disturbance handler, figurehead and leader) is a relatively recent way of organizing management knowledge. Examples of studies examining this approach are leadership, conflict resolution, communications and decision making.
- In planning his or her program, a student should consider studying about the institutional setting (business, government, education, religious) in which they are most likely to manage. Institution-specific knowledge (such as the history and development of the institution, specialized vocabulary, customers/clients, legal environment and defining events) all contribute to managerial effectiveness. For example, students expecting to manage in the public sector may choose to include studies of political science. Government or public finance might be more appropriate to study than corporate finance for management students expecting to enter (or continue working in) the public sector.
- Students will be well served by incorporating both breadth and depth in their programs. Disciplinary knowledge will assist students in understanding general theory and concepts that will be valuable in managing effectively both within and among organizations. Such knowledge provides a body of analytical concepts and approaches that will:
- Assist a manager in identifying opportunities.
- Develop and evaluate alternatives.
- Recognize and resolve major problems that commonly arise.
- Communicate ideas effectively.
Appropriate studies from broad areas of knowledge, such as those listed below, will provide breadth in learning as well as a solid foundation in relevant disciplinary theory, concepts and frameworks that may prove helpful in understanding and applying organizational and management concepts.
The areas of knowledge:
- Communications (e.g., oral communication, writing and language).
- Humanities (e.g., literature, philosophy, the arts).
- Mathematics (e.g., college math, algebra, statistics, calculus).
- Science (e.g., life sciences such as biology and physics).
- Social sciences (e.g., anthropology, economics, history, psychology, sociology).
- Technology (e.g., history of technology, forecasting, computing).
Integration Of Organizational Knowledge
In general, students concentrating on business management will be well served by acquiring knowledge of all, or most, of the areas designated for business administration.
- One or more of these areas should be emphasized, depending on a student’s background and interests.
- Management students should include several additional studies in management, such as organization theory, human resource management, labor relations and/or strategic management to ensure they have acquired substantial knowledge of management theories and their application.