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Letter to the editor: Management theory and its application

Letter to the editor: Management theory and its application

You can’t teach management, you need to experience it...

Posted

12 March 2009

You can’t teach management, you need to experience it…

In response to Times article, ‘Goodbye to glib gurus and their gobbledegook’, Mannie Sher, Principal Consultant at the Tavistock Institute writes:

Sir, Andrew Billen states that management theory is a jargon-filled sham (Times, Mar 9). For nearly 80 years the Tavistock Institute has researched group, organisational and community behaviours and their relation to leadership and followership dynamics. It has never found that leadership or management can be ‘taught’, despite the appeal of contemporary theories. Teachers of management theory and their eager students will always reduce them to meaningless clich’s and soundbites.The critical gap in management training is in the area of experience ‘ how managers can be helped to use past and current experience to take up their roles more effectively in future. Gaining knowledge from ‘experience’ involves struggle and application, not swallowing well-crafted theories designed by others. Experience of leadership and management roles soon enough informs one of the basic assumptions of group and organisational life that are often hidden and waiting to be discovered. Optimum leadership and management training simply cannot by-pass taking a mirror to dynamics and facing them in all their aspects, good and bad.

Yours, etc.,

Mannie Sher

Principal Consultant, Organisational Development & Change
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations
30 Tabernacle Street
London EC2A 4UE
Tel: 0207 417 0407

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