Matthew Stewart blows the lid off the MBA; he suggests a degree in philosophy might be more useful (and insightful).
The strange thing about my utter lack of education in management was that it didn’t seem to matter. As a principal and founding partner of a consulting firm that eventually grew to 600 employees, I interviewed, hired, and worked alongside hundreds of business-school graduates, and the impression I formed of the M.B.A. experience was that it involved taking two years out of your life and going deeply into debt, all for the sake of learning how to keep a straight face while using phrases like “out-of-the-box thinking,” “win-win situation,” and “core competencies.”
He’s not a big fan of Taylorism or any of its successors, either.
Mayo’s work sheds light on the dark side of the “humanist” tradition in management theory. There is something undeniably creepy about a clipboard-bearing man hovering around a group of factory women, flicking the lights on and off and dishing out candy bars. All of that humanity—as anyone in my old firm could have told you—was just a more subtle form of bureaucratic control. It was a way of harnessing the workers’ sense of identity and well-being to the goals of the organization, an effort to get each worker to participate in an ever more refined form of her own enslavement.
But of course, there IS a purpose to MBA programs. Read the article to find out what.
Update (16 April). David Glenn blows the whistle on B-School in the Chronicle. Cheese it, you guys! Keep writing this kind of stuff, our business is gonna dry up.