Management And Accounting Web

Mintzberg, H. 2004. Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Note by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida

Education Issues Main Page | Management Theory Main Page

According to Mintzberg, "Conventional MBA programs train the wrong people in the wrong ways with the wrong consequences."

"Management is where art and craft and science meet," and most MBA programs simply provide "training in analytical skills for analytical jobs… like investment banking and consulting."

Whatever you do, don’t confuse an MBA with a license to manage. "If people want to be managers, there’s a better route to it: get into an industry, know it, prove yourself, get promoted into a managerial position-and then, go to a program that uses managerial experience explicitly-not other people’s cases, but your own experience."

Ricardo Semler proposes that the jury is still out on whether management constitutes a science, but Mintzberg counters emphatically: "There are no natural surgeons. But there are all kinds of natural managers, people who are hugely successful and never spent a day in management class. It’s not a science or a profession. It’s a practice."

Mintzberg recommends a "natural managerial program," where soft skills and ethical approaches blend imperceptibly with analysis. "The idea you can parachute in and manage anything is absolute nonsense."

See Mintzberg on U-Tube for a video about this book and many others.

Also see Mintzberg, H. 2014. Rebalancing Society: Radical Renewal Beyond Left, Right, and Center.


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Johnson, H. T. 1992. Relevance Regained: From Top-Down Control to Bottom-up Empowerment. The Free Press. (Summary).

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