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A Foundation Expresses Its Interest In Higher Education

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Summary Of Activities Designed To Strengthen Business Education

Other programs are in process of development as the Foundation continues its attack on the problems of business education. Let me summarize what has been done to date. Through 1959, a total of $14.5 million was allocated to strengthen business education. Through the programs described above, these funds were committed to achieve the following ends:

  • Strengthening the quality and increasing the output of doctoral programs in business administration. Increasing the number of qualified teachers of business administration is certainly a key to over-all improvement in the field.
  • Promotion of a research orientation in schools of business administration by providing research funds for promising work on significant problems by faculty members. Research funds were incorporated in the doctoral support grants and research funds were made available to several additional institutions that had demonstrated research potential.
  • Promotion of effective curriculum revision. Regular curriculum study and revision is recognized as a normal activity of any live institution, to be supported as a regular item of its own operating budget. The Foundation has, however, encouraged and supported institutions which have undertaken unusually extensive curriculum revision after initial work using their own funds, such as at the Wharton School, Columbia, and Northwestern.
  • Integration of the social and behavioral sciences with the teaching of business administration. This has been done in part of enabling schools of business to bring social scientists to their faculties and in part of offering fellowships for business faculty members to expand their knowledge of methodology in the social sciences.
  • Promotion of the application of quantitative methods to both teaching and research in business administration.
  • Dissemination of information of new developments in business administration.

The Image Of The Business Administration School Of The Future

In the midst of these activities, how may one view the present status of business education? In what directions does it appear to be moving? What image of the future school of business administration may be gleaned?

Although it cannot be expected that any large number of institutions will actually liquidate their undergraduate business programs, it is likely that graduate programs will expand more rapidly than, and possibly at the expense of, undergraduate programs.

The excessive proliferation of specialized courses in business administration appears to have been halted, and the curriculum of the future should have fewer courses and these are expected to be of a more fundamental nature. The subject areas of the 1958 New Developments Seminar—quantitative method methods, industrial management and production, and communication theory and organization behavior—give clues to the broad subject areas that might be included in the typical curriculum of the future. Quantitative methods, for example, might replace separate courses in accounting, statistics, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, quality control, recording, and operations research. At least, let us hope that we shall have seen the last of such college credit courses as drug store accounting and basic radio announcing.

Concurrently, the application of mathematical techniques to problems of business administration may be expected to become more widespread. Indeed, one might say that something approaching a technological revolution in business research is already in progress.

Some skeptics have looked upon such developments as an attempt to have the machine replace the executive in actual decision-making. This is, in my opinion, little short of nonsense. The basic decisions will still be made by men.

Thomas J. Watson, Jr., IBM president, has put it this way, "In this electronic age, man must still do the creative thinking. The calculating machine can help rearrange thought, but it can not speculate." The objective is to provide the executive with a greater amount of reliable data more quickly and in more readily usable form.

(Reprinted from the Journal of the Academy of Management, Thomas Carroll, Vol. 2, No. 3. (Dec., 1959), pp. 155-165)

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