Management Spotlight: Henry Mintzberg

Renowned author of business and management books, Professor Henry Mintzberg is considered to be one of the leading thinkers of modern management today.

A prolific writer, with over a dozen books to his name, Mintzberg specialist management topic is business strategy. However, his first book ‘The Nature of Managerial Work’ was published in 1973, coming from his PhD work, and is regarded as rare in that it discusses the work managers actually do, not what its considered they should do.

Most people looking for the ultimate in management training courses consider the MBA as pinnacle. Not Mintzberg, he’s been an outspoken critic of the MBA for some time, and with his colleagues has developed an alternative – the International Masters Program in Practicing Management (IMPM).

In an interview with Thinkers 50, he commented:

“Basically my objection is that MBA programs claim to be creating managers and they are not.
The MBA is really about business, which would be fine except that people leave these programs thinking they’ve been trained to do management. I think every MBA should have a skull and crossbones stamped on their forehead and underneath should be written “Warning; not prepared to manage”.

And the issue is not just that they are not trained to manage, but that they are given a totally wrong impression of what managing is; namely decision-making by analysis. The impression they get from what they’ve studied is that people skills don’t really matter.

So they come out with this distorted view. I’ve seen it over and over again where people have MBAs and go into managerial positions and don’t know what they are doing. So basically they write reports and plans and do all sorts of information processing things and pretend that it’s management. It’s killing organisations, and I think it’s getting worse over time.”