Mary Crossan, Fernando Olivera

Management education and management practice have been anchored in functions, or what academics refer to as disciplines. The last two decades have seen phenomenal growth in the body of knowledge and associated expertise in the field of management. Drawing on disciplines such as economics, psychology and sociology, business schools developed their own acumen in areas such as finance and marketing. Faculty became experts in these areas and spawned many generations of business graduates with strong functional expertise. A general management orientation was traditionally achieved by integrative courses that drew on all functional areas. The “chinks in the armour” of this approach have been apparent for some time. The “silo mentality” of business is a direct result of this functional focus.

Before the tremendous bodies of functional knowledge emerged, the focus was on issues. The challenge today is to build on the functional knowledge without being a prisoner of it.

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