Business Management as a Professional Designation

Professionals’ Current Challenges

 

There is a shortage of ‘all rounded’ Management Professionals

  • Accounting, Law, Engineering and Medicine are all existing recognized professional bodies
  • These professions all have their own respective solid concepts , framework and their associated tools
  • These professionals are able to provide consistent expert advices in their specialty

However, management professionals have to learn wide variety of business subjects and each respective subject has its own set of theories that are not meant to integrate together. Therefore, management professionals often find integrating and consolidating their management practices a challenge.

The truth is: There is still lack of world-wide recognized professional designation in Business management. It is largely due to its multi-disciplinary nature, overly dynamic environmental factors, capability-performance assessment, unclear problem definitions, hidden problems etc.

Unlike some professional disciplines, such as Accounting, Finance, Law, Engineering, Medical science etc., business management has not yet had its professional designations, let alone its explicit professional frameworks, guidelines, well-defined requirements of capabilities and effective means of assessment.

 
Background – Management Professionalism

With 20 years of extensive experiences in education and corporate management, the specialists from the Institute of Business Engineers (IBEr) realize that numerous ‘Professional Management’ programs offered in the market have not attained the goal of delivering a genuine ‘Management Professionalism’ in their course contents and some of the controversies are as follows:

  • In the academic arena, it is still indistinct as to whether Management is a form of Art or Science.
  • In practical work environment, the effectiveness of corporation’s ‘Scientific Management’ methods has yet been questioned.
  • There is a substantial variance in management abilities among those with professional management qualifications and those who have gained management skills through practical work experiences.
  • When encountering similar business difficulties, there is also a wide discrepancy in terms of strategic analysis and solution formulation among professionals.
 
The root causes of these controversies
  • There is a proverb “All Roads Lead to Rome”, meaning that there are various means of reaching the same goal. For example, if the organization’s objective is to increase profitability; some managers may opt to increase capital spending to capitalize on higher profit, whilst other managers may consider a cut in spending.
  • There is a fundamental difference between Management and Natural Science. Scientific laws, e.g. gravity, will always remain consistent throughout time. As for business management, the practices that have been proven successful in the past may be left obsolete in future.
  • There are countless variables affecting management decisions and frequently, the complexity makes business matters more perplexing for managers.
 
Advocacy of Management Professionalism

After understanding these controversies above, should we still choose to ignore the existing phenomena? The answer is obvious. We believe that there is a substantial worth in establishing a management profession and encouraging management executives to adhere to ‘Management Professionalism’.

  • We should contemplate how professionals, e.g. accountants, engineers and medical doctors, realize their professions.
  • Genuine professionalism entails professionals to possess parallel judgment and reach similar conclusions when facing with same problems. For example, in an attempt to cure a patient, different doctors will likely reach similar judgment in terms of the methods of diagnosing and curing the patient and there should be little variance among them.
  • Contemporary management practices lack ‘Professionalism’ due to the lack of standardization of practices.
  • We aspire to assist managers to attain the corresponding ‘Professionalism’ through our Business Engineering approach and system.
 
Why we don’t have “Management Profession” in the Past?

The causes for the lack of ‘Management Profession’:

  • Accountants have a set of accounting principles to adhere to; Engineers have to comply with certain theories of physics and mathematics; Lawyers have to follow the legal systems of Common Law or the Basic Law. However in the realm of management, there is a lack of a standardized framework and principles for managers to adhere to and as a result, it is hard for managers to make sound and rational judgments and decisions.
  • Past management practices are stagnant at operational level and place too much emphasis on technicality.
  • The practices adopted also heavily focus on qualitative approaches thus lacking the objectivity of quantitative measures.
Viewing current Management Profession from the Perspectives of Education and Training

Business related education and training have been flourishing since mid-20th century. The three main classes of programs offered by institutions include: Management courses, Professional courses and Management Training related courses.

At present, an intriguing phenomenon is seen in Management Education and Training: the methods of knowledge delivery have been enhancing rapidly due to technological advancement. However, the educational content is still lagging behind. The reason for the occurrence of this phenomenon is that business education has merely improved on technique delivery but failed to advance on the educational content to keep abreast with the changing external environment. The educational content for various EMBA and MBA programs are strikingly similar, the difference is merely their marketing means to target different audiences.

There are also successful management professionals who have not been educated or trained academically. This poses the question of whether Management is a systematic school of ‘Science’ or a free flow school of ‘Art’.


Viewing current Management Professionalism from Commercial Perspectives

The application of management theories to commercial organizations has always been a tremendous challenge for managers.

Every now and then, some FADs and fashion trends of management theories and techniques appear in the realm of management. From the 70s we saw the emergence of TQM and QCC theories to the evolvement of numerous recent theories, including ERP, Entrepreneurial IT, Balanced Scorecards etc. However, they have not yet been able to alter a fundamental reality: most entrepreneurs and managers are still not satisfied with the performance of their employees.

We believe that these theories are valuable to resolve short-term and ad-hoc problems, e.g. ‘Stop-Gap measures’. However, more is required for forecasting the future and formulating strategies to sustain future growth. Moreover, there are countless aspects in managing a corporation including finance, production, marketing, information management and it is a definite challenge to have full control and excel in all these business functions. Additionally, in practical business sense, a holistic corporate view should be considered. Majority of management theories are based themselves on large corporations, adapting facts and figures from these large corporations. It may be therefore unrealistic to generalize what has been learnt and to feasibly apply to all organizations of different scales, capacities and industries.

Genuine Management Professionalism

The so-called management professions today are not eligible to attain ‘Management Professionalism’ both in the spheres of education and business in practice. So, the question is “how can we attain the eligibility of being “Management Professionalism?”

Genuine ‘Management Professionalism’ entails tackling the five problems listed below:

  • The discrepancy in the development between Natural Science disciplines and Social Science disciplines.
  • Although some institutions have established multiple professional programs and even designations for individual management functions, they haven’t yet established a management profession that encompasses all management functions and integrates all the management subjects to attain a ‘Management Professionalism’.
  • There is a wide incongruity between business management graduates and their capabilities in applying their learnt business knowledge to corporations.
  • A number of accomplished entrepreneurs have never taken any business related education.
  • There is a wide gap between the business knowledge acquired from business institutions and the requirements of business in practice.
 
We propose the following approaches to solve the issues mentioned:
  • Incorporating education, learning and application of theories to achieve maximum utilization
  • Assisting learners to integrate multiple management subjects through leveraging on a set of framework, principles and processes
  • Formulating a set of objective management standards in components, logics, mechanisms and rationales to encapsulate all aspects of multidisciplinary knowledge of business subjects and the functions of business in practice.
  • Abolishing the inconsistency in management theories and practices with the aim to precisely gear the business knowledge to actual business in practice.
  • Discerning between management ‘Fads’ and management’s core ‘Principles’.

The Business Engineering offers the optimal solution to achieve ‘Management Professionalism’.

 
‘Business Engineer’

Through a stimulating process of learning, continuous assessment and professional exams, management will acquire all rounded Business Engineering theories and tools to enhance their efficiency and preciseness in applying concepts to work settings for more effective management and control. The Business Engineering program serves as a platform to provide a competitive edge for learners who are eager to explore a genuine ‘Management Professionalism’ style and qualification.

Business Engineers will possess the capacity to conduct effectively an organization’s strategic planning and management. For either large corporations or SMEs, if their management teams grasp the fundamentals of Business Engineering’s principles, the efficacy of managing an organization will significantly be enhanced, thus the corporate performance can then be realized. Business Engineers are equipped with the competitive advantages, as listed below, which empower them to contribute positively to a corporation:

  1. Risk Monitoring and Avoiding
    • Meticulously monitor and assess the fluctuations of the external business environment and its risk impact on the organization.
    • Possess a definite grasp of the changes in the external environment and its implications to the corporation, thereby enabling the corporation to respond rapidly and adjust accordingly its internal operational environment with the objectives to minimize and avoid risks
  2. Analyzing
    • Adopt wisely a corporation’s previous data as a basis to analyze the company’s current strategic position and its relative operational opportunities and threats
    • Pinpoint the company’s operational strengths and weaknesses and form directional adjustments to better perceive future environmental demands
  3. Planning
    • Strategically integrate and coordinate a firm’s internal resources
    • Tactfully plan and formulate the firm’s strategic position
    • Construct a firm’s operational blueprint and execute in accordance with its mechanisms and procedures
  4. Implementing
    • Outline and prioritize the firm’s executional procedures
    • Determine timeline and costs for strategic execution
  5. Communication and Conformity
    • Facilitate the deliverance of the firm’s strategic intent and enhance the firm’s horizontal and vertical communicational effectiveness and efficiency
    • Boost collaborative attitude and cohesiveness amongst different teams within the corporation
 
Benefits to the Organization
  • The Business Engineering training program facilitates managers of different backgrounds and experiences to liaise through the synchronization of strategic thinking, thereby increasing collaboration and empowering execution efficiency among the workforce in the organization
  • Expedite team cohesiveness to foster a greater sense of identity and belonging to the organization
  • Ensure the excellence of team performance and elevate the capacity of organization for sustainability while confronting future business challenges
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