The Complexity Conundrum – BusinessWeek


This is THE question that grabbed my attention…and how!

Are MBA programs up to the challenge of developing leaders who can manage complexity well?

via The Complexity Conundrum – BusinessWeek.

Unfortunately there just wasn’t enough space for my full response. So, here is the unabridged, unedited, version:

Put simply…”NO”. Of course I am not in a position to pre-judge every MBA course BUT, on the basis that Academics cannot agree on a common language, let alone theory it is extremely unlikely.

Add to that the Global Consultancies, such as KPMG, IBM, PwC, McKinsey and (no doubt) others that seem to view “complexity” as a term used to scare  CEO’s or other C-level Exec’s into opening discussions and justifying large consultancy fees! None of these appear to have a coherent definition, means to measure, or credible solution. Not a great starting point!

To their credit, AT Kearney do, at least, appear to have a clearer understanding but, from what I can understand of their proposed means of analysis (BEFORE any corrective steps can even be taken) a considerable amount of work and additional complexity would be necessary.

New MBA’s, even endowed with such knowledge, could assure themselves of very short careers in many organisations, by importing something that challenges current belief systems. Financial institutions (like political institutions) often consider “new” solutions as a threat to their power-base and react accordingly…although tear gas or water canons are not often seen in the workplace!

Although I am not an MBA, I do run Ontonix UK and we offer the only 100% quantitative, model-free, analyses of complex systems. I and my colleagues know, very well, that, despite a sufficiently rigorous scientific pedigree to be used in Aerospace design, Air Traffic control, cardio. surgical, High dependency medical care and other “critical processes”, when we are asking business leaders to open their minds to complexity, systems and information theory they tend to prefer the familiarity of flawed or limited concepts so as MPT, VaR, conventional risk management, risk models, etc. Of course there are always people within major organisations for whom the status quo serves their purposes very nicely!

Trust this input helps!?

David

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