"Management Practices"
in Indian Management Institutes


By

Dr. K.S. Srinivasa Rao
M.Sc. (Statistics), M.Phil., Ph.D.
Professor in Management & Associate Dean
Alliance Corporate Education (ACE)
Alliance Business School
(Anekel Central Campus)
No. 2 & 3, II Cross, 36th Main, Dollars Scheme, Behind IBP Petrol Bunk,
Near Central Silk Board, BTM 1st Stage, Bangalore-560 068
E-mail: srinirao35@yahoo.com
 


Preface: Long back, I read an article in one of the issues of Vikalpa, a Journal from IIM-A, that gave a detailed report on interview held with three the-then Directors of IIMs (A, B and C) on their views on various issues of B-Schools.   One of the questions was "what is the difference between Management Institute and a B-School?".  Interestingly, all three of them expressed almost the same answer by saying that if only Teaching is taken as the responsibility by the Faculty, then it is a Management Institute whereas Research, Training, and Consultancy are also considered as responsibilities, in addition to Teaching, then it can be considered as a B-School.

Classification: Whenever, the B-School Rankings appears in any Business magazine, I try to keep an eye on the four parameters mentioned above and positioning of each B-school in its ranking accordingly.  Interestingly, majority of the Business magazines change their Methodology every year but inform that their Methodology is very scientific.  Some magazines are unable to differentiate between a Management Institute and B-School while ranking them.  With all my experience, having worked over two decades in five different Institutes across three different States (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka) and worked in different capacities (Lecturer to Director) in the field of Business Management, I would like to categorize the following:

    1. Management Colleges
    2. Management Institutes
    3. Business Schools (B-Schools)

1. Management Colleges: These Colleges offer undergraduate and post graduate programs like BBM and MBA but operate under some University affiliation.  In these Colleges, faculty teaches different courses (Cross-functional) without having any concentration on their area of specializations.  For the members of the Management, the peer group is of similar colleges and work load is mainly on Teaching.  The next focus for the Management of such Colleges is Pass Percentage, No. of First classes, Second classes etc.  Some Colleges advertise in the news papers by giving these details also.  These Colleges are totally depending on the seats that are to be filled as per the Government policies.

2. Management Institutes: These Institutes offer Post Graduate Programs in Management and work with autonomy.  In majority of the cases, the faculty will be focusing on Teaching but also work for their Research.  Management of these Institutes will review the load of Teaching and also the Research contribution by the faculty and accordingly the annual increments will be given.   In general, Faculty members concentrate on their areas of specialization in teaching and sometimes venture on new courses to be offered once in a year. 

3. B-Schools: These Institutes focus on Teaching, Research, Training, and Consultancy.  Interestingly, the faculty members do lot of Research and bring their own research into classroom Teaching.  The faculty members offer Management Development Programs (MDP) and share their experience while training the Executives.  This, in turn, gives a chance to get Consultancy activities from Industry.  The experience gained from the consultancy, will be shared in the classrooms as well as the next training sessions. Also, they offer Faculty Development Programs (FDP) and share their knowledge of Research, Training and Consultancy to Faculty of other Institutes.   This activity some times will be useful even to attract new faculty.  The faculty members confine to the micro level of their specialization and spend more time in Consultancy, Training and Research but at the same time they will handle their teaching sessions very professionally.

Some Comparisons among the Institutes:

In some of the Management Colleges, the faculty members spend their leisure time in discussions more on students' behaviour. The faculty members take the profession as a job and also the responsibilities like teaching and examination related duties.  Some senior faculty members spend their time in writing textbooks.  The obligation is more on delivery as the admissions, curriculum and examinations are controlled by the University with which the College is affiliated. 

In Management Institutes, Faculty members share their way of handling the courses, innovative way of quizzing the students, disciplining the students during their leisure time.  Majority of the communications will be in terms of e-mails shared by all.  Faculty who are working more for research / projects will be in a different sphere and maintain some distance from other groups.  Some senior faculty members spend their time in conducting some Workshops/ Seminars to share their knowledge.

In B-Schools, Faculty members' interaction will be minimal and majority of their communication will be on e-mails.  The faculty members spend more time for planning activities though various Committee Meetings and derive more satisfaction of empowerment.  The involvement of Management will be minimal in majority of the activities as well as in academic decisions.   Faculty members spend their time either in Consultancy or in Training Programs.  Some faculty members coordinate annual Conferences and exhibit their managerial skills as well as share their knowledge to the peer group.  This motivates the other faculty and creates a professional environment.

"Management Practices" in Management Institutes:

Interestingly, majority of these academic Institutes even though they teach various courses of Management, implementation of such management practices is a question mark.  Some junior faculty always put a question that "business" has to be managed by "some how or other" and "ethics" are not required in business.  Majority of the institutes, even though they inform that they only assist for placements, finally each Institute become an "Employment Bureau" at the end of the Year to arrange placements in a better manner as "Placements" is one of the key parameters in B-School Ranking. 

Very few Institutes are working towards Entrepreneurship courses in a more practical sense.  In some Institutes, students are taking the responsibility to maintain the Institute's Website and using their innovative ideas.  One can count the Institutes that are preparing yearly Budgets for the Institute. I have noticed that few Institutes are working on preparing the yearly Academic Plans by earmarking the activities and implementing them successfully.  In majority of the cases, it will be a "one man's show" rather than a team decision.

Inspite of the training given to students in Soft Skills by some of the Institutes, some times the meritorious students may not get job opportunities with good companies whereas the "smart" students with an average academic performance will be getting better jobs.   This places a burden on the Institute to see how to allow such students when they have any backlog courses.  Interestingly in some Institutes, a separate Placement Office takes the responsibility of Placements and some administrative staff run the show, whereas in some other Institutes, the students form as a Committee and take the responsibility of Placements under the guidance of a Faculty Coordinator.

Even though majority Institutes teach various HR courses also under specialization, HR practices in those Institutes normally are very poor.  Some Institutes give a red carpet welcome when an employee joins but for any reasons if the employee is leaving the organization, no body knows his/her whereabouts.  Unfortunately, if any staff member (either teaching or non-teaching) gives advance intimation about his/her resignation, then he/she will be treated "differently" by the rest.   On the other hand, I have seen in some Institutes, the Management greets the employees on their birth day, joining day, any special event by different ways including the send-off party.  I myself received greeting cards, flower bouquets for these kinds of occasions in some of my earlier organizations.  Many Institutes use for the name-sake as "Family" and "equal treatment to all" but find out how many Institutes are giving details along with the Photographs of both teaching and non-teaching staff in their websites.

Almost all the Institutes spend huge budgets for their advertisements through various media, and also design creative websites to attract customers, but very few Institutes take care of their Internal Customers i.e. Employees.  Branding is essential for the Institute but nobody bothers about how the branding can be done through the Internal Customers.  I have seen one Institute spending huge money to tie up with a professional advertisement agency in taking a video shooting almost like a Movie shooting, and finally they used the video for a minute in electronic media.  Later, the employees have given a negative feedback by Word of Mouth as their presence was not highlighted in the final advertisement.  This dissatisfaction made serious negative impact on the subsequent admissions for which the Video was prepared.  Also, some Institutes pay huge money to Business magazines and publish the articles of their faculty.

Some of the Institutes operate from top level management to bottom level staff only through oral communication and they give less importance to any documentation/written communication.  Developing systems in such Institutes is a very challenging task but some times when these Institutes are planning to get some accreditations at National or International level, it will be a tough time for the administrators.  The only option in such cases will be one has to create all the documents with back-dated, which again leads to the issue of "Ethics".

Eventhough there is a perception in some of us that there are Institutes in India where one can pay the Fee and collect the Certificate without attending the Program, but due to the awareness created by various Business magazines by publishing the B-School Ranks, most of the Managements of the Institutes as well as public looking into the Quality Education.  Eventhough the fee is a burden, but with the support of the Educational Loans through Banks, aspirant candidates are able to choose the best B-Schools.

In today's world, Infrastructure became common to all the Institutes.  Every Institute is having their own Building/Campus, good Classroom facilities, Qualified Faculty.  Institutes in India are focusing on Quality in terms of the Rigour in the Program.  But some Institutes are using the word "Rigour" but implementation wise not so effective.  It is like a Silk Squash vegetable (Neti Beerakaya in Telugu language) where people think some silk will be there in the vegetable (or some Ghee will be there) but practically you don't find any such thing. 

In some Institutes, the concept "Customer Relationship Management (CRM)" is misused and they try to do whatever the students want to do just to satisfy them.  In fact, the Institute should be in a position to understand the Career prospects of the students and accordingly decide on what kind of Training should be given to the students so that they can sustain to any work environment in future.   I have read an article in the news paper recently that surprised me as newly joined staff members recruited through campus selection are leaving the organizations due to stress that they are unable to withstand because of recession.   On the other side, companies are giving pink slips to the employees in bulk showing silly reasons and HR experts are suggesting that don't plan to change jobs during recession but try to sustain the current one. 

Eventhough we teach in classes about need for Change in the Organizations, majority of the Institutes are still under transition from hierarchy to flat structure.  This transition will leads to some confusion and creates problems and hence Managements of such Institutes have to take a firm and timely decision.  The managements of these Institutes should also adjust to the environment quickly.

The regulatory authorities like AICTE are trying to have control on the Institutes in terms of regulations and guidelines.   Majority of the Institutes give information about their faculty as a part of Mandatory Disclosure.  Interestingly, if you observe these Institutes' websites, you will notice more attrition among the faculty in these Institutes.  Some of the Institutes are paying huge salaries to the faculty to retain them, whereas, some other Institutes are giving very good perks in order to retain the faculty. 

Conclusion: Some Institutes are doing Faculty Recruitment Process in a very systematic way by constituting a Search Committee, Inviting the faculty to the Institute, arranging a Research Seminar in the presence of all the Internal Faculty members, arranging Interactions with each Department separately, Selecting the faculty based on the opinion of the Internal Faculty, giving a teaching load in the functional Area and engaging with some Additional Responsibilities in Coordinating some Activities, Encouraging for Research by giving some additional benefits, Involving in Training Activities and Consultancy.  Also, Management of these Institutes assess the Performance of the Faculty on the above-mentioned Parameters by giving a proper weightage.  Finally, the Work Environment and Organizational Culture are the factors that make a faculty to associate himself/herself with an Institute for a longer period.  The objective of this article is not to criticize any Institute but suggest them to follow the Best Management Practices as per the expectation in order to come to the level of a B-School.  Then, a comparison in terms of B-School Ranking will be more meaningful.

Note: If any Institute is really doing well beyond the above level of expectation, then credit will go to their Management as well as the Employees.

Acknowledgements: The author is a Professor & Associate Dean, ACE, ALLIANCE Business School, Bangalore.  The author expresses his sincere acknowledgements to the management of Indianmba.com website for creating a platform to interact by all the three stake holders Students, Faculty and Management.  Also, the author got the opportunity to initiate the Faculty Column in Indianmba.com with Article No.1, and later contributed Article No.100, and now this Article No.1000.  The author also expresses his sincere acknowledgements to his colleague, Prof. Chowdari Prasad for his valuable suggestions.

Contact: srinirao35@yahoo.com
 


Dr. K.S. Srinivasa Rao
M.Sc. (Statistics), M.Phil., Ph.D.
Professor in Management & Associate Dean
Alliance Corporate Education (ACE)
Alliance Business School
(Anekel Central Campus)
No. 2 & 3, II Cross, 36th Main, Dollars Scheme, Behind IBP Petrol Bunk,
Near Central Silk Board, BTM 1st Stage, Bangalore-560 068
E-mail: srinirao35@yahoo.com
 

Source: E-mail May 2, 2009

          

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