RETHINKING MANAGEMENT EDUCATION: STRENGTHENING THE DEVELOPMENT OF LEADERSHIP IN BUSINESS AND HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS

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1 RETHINKING MANAGEMENT EDUCATION: STRENGTHENING THE DEVELOPMENT OF LEADERSHIP IN BUSINESS AND HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS Beck-Jones, Juanda J. Florida A&M University Harper, Vera J. Florida A&M University ABSTRACT In many of the business and healthcare management arenas, concern has been expressed about the quality of the preparation of graduates of educational programs. Increasingly, there are demands for management educators to strengthen the development of leadership in their programs. Executives in the corporate community have argued that the Healthcare Administration and MBA curricula are not adequately focused on real world issues that are challenges in the ever changing environments of these professions (Robbins, Bradley, Spicer, and Mecklenburg, 2001). These concerns are evidenced by the dearth of qualified leaders in healthcare and business management to assume senior positions in complex organizations. To meet the leadership development challenge, management education programs must be considerably more proactive and systematic in providing educational experiences that help learners translate vision and concepts of leadership into practice (Connaughton, Lawrence, and Ruben, 2003). Further, Connaughton, et.al (2003), claim that it is impossible to determine the essential knowledge and competencies necessary to address the opportunities and challenges of our rapidly changing environment. It is certain that leadership competencies will be increasingly indispensable in a global society. This paper suggests that when it comes to leadership development in higher education, business as usual is insufficient. It addresses the need for leadership education; the concern of professionals in the field of business and healthcare management; the climate, which addresses cynicism about leaders and leadership; the leadership development challenges faced by colleges and universities; and the suggested programmatic adjustments required to achieve the desired learning outcomes. INTRODUCTION In many of the business and healthcare management arenas, concern has been expressed about the quality of the preparation of graduates of educational programs. Increasingly, there are demands for management educators to strengthen the development of leadership in their programs. Executives in the corporate community have argued that the Healthcare Administration and MBA curricula are not adequately

2 focused on real world issues that are challenges in the ever changing environments of these professions (Robbins, Bradley, Spicer, and Mecklenburg, 2001). These concerns are evidenced by the dearth of qualified leaders in healthcare and business management to assume senior positions in complex organizations. To meet the leadership development challenge, management education programs must be considerably more proactive and systematic in providing educational experiences that help learners translate vision and concepts of leadership into practice (Connaughton, Lawrence, and Ruben, 2003). Further, Connaughton, et.al. (2003) claim that it is impossible to determine the essential knowledge and competencies necessary to address the opportunities and challenges of our rapidly changing environment. It is certain that leadership competencies will be increasingly indispensable in a global society. The aforementioned concerns are enhanced by the current dissatisfaction and cynicism about leaders and leadership in areas, such as, business, healthcare, politics, and religious institutions. The world community has witnessed admired organizations being tarnished by leadership problems: mismanagement of resources; abuse of responsibilities of administrative posts; and betrayal of the public trust. With this kind of climate, it becomes clear that leadership education is a necessity for management curricula in business and healthcare education. This paper suggests that when it comes to leadership development in higher education, business as usual is insufficient. A few classes on leadership, a commencement address on ethics, volunteering to lead projects in the community is not enough. A curriculum wherein the learner is immersed in theoretical concepts and principles of leadership development would be expected to serve as a foundation for the management course of study. Included therein should be the theoretical and the practical. To meet the identified challenges, the curricula should provide for authentic learning experiences in which the students engage in activities, in a particular sector, such as, business or healthcare, wherein the learners are exposed to the contextual framework of the organization, inclusive of its mission, vision, values, history and the rites and rituals. In this environment, the learner is, also, made aware of the unique culture of an organization. The authentic activities designed to promote leadership development grow out of the conceptual framework, and are the result of partnerships with corporate counterparts, and are integral to the curriculum. These partnerships range from class interactions to working with teams, leading groups, introducing guests, and planning activities to internships and residencies. The Need for Leadership Development Leadership development has been a major topic in business and healthcare management literature over the last few years. The rapid changes in business, technology, political and social arenas demand the development of effective leadership skills. As a result, leadership development programs have become an increasing priority for business and healthcare organizations (Cacioppe, 1998). Leadership development has, therefore, become a prominent theme and objective in higher education (Thompson, 2006). Connaughton, Lawrence, Rueben (2003), suggest that the popularity of this, overarching, theme in higher education brings with it considerable challenges to the providers of educational experiences aimed at helping learners effectively translate theories of leadership into practice. Concern about the Quality of Preparation of Graduates for Leadership Roles The literature posits that graduate programs in health administration prepare their students to function in diverse sectors in the field of health care management, inclusive of integrated delivery systems, managed care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, consulting firms, and Internet firms. Yet, the literature adds that healthcare administrators continue to express concern about the lack of preparation of graduates and grief over the inadequate number of qualified graduates to assume leadership roles in the complex healthcare industry (Pointer, Luke, and Brown, 1986; Mecklenburg, 2001). Healthcare is not unique in this perspective. Industry executives join healthcare administrators in their position about MBA graduates. They argue that the MBA curriculum has not been adequately focused on real world issues in

3 their efforts to prepare students for the ever changing environment in the field of business (Jenkins, Reizenstein, and Rodgers, 1984). CLIMATE AND CYNICISM ABOUT LEADERS AND LEADERSHIP Cynicism about leaders and leadership are apparent in the arenas of business, politics, nonprofits, and even religious institutions. Some of the most admired organizations in our country have been tarnished by leadership problems of individuals who have betrayed the public trust (Connaughton, Lawrence, and Ruben, 2003). According to Hernez-Broome and Hughes (2006), the ethical lapses and arrogance among senior executives in companies like Enron and Worldcom in the 1990 s, probably accelerated the growing sentiment that the relationship between character and values should be more salient. The recent lapses in the mortgage industry and on Wall Street have given rise to more concern about the ethics and greed of those in business. Given this climate, leadership education has become a necessity. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES FACED BY EDUCATORS Historically, the academic preparation for business and healthcare management has been based on the example set by a strong group of graduate programs that are specifically focused on industry (Robbins, Bradley, Spicer and Mecklenburg, 2001). These are programs, wherein experiential learning is, effectively, integrated into the curriculum in the form of internships (Hilberman, Davison, Anderson, Nakazono, 2000). Currently, educators are faced with the challenge of preparing graduates who can work in environments that will require them to demonstrate a high level of technical expertise to survive. In addition, these graduates must function in a workplace in which diversity is a strategic differentiator and individual differences are a source of creative energy and productivity. Finally, these graduates must be able to function on multiple levels. They must lead in ways that keep high-level goals in sight, while tracking day-to-day success. To address these leadership challenges, it is suggested that, although, traditional methods will continue to be necessary; they are increasingly, insufficient (Robbins, Bradley, Spicer, and Mecklenburg, 2001). Traditional classroom teaching methods involving the use of books, lectures, discussions, and case studies, will continue to be necessary for leadership development, but they are not enough. These types of activities are being complemented or supplanted by high level action learning. To develop professionals who can compete, a new educational model will have to be developed (Nevins and Stumpf, 1999). LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH Through its academic programs in business administration and health care management, Florida A&M University offers opportunities for students to develop skill sets essential to prepare them to meet leadership challenges in the global economy. In the School of Allied Health Sciences and the School of Business & Industry, students are prepared in management programs at the bachelors and masters degree levels. A major aim of these academic programs is to develop leaders. These programs have always proposed to develop graduates who can assume leadership roles in the larger society. Many graduates of these programs have assumed leadership roles, with success, in local, state, national and international arenas. These academic programs are housed in a university setting that has been committed to a vision, mission, and goal of achievement both in school and in the world. The goals of these programs are to graduate students who can assume leadership roles, at the highest levels of their chosen professions. Professional Development programs are integral to the management curriculum of each of the schools.

4 Professional Development in the management programs in Business and Health Care Management is the vehicle for the development of leadership skills and the learning experiences. Professional Development parallels learning experiences in the academic curriculum. The academic curriculum addresses, more specifically, the theoretical foundation for leadership development. Through the academic program, students embrace leadership principles that are essential for translating theories and concepts into practice. Connaughton, et al (2003) provides a theoretical foundation for an innovative initiative similar to the one employed at Florida A&M University. The principles references by the authors are that: leadership is complex, it is other oriented, its interactive and dynamic, it is contextual, and may be emergent, it is a science and an art, it is enacted through communication, it is increasingly mediated and virtual in nature, and it can be learned and taught (Connaughton, et al, 2003). A correlated curricular approach to Professional Development makes it possible for ease of translation concepts and principles of leadership into practice. The success of the leadership development program can be attributed to the following factors: First, the faculty s teaching methods match the desired outcomes of the program. There is more than lecture and discussion in the courses (Hernez-Broome and Hughes, 1999; Prince, 2001; Connaughton, 2003). The students are involved in action learning wherein important real-time organizational problems are tackled. All students participate in an internship as an engagement with an external corporate partner. Second, learning opportunities are created that allow students to apply and practice their knowledge (Prince, 2001; Connaughton, 2003). Students work as leaders and members of teams. Participation in teams allows students to practice what they have learned. Additionally, situations are created to provide feedback to students both inside and outside of the classroom. Third, students are strongly encouraged to reflect on and discuss their leadership experiences with faculty and peers (Prince, 2001; Connaughton, 2003). Students participate in interactive sessions with corporate guests which are planned and implemented by the students. The students receive immediate feedback from the guests, and later from peers and faculty in post-mortem a planned activity. Fourth, students have vicarious learning opportunities (Prince, 2001; Connaughton, 2003). Students learn from interactions with corporate guests and other, more advanced, students.

5 REFERENCES Caioppe, Ron (1998). An Integrated Model and Approach for the Design of Effective Leadership Development Programs Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Volume 19, Number 1, Connaughton, Stacey L., Francis L. Lawrence and Brent D. Ruben (2003). Leadership Development as a Systematic and Multidisciplinary Enterprise Journal of Education for Business, Sept/Oct, Volume 79, Number 1, Hay, Amanda and Myra Hodgkinson (2006). Rethinking Leadership: a way forward for teaching leadership? Leadership and Organization Development Journal, Volume 27, Issue ½ Hernez-Broome, Gina and Richard L. Hughes, (2006). Leadership Development: Past, Present, and Future Human Resource Planning, Volume 28, Number 1, Nevins, Mark David and Stephen A. Stumpf (1999). 21 st Century Leadership: Redefining Management Education Strategy, Management Competition, 3 rd Quarter, Prince, Howard (2001). Teaching leadership: A journey into the unknown. Concepts and connections: A newsletter for leadership educators, Volume 9, 3. Robbins, Katherine J., Elizabeth H. Bradley, Marianne Spicer and Gary A. Mecklenburg (2001). Journal of Healthcare Management, Volume 46, Issue 3,

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