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More b-school tosh

Am I alone in becoming terminally irritated by the macho posturing that passes for thought in business schools and their journals? An article about service design by Uday Karmarkar, in Harvard Business Review, is typical of the genre. “A tidal-wave of change bearing down on the services sector should make you rethink your strategy and revamp your organisation” it begins breathlessly. A tidal wave of tosh would be more accurate. Karmarkar’s big idea is that “the industrialisation of services” will somehow help service companies to “focus their efforts on overcoming the feeling of disembodiment and depersonalisation that technology has created between companies and customers”. Karmarkar seems blissfully unaware that the industrialisation of services will make things worse for those of us who have to use them,not better. But what really bugs me is his his blithe assumption is that the technology that causes all this disembodiment and depersonalisation somehow deployed itself. But guess what, Mr K: It did not: It was deployed by an army of managers, many of whom were taught to do so at business schools like your own. (His article draws on “surveys and interviews with 300 senior IT managers” carried out by the Center for Management in the Information Economy at UCLA). “Will You Survive The Services revolution” by Uday Karmarkar in Harvard Business Review. July 2004.

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