It can be argued that from a responsibility standpoint, it is only money and can be replaced. Therefore, the risk associated with the actions of the manager do not compare with other professional fields. It would appear that licensure is not necessary, nor is a particular body of knowledge in order to become a successful manager.
Morality and Managers
We have demonstrated that managers do not have to possess a standardized set of minimal knowledge in order to perform their job well. Many examples illustrate successful entrepreneurs that do not have even the minimal knowledge base, yet they are a success by many standards. From the standpoint of the necessity of a minimal knowledge base, it would appear that managers do not qualify as professionals from a sociological perspective. However, the public and the company place an incredible amount of trust in managers to carry out their functions in a manner that serves to enhance the needs of the company, shareholders, employees, and customers (Chum, 2005). They shoulder a considerable amount of trust, for someone that may not meet the minimal requirements of the job.
The third quality of a professional is that they use their knowledge base for the public good. Let us assume that the manager has the necessary knowledge base. They must commit to operate their company in a way that accomplishes public good. When the Enron scandal broke, it became apparent the corporate and personal profits were at the top of every managerial Christmas List. Marketers padded their own pockets at the expense of everyone, including the general public (Yost, 2007). This was only one of many scandals to surface that breached public trust in corporations. There are certain corporations that do exist for the public good, but most entrepreneurs have their own interests at the top of their priority list.
Although there are many exceptions to the rule, many corporations exist solely for the profits of those in charge. The second part of criteria number three for professionals, is that they serve the public good, even at the expense of profit. This phrase creates a paradox for the business manager. To makes profits is for the general good. They do not have a service to offer, other than maintaining profit levels for the company. Taking care of the company, means taking care of profits. A business that continually loses money for the public good ceases to be a business for long. In return for committing to use that knowledge for the public good, even at the expense of profits, is exchanges for greater autonomy and monopoly. The manager must maintain profits to achieve autonomy and power. The manager cannot adhere to the fourth principle of professionalism and continue to do their job.
The fourth criteria is adherence to a code of ethics with provisions for monitoring compliance and sanctions necessary to enforce it (Khurana, Nohria, & Penrice, 2005). Scandals have placed an emphasis on this lack of ethical turpitude in the managerial profession. Currently, managers are expected to act in a manner that exemplifies a high moral standard (Chum, 2005). However, America has taken off the rose-colored glasses, and now realizes that mangers are under incredible pressure to maintain profits. The bending of rules is acceptable practice, as long as one is not caught. Corporations monitor themselves and must decide which actions they will allow, which actions are not allowed and when to look the other way. There is no standard managerial monitoring system.
When one considers the sociological theoretical model of professionals, it appears that at the current time, managers are found to be lacking in all points considered. They are not held to standards of knowledge, or morality on their jobs. Their responsibility is to maintain profits and there is no regulatory agency to make certain that they do so in a manner that benefits the general public. By this measure, one can determine that at the current time, managers are not professionals.
Should they be Professionals?
It is apparent by now, that managers are not professionals, as compared to other professional occupations such as doctors or attorneys. However, it is difficult to ignore the fact that managers are professionals in their own right. They should tremendous responsibility for the companies that they manage. They are accountable to their shareholders, employers, and in some cases, regulatory agencies. Regardless of managerial style, they must conform to certain unwritten standards among peers. They gain knowledge in a number of ways.
If one takes the standpoint that managers should become a professional organization, similar to other professions, some ground rules need to be established. At the current time, the rules that govern managers are an abstract set of practices. Everyone knows the procedures and practices that are a part of the managerial culture. Organizational culture dictates managerial practices, as much as managerial practices dictate organizational culture. Organizational culture is the driving force of managerial style (Rhodes & Brown, 2005).
This is one of the key elements that makes the idea of standardizing the managerial profession more difficult than any other profession. For the physician, following established rules and practices means increased patient safety. However, for the manager, following established rules and norms can mean disaster. The manager must be able to think outside the box and must be able to see and seize opportunities as they come along. Holding managers to a certain set of standard practices may serve to eliminate the creativity that is the driving force of innovation (Adams, 2005).
The role of the manager is reactionary depending on the situation. However, the role of the physician and attorney are reactionary to the situation as well. The requirements of having a minimal amount of certified knowledge does not limit their ability to react to situations as they arise. The architecture is currently in place to develop a standardized information. There are certain common elements that are a part of the typically college or certificate program. Regardless, of the business specialty, there are certain bits of key information that every business school graduate knows. This could easily be developed into a standardized set of knowledge to be tested prior to obtaining a license to practice as a business professional.
Once the test is passed, the manager would be a part of a professional organization and would be held to uphold certain ethical policies and practices. If they did not, they would lose their license to practice. In addition to a generalized standardized test, specialty tests could be developed that cover topics within specialized disciplines. For instance, there could be tests developed for retail managers, bank managers, technology managers, etc. It would be up to the particular organization as to whether they required specialty certificates of proficiency.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this type of professional licensure for managers. For the companies that hire, them it would mean that they could be assured that the managers they hired had attained at least a minimal level of competency (Boxall & Gilbert, 2007). They would have a better idea of the knowledge base that the manager possessed, as opposed to the wide range of missing knowledge that occurs when someone learns their profession through other than a standardized curriculum.
The managers would also benefit from attaining a certain level of competency in their field. They may gain knowledge that would help them to avoid common mistakes in their practice. Requiring a certain level of competency, by way of an exam means that they can assure at least a minimal amount of professionalism to the workforce. Even for those that have attained their fortunes without a college degree, gaining knowledge can only make them better than they are already.
Providing a means to make certain managers adhere to a generally accepted code of ethics will not prevent all unscrupulous activities for those that are determined to break the rules. However, it would place a certain threat above their heads that could serve as a deterrent against poor business practices (Edwards, 2005). The educational, exam, and licensing practices associated with the establishment of professional managerial organizations would add an extra expense burden to future managerial candidates. Managers are gauged by both financial and non-financial measures (Hogue & James, 2000). There is concern that a standardized test would only cover financial measures.
However, this may also help to deter those who are not dedicated to serving their corporations in the best possible fashion (Edwards, 2005). It could help to weed out the bad managers, as they would not be willing to pay the extra fees. The fees would serve as a test of dedication to the field and the desire to become the best manager possible. One of the key disadvantages is that this program may be inaccessible to small to medium sized managers due to the expense (Sunder, 2000). Small and medium enterprises are much more sensitive to managerial actions than larger corporations with a well-developed infrastructure of…