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Business administrators are currently facing numerous challenges in their efforts to manage business operations. Most of these challenges emanate from the ever-changing government policies, changes in values and interests of various business stakeholders, globalisation, and secularisation.
As organisations continue to open branches in foreign countries, they have to hire administrators with skills in addressing challenges posed by cultural diversity (Ahearn, et al. 2003).
Moreover, they require managers who can effectively analyse the political environment of a country and determine its possible effects on the organisation, thus formulating strategies to counter the effects. All these qualities would be realisable through incorporating political science in the study of business administration.
This paper will focus on the effects of teaching political science to MBA students.
Definition of Politics
Politics is a multifaceted discipline that is unbending to one definition (Crick 1999). Politics matters may relate to detrimental behaviours since they portray the conflicting nature of the community.
One of the most common definitions of politics states that politics is the procedure through which factions representing different values and interests come up with mutual decisions (Dahl 1991). This definition makes two postulations.
One of the assumptions is that all groups of people must have diversity. In other words, people will always portray diverging values and interests. Hence, there will always be a need to bring people together and help them to reach an agreement in terms of their values and interests.
The other assumption made by this definition is that paucity is a predictable feature of every society (Hay 2002). Since it is hard to satisfy all people with the available resources, it calls for a way of distributing the available resources to the society.
Harold Lasswell defines politics as “Who gets what, when and how” (Gamble 2000, p. 27). Evidently, what is of great significance in this definition is how resources are shared since they determine the well-being of society. Prior to the nineteenth century, political issues were entirely concerned with values.
Politics linked with philosophy where political philosophers focused on identifying what constitutes a good life. Nevertheless, Stoker (2006) claims, “central divide for much of the last two centuries has been between those who prefer liberty over equality and those who prefer equality over liberty” (p.6).
Effects of Politics Science on Future Challenges
Globalisation is leading to numerous states’ borders becoming porous (Hillman & Hitt 1999). More countries are collaborating in trade making it possible for people to move from one country to another with limited interference.
Prior to globalisation, one had to have all the requisite travel documents before moving from his or her country to another country; moreover, the authorities in the other country had to be aware of his or her visit (Hodge & Greve 2007).
Every country had its policies that all other nations intending to relate with it had to observe. However, globalisation is gradually forcing countries to relax their policies. Today, people are capable of moving from one country to another with ease (Low & MacMillan 1999).
As organisations continue to open new branches in foreign countries and send managers to oversee their operations, they are likely to face challenges in meeting the government policies of these states (Marsh & Stoker 2002).
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Besides, the managers are likely to face the challenge of coping with the socio-cultural dynamics of employees in a foreign country. People in different countries have divergent values and interests. Hence, a foreign manager may encounter difficulties in addressing the values and interests of people he or she is not acquainted with.
Besides globalisation, the world is also facing secularisation. Unlike in the past where people were highly religious, today people are gradually abandoning religions and adopting a secular way of life (Ohmae 2002). In return, the move is influencing business operations.
For instance, in the United States, religion and business have taken two parallel paths. Today, the American economy is financially driven; hence, people are currently subjected to a utilitarian world (Lowi 2000).
Inasmuch as in religious business people try to be honest in their operations, the current level of secularisation is forcing them to focus on profit making at the expense of their customers and employees. Today, Christian business professionals are embracing naturalistic and secularised ways of running their businesses.
Secularisation is forcing people to engage in businesses with the sole aim of making profits. In future, businesses are likely to face stiff competition because of the current rate of globalisation.
With secularisation forcing business operators to focus on making profits and overcoming competition, most of the organisations will in the near future face numerous industrial actions (Pettigrew, Woodman, & Cameron 2007).
Organisational leaders will continue focusing on making profit without considering the plight of their employees. Consequently, employees will have to turn to industrial actions to force employers to improve their working environment.
All these future challenges would be surmountable if educational institutions would equip the future managers with requisite skills of addressing cultural diversities, government policies, and skills in international affairs.
Incorporating political science in the study of business administration would facilitate in dealing with future challenges that are likely to emerge because of globalisation and secularisation (Stoker 2006). With time, more communism blocks are emerging.
Therefore, it would be very hard for a business administrator to deal with employees as well as enhance business performance if he or she has no experience in a communistic environment.
Political science equips learners with knowledge about countries, how the countries are managed, how resources are shared, and values and interests of different cultures (Stoker 2006).
Hence, incorporating political science in an MBA program would facilitate in equipping the future business administrators with the knowledge to deal with varied economic systems.
Moreover, managers will have knowledge about the political systems of the various countries thus being in a position to ensure that their institutions do not violate the established regulations.
Benefits of Having the Knowledge of Political Tools and Tactics
Political science focuses on political systems and practices of politics. It hinges on political institutions, policies, and processes. Moreover, it looks at the systems of governance from which the societies establish their policies and priorities.
The success of any business institution depends on the ability by the business leaders to identify priorities and policies embraced by society (Clott 2004). It is hard for employees to commit themselves to an organisation if they learn that it does not work towards addressing their common values and interests.
Having knowledge in political science would help a business administrator to identify the values of his or her employees thus helping them to realise their values. In the process, the administrator would inculcate the spirit of teamwork and commitment to his or her employees thus promoting organisational growth.
Political science equips learners with the requisite skills for analysing the interaction between the prevailing political dealings and conditions. Moreover, it helps learners to assess government practices, thus knowing their effects on business institutions (Storey 2005).
They acquire the skills of analysing the history of politics in a country and relate it with the prevailing political environment. In this way, they can predict the possible future outcomes and thus prepare in advance.
Political science equips people with social science tools, which are vital in determining the effects of public policies on institutions. Government policies affect the operations of every business institution.
Hence, business administrators, especially those working in foreign countries, ought to have skills in analysing government policies and the effects on their institutions (Storey 2005).
An administrator with political tactics would be in a good position to assess the existing political environment, determine its possible effects on his or her business institution, and come up with plausible mitigation measures.
Strength of Adding Politics Module to MBA Program
MBA program equips learners with the requisite skills for managing and running business organisations. From the program, an individual acquires managerial skills, thus s/he can deal with employees from diverse cultural backgrounds.
In spite of having the necessary skills, it is hard for a business administrator to achieve organisational goals if he or she does not practice and inculcate the sense of tolerance within an institution (Terpstra & Yu 2004).
One of the strengths of adding politics module to MBA programs is that it helps in instilling the spirit of tolerance within learners.
Politics modules advocate for co-operation, tolerance, and adjustment (Flingstein 1996). It would be very hard for an organisation to grow without the spirit of cooperation and tolerance between employees and managers.
At times, it would call for the organisational managers to adjust their grounds to cope with the changing values and interests of their employees. Political science would help business administrator to develop the culture of tolerance thus developing the capacity to relate with employees from diverse cultural backgrounds (Flingstein 1996).
The current level of globalisation is leading to immense changes in human resources management. Currently, human resource comprises employees that observe different cultures.
It would be hard for business administrators to cope with such a diverse human resource without having to tolerate some of their cultural practices if they are beneficial to the organisation. Political science teaches on the importance of tolerance in the society.
Including political modules in MBA program would help learners to appreciate the need for exercising tolerance in business institutions (Flingstein 1996).
Politics and government are some of the forces affecting society and businesses today. Business administration equips learners with skills on how to make informed decisions before embarking on any investment plan (Deleon & Denhardt 2000).
Nevertheless, an investment decision made by a manager may end up failing since the manager did not have the capacity to predict the future path of politics and policy of a given country.
Another major strength of incorporating political modules in MBA program is that it would help in enhancing the decision-making capacity for managers (Erramilli 2001).
The move would help learners to acquire the essential skills for analysing the political and government forces in play in every country, predict their future trajectory, and determine the possibility of an investment succeeding in such an environment.
Today, more economic powers are emerging. Hence, business administrators should have a clear knowledge on policies and politics of economic powers like the United States, Europe, and China before deciding to invest in any of them (Li & Zhang 2007).
Such knowledge would be realisable via studying politics of the different countries.
Influence of Teaching Politics Science on the Business School
One of the influences of teaching political science on business school is the desire to produce business administrators capable of addressing all the challenges affecting business organisations today.
There is a great need of having business managers capable of addressing the challenges of globalisation, secularisation, political, and government policies.
While MBA programs equip learners with the requisite skills for making informed business decisions, some of the decisions should be complemented by political experience.
As aforementioned, there is a need for business managers to have knowledge in public policies, values, and interests of different societies in order to work with them towards realising organisational goals. This factor is greatly influencing the desire to include political modules in MBA programs.
Political science is of great importance in MBA. Consequently, there is a need for institutions to introduce the module independently rather than teaching it as a secondary part of the subject.
Introducing the module as a standalone subject would ensure comprehensive understanding of the subject thus equipping future managers with all the necessary knowledge of addressing political and social challenges that affect business organisations.
MBA programs are not in a position to equip learners with skills for dealing with political challenges. Hence, with politics being one of the major forces that influence organisational performance, it is imperative for institutions to introduce political science as one of the subjects in MBA programs.
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