Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

The Basic Undergraduate POM Course: Faculty Opinions of Desired Course Content and the Adequacy of Existing Textbooks

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

The Basic Undergraduate POM Course: Faculty Opinions of Desired Course Content and the Adequacy of Existing Textbooks

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Professors teaching the basic undergraduate POM course were surveyed to determine what topics they covered (and to what degree), what additional topics they felt should be covered, the adequacy of the textbooks being used, who was required to take the POM course, and other related issues. A great discrepancy was found regarding who was required to take the course. For example, 85.9% of the schools responding required it of their Management Majors but only 18.2% required it of MIS, CIS, or Information System Majors. Of twenty-one subjects/topics asked about, over 90% of those responding indicated Intensive or Moderate coverage of Inventory Control and Quality Concepts. Over half reported such coverage for QC/SPC Methods, Project Management, JIT Concepts, Forecasting, Capacity Planning, MRP, Layout Strategies, Location Strategies, Decision Making, Productivity Measures, and Order Scheduling/Loading. Less than 50% reported such coverage of Linear Programming, Queuing Models, Transportation Problems, Learning Curves, Simulation, Assignment Problems, Global Programming, or Integer Programming. Most professors were reasonably happy with their textbooks, with 75.7% describing their current textbooks as either "About Right," "Very Good," or "Excellent." But, there appeared to be two distinct market segments, one wanting more quantitative material and one wanting more qualitative material.

INTRODUCTION

Although the study of the activities involved in the transformation processes that are used in creating services or products is not new, Operations Management as a field is relatively young (Heizer and Render, 2001). As is typical of a new area, the field has undergone many changes and now includes a blend of topics from statistics, industrial engineering, management science, management, strategy, marketing, accounting and others. As these changes have taken place, textbooks have evolved as well. Whether or not the current textbooks and academic thinking reflect cutting edge topics in operations management or lag behind actual practices in leading companies is, of course, of concern. The purpose of the survey conducted here was to assess the current status of and trends in the teaching of Operations Management (or Production/Operations Management, interchangeably referred to as OM, POM or P/OM) in schools and colleges of business in the U.S. at the undergraduate level.

LITERATURE REVIEW

A survey of the literature revealed a number of conflicting concerns with POM education. For example, during the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980s the areas covered by operations management in most organizations, where inputs are transformed into services or products as outputs, were all too often focused on finance and/or marketing efforts. This resulted in a slower increase in productivity within the manufacturing and service sectors of the U.S. economy, concerns about quality, and the loss of competitiveness in world markets. It was suggested that one reason might be that the educational preparation of students was inadequate and there was a gap between what was being taught and what practicing managers in POM should know to remain competitive internationally (Bandyopadhyay, 1994). Some (Nieto, et al, 1999 and others) maintained that current POM textbooks have lagged behind state-of-the-art practices in leading companies. On the other hand, Nieto, et al also contested that some current POM textbooks covered "cutting edge" topics. Some criticism has been leveled against leading MBA programs relating to graduates knowing quantitative tools but being inadequate in management abilities concerning people. This has led, in some schools, to curriculum revamping. In executive education many companies have demanded the achievement of specific, real-world goals with a combination of academics and applications (Bongiorno, 1993). Bandyopadhya (1994) noted that it would appear that the graduates from many AACSB accredited schools were not prepared to deal with the POM area in industry. …

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