CHAPTER 20
Industrial Dynamics and Management Education

Industrial dynamics views business as an integrated system. As such, it can provide an academic framework on which to assemble the other management subjects. Mathematical models provide a case method of interrelating as much richness of detail as necessary. Models make this detail specific and show how the system that has been described will evolve through time. Industrial dynamics can be taught as a brief exposure to introduce system concepts or can be extended to a major field with a thread running throughout an undergraduate and graduate academic program. Industrial history (of a kind dealing with the reasons for decisions and the life histories of industries, companies, and products) and also linear information-feedback theory are especially important supporting fields for industrial dynamics. Management games have several points of methodology in common with industrial dynamics but fail to treat structure and policy in the business enterprise; they combine the shortcomings of both complete dynamic model research and real-life experience without the advantages of either. New challenges face academic research in finding new management approaches to modern technology and economic development.

THIS chapter will relate system dynamics to management education. The study of systems can provide a framework to unite subjects in the separate management functions. It can introduce the time dimension into what has previously been too static a treatment of the management process.

Certain principles can be evolved that have general usefulness, but these should not be misunderstood by attempting a close analogy with the isolated laws of open systems as they are known in a field like physics.

An academic program built around system dynamics can be dramatic, challenging, and intellectually demanding. It requires a different emphasis in the selection and goals of people, both teachers and students, than has been customary in management schools. The impact on academic research in management can be vast, moving research away from mere data collection and explanation and into a position of leadership toward the design of more effective enterprises.

A fundamental view of system dynamics does not require the characterization of a system by the size of the institution -- macro -- and microeconomics merge, and the growth of the small corporation fits a transient dynamic mold similar to the development of a new national economy. The more successful we are in identifying truly fundamental factors, the more universally they are applicable, whether in research man-

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