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Management education in Poland.

Management education in Poland during this transitional period to a market economy is finding its feet. Already there are four- and five- year programs in established degree granting institutions of higher education such as universities, and newer, often private, schools whose programs typically are of one or two years in duration. The new schools generally include only business courses in their curricula, while the established programs in universities have their business courses included in a broader offering of academic subjects. Some of the new schools claim to be offering MBA-equivalent degrees and require a previous university level degree for admission, although sometimes they will let students who have not graduated but are near completion transfer from university-level institutions.

The established programs have offered degrees in several business-related disciplines such as management and economics for some time. However, their curricula have been notably weak in marketing and finance, and these subjects are now being integrated into curricula, though to a varying extent and at varying paces.

Until recently, Polish organizations were largely mired in politics and bureaucracy. In such a context, Polish language management textbooks were heavy on what is called, in the United States, the traditional management paradigm. This is rooted in ideas derived from Taylor (1947) and Fayol (1916) and supports a view of management involving extensive emphasis on lines of authority, and controlling the work of subordinates. It thus fitted well with the then-existing bureaucratic conditions. In the future, a need for lean organizations with rapid and flexible decision-making through the empowerment of those closest to the customers and the technologies is needed. The new paradigm involves focal commitments: to the satisfaction of customers and other stakeholders, to the long-term survival of the organization by exceeding customer expectations, to quality products and services, and to continuous improvement of the quality of processes which produce those products and services (Stoner & Wankel 1991; and forthcoming 1993).

A typical Polish management text from before the nation's recent past would cite Taylor and Fayol abundantly on the one hand,. and Marx and Lenin equally generously on the other. This approach has been called "state Taylorism" (Stoner & Wankel forthcoming 1993). Translated American management textbooks are in use (e.g., Webber 1979; Koontz & O'Donnell 1964). However, these too are in the traditional paradigm and iII-suited to world-class business now. One positive development has been the recent acquisition of recent American business texts by the management schools. Also translations of books that provide a vision of the range of business in a market economy are becoming available (e.g, one of Nickels, McHugh, McHugh 1990).

Polish management academicians have had contact with visiting Western management experts in Poland and through visiting institutions abroad, frequently in the United States. Much of these exchanges involved research and many instructors of management in Poland are now very interested in learning Western business teaching techniques such as the case study method.

On December 6, 1991 the Scientific Society of Organization and Management [Towarzystwo Naukowe Organizacji i Kicrownictwa or TNOiK] held a conference of representatives of 70 institutions offering business programs, of which 37 were recently opened ones. TNOiK offered to coordinate these schools' activities as well help to develop appropriate minimal standards for Polish business schools. An external standard that they decided to use initially was that of the International Society of Business Education (ISBE). They translated various ISBE evaluation inventories for Polish business schools to complete to see which schools met the criteria, to spotlight where improvement might be needed, and to assist in developing new Polish standards. This was seen as particularly important in an environment in which such schools sometimes seemed to materialize out of thin air, and there are plans to use this information to establish standards and ranking.

The 37 new schools of business are diverse. They vary greatly in purpose, in duration of studies (most are one- or two-year), in the scheduling of classes, in program rigor, whether they have loosely organized courses or a tightly structured curriculum, and whether their students are fulltime or part-time or both. Most are privately supported. They include some firms that are mostly consulting firms but which also offer in-house training. We will provide more detailed descriptions of two schools that we are familiar with.

One of the authors has taught in the Polish-American School of Business established by the Cracow Industrial Society [Polsko-Amerykanska Szkola Biznesu] in the end of 1990 in Cracow. This school is financed by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and other American sources. The U.N.D.P. has sponsored some of the instructors. Faculty are recruited in the United States from both university professors and businesspersons. Some are Polish ex-patriors whose command of Polish facilitates instruction. Many faculty members are volunteers receiving stipends that only cover basic expenses; Peace Corps volunteers teach business English. The school uses textbooks and computers from the United States. Its curriculum is modeled on the typical American MBA course of study. The school has two programs: A two-year day diploma program for secondary school graduates endorsed by the Polish Ministry of Education, and a graduate program. (A degree equivalent to the MBA is being planned.) Currently, there are six core required courses in the areas of economics, management, marketing, and accounting. Electives are available in business law, finance, human behavior in organizations, and management. Instruction in computers and business English is also offered. Courses are scheduled four-hours weekly on a semester basis. The pedagogy prominently features the case study method. Students are encouraged to borrow English language business books from the school's growing library. Since the students' level of English language skill varies, there is a need to translate case studies. This is complicated by many lacunas in Polish in the vocabulary of modern business: for example, phrases such as "opportunity costs" and "competitive advantage" present difficulties and choices. The students are keenly interested in the dynamics of American business and they encourage the use of cutting edge teaching approaches; students are active participants in classes. In the Fall 1991 term there were 240 students, including new entrepreneurs, managers from both privately and state owned companies, students from local universities, and even faculty members from other local schools. Some of the students have credentials in engineering and other disciplines, and are planning to begin new careers in business.

Some schools rely primarily on tuition for financing. One of the most notable of the new schools in this category is the privately established and run International Business School [Miedzynarodowa Szkola Zarzadzania] rounded in 1989 by a group of academicians from Warsaw University that had teaching experience in the U.S. The school employs both foreign and Polish instructors. It has an agreement for cooperation with the Copenhagen School of Business and has four instructors from the London School of Business. Applicants for faculty positions here are evaluated without consideration of the funding they might come with, and the quality of their credentials is the sole consideration. This school has a two-year MBA modeled on the executive MBA program of the University of Illinois-UrbanaChampaign, and also provides in-house training programs for Polish companies on their own premises. By early 1992, they had already held two graduations. Students, who are recruited from the ranks of business management, take one week of rigorous classes at the school monthly, and are required to study English. The initial class in 1989 was half from private and half from state owned businesses. By early 1992, the proportion was closer to 80 percent from private and 20 percent from state-owned firms; enrollment is about 100. A program for small business entrepreneurs is contemplated that would not require English language ability. Instructional materials have been about 50 percent in Polish and 50 percent in English which is a ratio the administration is comfortable with. In-house translations of materials have been undertaken. Students pay the equivalent of $600 to $800 per semester which is about 3 to 4 times a typical monthly income in Poland.

Some of the schools face difficulty in maintaining enrollment levels. Even so, new programs continue to sprout, often with foreign affiliation. Some schools charge more than $2000 annual tuition. Some provide internships in the various business functions. Placement activities generally seem undeveloped. Some graduates are placed in foreign companies, others in private Polish firms; some take management posts. others become multi-lingual secretaries. World class management education can contribute to the creation of a nucleus of businesspeople subscribing to the values of world class corporate cultures. As this happens, they may be an important catalyst for Poland's economic future.


Fayol, H. (1949; orig. 1916) General and Industrial Management, trans. Constance Storrs. New York: Pitman.

Koontz, H., & O'Donnell, C. (1969, 1964). Zasady zarzadzania [Principles of Management]. Warsaw: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

Nickels, W. G, McHugh, J.M., & McHugh, S.M. (1990). Understanding Business, 2nd ed. Homewood, IL: Irwin.

Stoner, J.A.F., and Wankel, C.B. (1991) "Teaching the New Global Management Paradigm: Five Years' Experience." Best Papers Proceedings, Fifty-First Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, pp. 126-130. Miami Beach: Academy of Management.

Stoner, J.A.F., & Wankel, C.B. (forthcoming 1993). "Point of Decision for Poland: To Teach the Old or the New Management Paradigm?" Journal of Management Development.

Taylor, F.W. (1947; orig. 1911) The Principles of Scientific Management. New York: Norton.

Webber, R. (1990, 1984) Zasady zarzadzania organizacjami [Principles of Management]. Warsaw: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Ekonomiczne.
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Title Annotation:Symposium: Business Education in Eastern Europe
Author:Wankel, Charles; Advocate, Monika
Publication:Review of Business
Date:Mar 22, 1992
Previous Article:Historical background of management development in Central and Eastern Europe.
Next Article:Western management training in Poland: a case study.

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