Management Goes to the Movies

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Management Goes to the Movies
Steve Dunphy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Management
3400 Broadway
Gary, Indiana 46408
Proposed herein is a framework for formulating and implementing an elective course: “Management Goes to the Movies.” For a typical fifteen week semester, 11 full length feature films are recommended for showing, a film critique form is provided, a structure for grading the course is suggested and links are given to relevant concepts of management and business administration for the purpose of fostering additional research. It is believed that such a course would enable faculty to utilize a non-traditional vehicle: Hollywood feature films, both to reify concepts of management and to foster a new way of understanding those concepts as depicted by film. Keywords: management, movies, business administration, feature films. Introduction

Journals in the field of management education have for decades recommended both training films and more traditional, Hollywood fare for the purpose of explicating, illustrating and expanding upon various specific concepts associated with management and/or more general concepts associated with business administration (Dunphy & Koza, 2007; Dent, 2001; Harrington, 1990; Huczynski, 1994; Michaelson, & Schultheiss, 1988). However, structures for evaluating the films are rarely recommended, nor has it been suggested that a concatenation of films with implications for management and business administration might in fact constitute an entire course. The purpose of this paper is to recommend just such a concatenation as an entire course enabling faculty to utilize a nontraditional vehicle: Hollywood feature films, for the purpose of explicating then demonstrating concepts of management and business administration. In this paper, a structure is provided for critiquing each film in the “Management Goes to the Movies Evaluation Form” (please see appendix A). Links that are specific to the film and concept are provided for explicating and illustrating concepts of management or business administration. It is believed that the structure and the links can be used to foster meaningful class discussion about the films’ explication of various concepts of business administration. For example, Lawrence Roth in his article on “Introducing Students to the “Big Picture”” (2001) claims that using “commercial movies” can be “effective and highly engaging” for providing students with “meaningful exposure to …stakeholders…conflicting perspectives, interests and interactions in organizational settings” (p. 22). ASBBS Annual Conference: Las Vegas February 2009

Proceedings of ASBBS Volume 16 Number 1
Specific films which have been most prominently cited in the management education literature for their pedagogical impact include Twelve Angry Men (1959) (McCambridge, 2003); The Magnificent Seven (1960) (Huczynski, 1994); Aliens (1979) (Harrington, 1990) and Dead Poets Society (1989) (Serey, 1992). While all should be commended for these entertaining suggestions, the authors believe that some of the films are becoming too old, some too violent, some too bizarre and some too literate for showing to today’s Internet weaned undergraduates. With the exception of the McCambridge piece, rarely do these articles suggest a framework for analyzing the movies or for “connecting things up” either to the relevant concepts of management or to the topic under discussion in the textbook. Roth (2001) suggests making the connection through guest speakers and “movie modules.” The three movie modules specified are Other People’s Money ( 1991), The Efficiency Expert (1992) and Gung-Ho (1986). Bumpus (2005) likes the idea of teaching management by using motion pictures but prefers to focus the discussion on diversity rather than on the entire management rubric. In fairness it should be noted that “connecting things up” is never an easy task especially when it comes to the...
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