Daily question: License MBAs?


“..there’s no universally accepted set of professional values backed up by a governing body with the power to censure managers who deviate from the code.”

So say the authors of a recent Harvard Business Review article (via the Economist.com) on why MBAs should be licensed. They argue:

“Codes create and sustain a feeling of community and mutual obligation that members have toward each other and toward the profession.”

Hopefully, such nutty ideas won’t dominate the re-regulatory landscape brewing up in reaction to the financial meltdown and we’ll be smarter than that.

After all, more than half of the licensed American internists and rheumatologists, for example, routinely prescribe placebo treatments to their patients and consider them to be ethically permissible.

I point this out only in relation to the persistent call of a very small but vocal minority of designers and designer-wannabes to license designers, like doctors. People who love rules, regulations, shortcuts, best practices, six sigmas, templates, processes and anything else that’s the progeny of bureaucracy love licenses. Especially if they are the ones to set up the licensing rules and, of course, monetarily benefit from the license umbrella.

If licensing is the answer to design what’s the question?

2 thoughts on “Daily question: License MBAs?

  1. Jon: “viewing a candidate’s valid, up to date ‘license’ is really the lazy way to try and determine their abilities”

    Which is precisely what the controlling bureaucratic contingency within most large organizations would prefer: a quick filter. Whether the filter is good or not is secondary at best. Yep, it’s a crazy idea alright.

  2. Seems like a pretty crazy idea to me. I’d say it’s better to go with what’s worked in the past, which is basing trust on one’s reputation and past experience. In fact, viewing a candidate’s valid, up to date “license” is really the lazy way to try and determine their abilities. No real information required.

Comments are closed.