OFMOS: Why Now


Note: The following post is an extended version of the section "Why Now" from the 2018 crowdfunding campaign for the game OFMOS.

In 1967, the economist Herbert A. Simon published his influential paper The Business School - A Problem in Organizational Design, in which he explained that, driven by an inherent tendency to separate science (discipline orientation) from art (practice orientation), "the natural equilibrium of a professional school is mediocrity and futility":

"Organizing a professional school or an R & D department is very much like mixing oil with water: it is easy to describe the intended product, less easy to produce it. And the task is not finished when the goal has been achieved. Left to themselves, the oil and water will separate again. So also will the disciplines and the professions."

And so, in 2018, we are witnessing a growing trend in which the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, the crown jewel of business education, is giving way to narrower specializations. "A growing number of institutions are rejecting the traditional two-year courses," finds the Financial Times:

"A decade ago, he decided not to offer an MBA because employers told him they wanted to hire students straight out of university, in order to develop them through internal training programmes. MBA students, who typically spend several years working before attending business school, were considered 'less malleable', Mr Estrin says. Employers 'wanted more specific sets of skills, such as critical thinking'."

in his 1967 paper, Simon suggested that, to maintain a business school's relevance, an overarching theory that brings and holds together all the disciplines is needed:

"A full solution, therefore, of the organizational problem of the professional schools hinges on the prospect of developing an explicit, abstract, intellectual theoy of the processes of synthesis and design, a theory that can be analysed and taught in the same way that the laws of chemistry, physiology, and economics can be analysed and taught."

And that's what we are proposing here: a "big picture" theory, embodied in a simple board game, aiming to make business learning more meaningful and more accessible.

Cristian Mitreanu