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Newsgroups: comp.risks
X-issue: 8.12
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 89 00:21:32 EST
From: attcan!utzoo!henry@uunet.UU.NET
Subject: Re: Losing Systems

>Managers see knowledge about computing only useful to engineers and 
>programmers. Business schools for the most part do not teach computer 
>literacy, nor how a non-technical manager should deal with a large software 
>system in his company...

This is actually part of a larger problem.  I recall reading an interview
with a Japanese business-methods type lecturing in the US.  One of the
first things he asks his students to do is solve a simple quadratic equation.
Many of them are baffled; most are offended.  He then explains to them, as
gently as possible, that one cannot do any form of optimization (of costs,
production rate, whatever) without solving quadratics (at least).  North
American business schools, by and large, have the same preoccupations as
North American businesses:  mergers, acquisitions, advertising, and legal
maneuvering, as opposed to making better products at lower cost.  The
problem, increasingly, is not that managers are ignorant of technical
issues, but that they consider them unimportant.  The ignorance is an
effect, not a cause.
                                     Henry Spencer at U of Toronto Zoology

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