If you have ever played buzzword bingo then I’m sure you will be very familiar with the now cliched term ‘think outside the box’.
Like lots of management ideas the phrase points to an important insight about the way we can all become locked into routine patterns of thinking. Gareth Morgan calls these our psychic prisons, Social Theorist Anthony Giddens alerts us to operating within the limits of our knowledgabilty, and Chris Argyis describes the distinction between single loop and double loop problem solving, in which the solutions to our problems frequently lie outside of the system where they occur.
Thinking, whether inside or outside the box is often belittled by practicing managers. Often they will say they can be doing something more useful than thinking. I find that rather strange because every action is based on an idea (however implicit)
Developing your thinking is the primary purpose of all higher education business studies programmes. This is not always made explicit. Often Business School prospectii simply mention what courses are (their features) rather than explain what the courses do for the student (their benefits)
Many people have no idea that purpose of business studies degrees has been carefully thought through by The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (who? I here you say) and The Association of Business Schools.
By studying for a business degree you are embarking on course of personal development that will guide you in four key areas:
i – reflective mindset – recognise assumptions and learn from experience
ii – change master – recognise and manage ambiguity, competing demands, and facilitate change
iii – effective manager – recognise and choose best courses of action amongst alternatives
iv- analytical thinker – deeply understand the nature of business phenomena
Combined, these four areas together with the experience of study itself will help anyone develop a capability for thinking outside the box. So whatever business degree you choose whether that’s a bachelor’s degree, a specialist MA or Msc or a generalist MBA thinking outside the box comes as standard.