The sheer size of today’s corporations — and they are getting bigger — means that they are more vulnerable than ever to crises, either from natural origins or those manufactured. As noted earlier, crises are extremely difficult to predict. This problem is exacerbated by the trend in the 1970s and 80s to develop managers as specialists. The finance director knows about finance and little else; similarly the marketing director, the technology director and the operations director all have their specialist fields. This smokestack approach — like tennis balls in a box — leads to gaps in the management structure. This means that a finance director, driven rightly by profits and earnings per share, would often lose sight of the bigger picture. However, in the 1990s, this trend began to be reversed and the manager as a generalist as well as a specialist began to come into vogue. MBA programmes widen their focus and smaller programmes, such as the excellent Programme for Executive Development as run by the IMD in Lausanne, produce managers who are far more rounded than they were previously.
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