Presentation of the Disciplinary Field

The value and importance of the concept of management can’t be denied. Its use and utility demonstrates itself every day in every aspect of the organisation of human activities, indeed whether economic, social, public or humanitarian and even private.

Management is the essential competence which enables people to live and to grow through evolutions and transformations of our environment. Many generations fared more or less well through the evolution of societies. Management is not exclusive to our culture; it belongs to every society. Management goes beyond the boundaries of a company, market and even economics.

The genuine management function intertwines different logics of actions that have to interact around a common goal. It’s about a transversal activity which the exercise of the duty requires natural skills:

  • Behavioural skills: undertaking, taking initiatives, innovate, process information, analyse, solve problems, make judgement, take decision, and anticipate, project the future.
  • Technical: accounting and financial management, human resources, supply chain management, information systems management.

Management is an attitude but also an ability to reason and to act.

  • An attitude:
    •  Management is, first and foremost, human. Life principles in human communities pave the way for any management activity. Understanding other people, respecting the other, involve the other, share with the other are the bedrock without which there cannot be any kind of management. Dialogue, reasoning, decision, communication, delegation, motivation and evaluation imply deep human relationships between the players of a project, of an idea. Management incorporates differences to recognize everyone’s place and contributing role.
    • Management is ethical. In this context, fundamental believes or philosophical inspirations have a role to play. Management cannot ignore the fundamental principles in which every human being believes since it is a human discipline. Justice, respect and tolerance, integrity and solidarity are essential values that must exist in all aspects of management.
    • Management is visionary. It anticipates, defines the future. Analysing the past, understanding the present are essential to design and target an improved future. Management is open and sets itself its limits. Management is not complacent; it thrives on managing potential evolution and improvement. Besides triggering change, management mirrors the process of adapting to required, expected or unexpected changes.
    • Management is pragmatic. It involves and implies itself very practically in real-life experience. It drives change, it improves operational conditions, it brings value daily through the improvement of performances. Without any tangible positive effects, management cannot be justified.
  • An ability: Management is the processing of knowledge and skills put in perspective for a goal of change. Management doesn’t apply to what exists. It improves, transforms what exists.
    • Ability to understand: Management is based on thorough knowledge about how economics, markets, companies and organisations work. Management reveals itself in a complex, ambiguous and evolving environment. Reading, decoding and questioning theories are characteristics of management that want to anchor itself in the reality of life. The continuous dialogue enables the understanding of existing strengths and weaknesses; it allows the detection of incipient evolutions and future ambitions that arise within companies/organisations.
    • Power of integration: Management is the networking of information, knowledge, resources. The ability to connect various skills and to integrate specialised disciplines, to allow people having different views to work together is a core feature of management.
    • Creativity skill: Beyond anticipating, forecasting, management has to be creative in order to specify the targeted framework of the outcome of a project. Thanks to management the vision of project comes to life, distant horizons are within reach and tangible. Creativity must reveal itself in the tailoring of solutions to new circumstances, to new players, to innovating projects to which previous proven recipes don’t apply any more. Creativity has to prove itself in the execution as much as in the conceptualization and imagination.
    • Decision ability: Management must inspire, tap into resources: board members, internal and external partners. The ability to take decisions, communicate those decisions, to support them, and to breathe life into them within the organisation pointing out the connection with the common goals is the purpose of management. Depending on circumstances, the ability to decide can translate itself into the pursuit and the creation of a consensus or into a commanding attitude showing the risk-taking ability.
    •  Adaptation capacity: Evolving is a crucial point for any organization. Management means matching behaviours, decisions, and ways of thiking and analyses them to ensure they are relevant to an ever evolving world. These evolutions or “revolutions” can be technological, societal, and generational. The profound mutations as well as changes on a daily basis request an ability to adapt permanently that management must reflect.

Relative to the Brussels School of Management

The first and foremost mission of ICHEC is “teaching a global skill in management” within the framework of fundamental ethical values which are respect, integrity and solidarity. The teaching of management applies itself through initial and continuous training.

The teaching of management aims to prepare the future managers to adopt these attitudes and to master these abilities. Through all management techniques, which have to be mastered in their reasoning aspects and their daily operational aspects, teaching has to focus on the value and use of all the managing tools available such as finance, accounting, controlling techniques, marketing, logistics human resources, international development, communication and information technologies and strategy.

The mastery of these techniques and the ability to implement them can not be considered as management but rather administration. Essentially, teaching management has to question the current practices of management or past experiences so that the genuine purpose of management can emerge. Management teaching has to put forward the formalized techniques bearing in mind that managerial reasoning has to evolve with a sense of perspective to enable the development of new and relevant attitudes for today’s society and tomorrow’s environment. The development of these abilities should also be promoted to allow the taking on of responsibility both in reflection and in action always respecting core values.

Concerning students

Students enrol at ICHEC in a “Management School”, and therefore sign up to acquire management skills. Management is mainly the ability to run a project, a team, and complex situations using the means available to the manager. Students need to realize that management is the cornerstone of their training and that all the subject matters that they will be studying (finance, accounting, law …) during the programme are in fact tools that will enable them to take the right managerial decisions.

Management is, in fact, the spinal cord of their training by helping them develop the capacity to use tools, sciences and techniques available in all the other disciplines at their disposal. It is therefore important to create and improve cohesiveness between the management lectures so that practical aspects may be recognized by the students and especially now that professors are professional managers who can illustrate their classes with practical examples from their managerial experience. The corporate strategy class in Master 1 plays a comprehensive role which will be emphasized during their internship in Master 2.

As above professors

Reciprocal partnerships with other professors could be more widespread and enhanced to allow teachers to include managerial aspects in their courses and that management courses can, in turn give managerial examples including aspects of other disciplines. ICHEC positions itself as a “Management School”, it is of prime importance that this aspect is reflected in every class and not only in management courses.

Head of Management Department

Anne Rousseau