The funny thing with management studies is that almost everything can be viewed or can be construed to be a genuiene persepective of the real world or a pure lie – and it doesn’t end there, since that is exactly how the corporate (and otherwise) world seems to work.
First, let me talk about Statistics or Quantitative Methods or whatever fancy name you want to call the fundamental branch of Operations Research. There are times when you cannot agree more with Taleb and his Fooled by Randomness or Black Swan. A 95% confidence interval is going to be just that – it will be wrong the other 5% of the times. Statisticians will argue that yes, that’s precisely the point, and we care of that 95% of the time, let the 5% go to Pluto for a mining expedition. Unfortunately, analysts and future managers (or I-Bankers) often tend to ignore this fine print, so that they can sleepÂ peacefully for the few hours that they manage to squeeze in between the markets and the commute and the demanding work environment.Â In fact, the whole concept of normal distribution and the many approximations to it (when the sample sizes increase beyond, hold you breath, 30 items, because research has shown that 30 samples are statistically sufficient for such an approximation) appears to be extremely fraudy at so many levels.
Life is not a statistic. Life is not a sample. It is not something that can be put into numbers. Do not ever believe in such a thing as 9 times out of 10 the crow won’t do its thing on you, because there will be that one day when s/he will, 10 times in a row. Statistically proven or not. And then you are screwed – but only so much, since it is not the sub-prime for crying out loud. And the explanation – that’s the flaw in the process; it is bound to happen. So let us all be happy and gay and let the world pick the tab of our expenses and misdealings; of our artificial inflation of incomes and display of extraordinary intelligence and knack.
The other thing is Financial Accounting. When one manages an industry, I find it rather difficult to digest, inspite of the best sauces and seasonings, that anything is really planned and laundered so that some god-damned (and I’m supposed to be agnostic)Â financial ratio is satisfied and things look good on the financial statements. And frankly, it doesn’t matter. Because everything can be manipulated to prove whatever you, presumably the maximum stakeholder, assuming that you have the control and the power and more importantly, that ability to manipulate, would like to prove to the market, to the investors, and to whoever cares to go and read your declaration to this world.
So what is it? Are the financial statements the true indicators of the performance of a firm? Or do we need to resort to the now popular concepts of the Balanced Score Card and the like? Which, I don’t really see how otherwise, are not immune to the very same things that plague the financial statements. Or are the industries actually run as per these financial statements?
What about the globe that is Behavioral Sciences – or Organizational Behaviour? We all know that these are some of the things that we ought to do, or not ought to do, and think before we speak, and get a detached view and put ourselves in the shoes of others (which is such a stupid thing to do, because I wouldn’t be able to control myself rolling on the floor, or in this case, sole of the shoe, because either I’d have to be really tiny to fit into somebody’s shoe, or the shoe would have to be really really big – both cases are really funny and are blog-post-material for some other time) and get that perspective because we have studied a subjecet at some point in our academic life. Sure. All that is fine. But do we, nay, are we really capable of doing this?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not writing this diatribe to deride the way this world works. No, madam (or sir, lest you call me sexist). Because in a few months, I’ll be very much a part of this world as well, and then I’ll be expected to do the same, and I’ll adjust and accept – like we have been doing for ages for now. That besides the point. This is not meant to be some sort of a ethical dilemma or some big eye-opener. Hardly.
It’s just arbit stuff – stuff I know not at this point of time to make sense of.
(Don’t I just love writing long sentences with zillions of digressing clauses running into each other so that you, my dear reader, get so absolutely lost, and being the brave one that you are, you won’t bother to even ask directions to the next knowledgable punctuation mark heading your way; in fact, it has gotten so bad these days that I can hardly read anything without my mind running into tangents that try to traverse the most obscure of the topics possible, so that the end result is that I end up spending all the time in the world without doing anything really worthwhile, and of course,Â ending my sentences with prepositions, like in the paragraph before?)
(Gee, I have become a manager, after all!)