All companies are management academies, good or bad. Very few concerns see themselves in this light. But companies of all sizes inculcate methods, judge managerial performance, seek to improve it, provide specific training, develop concepts – and, above all, provide an endless stream of real-life case studies.
The more deliberately a company marries its educational role to the business needs, the likelier it is to succeed: witness, apparently to the power of n, America's General Electric.
In the past 17 years, GE has increased its market value from $12 billion to some $280 billion. For all that time of stupendous enrichment, the management training centre at Croton-on-Hudson (known as Crotonville) has been central to the company's vaunted management system. The three-week development course for high-fliers is so important in GE's scheme of things that CEO Jack Welch (who is even more vaunted than the system) goes to Crotonville every month to teach its70-odd students. His presence, of course, is no less important than what he teaches and preaches – and 'being there' helps him to solve six of the perennial problems of organisations.