5 Reasons Why Theory Is As Important As Practice
Theory is often considered a waste of time. This article presents a logical rebuttal of the commonly held perception of theoretical learning.
Most MBA students, even those from the best b-schools of India, believe that reading theory is a waste of time.
Take the adage, “Give a man a fish and he is not hungry for a day; teach a man to fish and he will not be hungry ever!” what we want is the fish, not the theory behind catching fish.
When I ask someone for help in a particular situation, and he gives me theoretical answers and asks me to figure it out, I feel impatient and betrayed. I want a quick pill that will help alleviate the symptoms.
Theoretically, once the symptoms are gone, I can do a root cause analysis to prevent recurrence. But this rarely happens. We do not revisit the doctor if the symptoms are gone.
Let us take the doctor analogy further, should we go to:
The answer is logically obvious:
But emotionally, we do it the reverse way -
Even in corporate life, we try the old tested ways based on the experience of the employees. Sometimes we hire consultants because like doctors, they are detached from the problem and they have learnt more theory.
Only a doctor trained in root cause analysis would ask the right questions and recommend the tests to find the cause of the fever. A good doctor has the following characteristics:
A quack, on the other hand, know only point 3 above: some experience and a smattering of bookish knowledge form the most convenient layman book available.
So, why read theory?
Students sometimes decide that they would rather have practical experience and case analysis, because
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Prof. Chandra Kant, is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and currently, a senior professor at Indus Business Academy, one of the Best B-Schools of India. He teaches, change management, business leadership and Self Management.