Apr 13 - 19, 2009

The relationship between "theory" and "practice" in business education is well acknowledged. Academicians and researchers have been writing about it for decades. Many of these considerations have been about the function that each area should play: teachers should teach; managers should apply; teachers should communicate principles; managers should train. But the relationship is far more complicated than the simple definition of functions: there are issues that surround the pace and route of change in theory and practice; there are issues surrounding the evolving roles of teachers and managers.

Today, business schools have three major academic problems. Firstly, the time required to introduce new research topics into existing curricula results in an education program being constantly obsolete. Secondly, the conventional perception in which the student is considered an 'Information consumer' and the teacher an 'Information provider' results in incompatible student-teacher relationships and a one-way flow of Information. Thirdly, combination of research and academic activities should be considered in order to manage these academic issues.

From 1960s and onwards, information technology (IT) has illustrated the rapid development, and emerged in business and become essential parts of most business firms and industrial organizations. Most organizations in all sectors of industry, business and commerce, government and academia and healthcare in the modern world are fundamentally dependent on their information systems and information technology.

Percentage of Employees getting Computer Training is a valid toll to measure the gap between theory and practice in the area of business administration. Less information technology ratio of university sector demands the employers to train their employees for the information systems and databases running in their organizations, as universities and institutions do not fulfill the information technology capabilities as per their job requirements. In a survey, 70.4% employees stated that their employers had trained them for working on the information system of the organization. While 29.6% employees stated that they did not have any sort of training. Basically, the inclusion of information technology application subjects in business administration curriculum is thin.

Percentage of Employees getting Computer related trainings in Pakistan

Information systems can be grouped into business function categories. However, in the real world, information systems are typically integrated combinations of functional information systems. Functional business systems are composed of a variety of types of information systems (transaction processing, management information, decision support, etc) that support the business functions of:




Productions/operations management

Human resource management

There is a strong emphasis in many organizations to develop such composite or cross-functional information systems that cross the boundaries of traditional business functions in order to reengineer and improve vital business processes. These organizations view cross-functional information systems as a strategic way to share information resources and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a business, thus helping it attain its strategic objectives.

Business firms are turning to Internet technologies to integrate the flow of information among their internal business functions and their customers and suppliers. Companies are using the World Wide Web and their intranets and extranets as the technology platform for their cross-functional and inter organizational information systems. Because of these factors the conventional business has been evolved into automated e-business systems.

One traditional way to bridge the gap between theory and practice in business administration is through internships or traineeships. Conventionally, internships are intended to reduce the gap between learning and working. But there are some problems. The first is that a common intention between students and business individuals often does not exist. The second is that most internships lack academic challenge because students are demoralized as low-priced labor. The third is that the length of internships varies vastly from few weeks to a whole year. This makes it hard to systematize supervision of students in their working environment. The fourth problem is that the worth of supervision by both the university and by business individuals often falls short.

Pakistani business institutions are offering very initial level information technology courses, while the industry practices involve high tech electronic business functions. Electronic-business is the use of the Internet and other networks and information technologies to support electronic commerce, enterprise communications and collaboration, and Web-enabled business processes both within a networked enterprise, and with its customers and business partners. Changes in the business landscape are affecting employee skill requirements, as well as the tools and techniques used in education, because business is changing into e-Business.

Participation of Information Technology courses in Pakistani business institutions is alarmingly dull and creating a gap between educational and industrial environments, as organizations are shifting towards the e-business. So information technology curriculum in business administration education needs to be up-to-date according to the needs of industry and international standards. Business schools should assess information technology curriculum issues in business administration education and also identify a number of IT skills that students and faculty would like to learn for their own professional development.