Literature Review Chapter: Liberal Arts and Business How Liberal Arts Relates

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Liberal Arts and Business: How Liberal Arts Relates to Business

Liberal arts and business

There has been a huge debate roaring in Canada and the U.S. On the virtues of a broad education system as compared to a practical education system Carr, 2009.

This debate is and continues being heated for many reasons. Siegfried and Bidani (1992)

assert that the most important reasons are powerful emotional factors. In the past, vocational training was reserved for the lower classes while the more academic subjects which include the liberal arts were reserved for the upper classes. In the present, this argument continues roaring on as a result of the many people who are in favor of the liberal arts. These people have this favoritism as a result of their sense of elitism. The other emotional driver of this argument is the sense that this world that we are currently living in has become dominated by business and thus this kind of domination has led to change in the education system to concentrate more on training people to become good employees thus shutting out any kind of appreciation of the other aspects of being human that are regarded as more important Roland, 1999()

This divide is not necessarily unbridgeable. Pace and Connolly (2000)

state that advocates for the liberal arts do not bear a denial that there is need for practical training and more importantly regarding business. Thus, to some extent, they recognize the value of liberal arts in the business world. Advocates for the liberal arts know very well in their hearts that this kind of education will make a huge difference between how the people think and what they are able to see. Liberal arts teach students to apply their knowledge into the practical business world.

Business and liberal arts

If businesses place value in liberal arts, it would be expected that companies will seek graduated from the disciplines of liberal arts. Placement officers in Universities have a profound belief that students of liberal arts have the skills that businesses need to get their work done. They believe that the graduates of liberal arts have skill such as writing, research, critical thinking, and verbal communication. Businesses should thus seek graduates who have these skills rather than just looking at the person's degree or qualifications. Universities have created a profile of essential skills for new graduates and these are the ones that are liberal arts graduates are given Moore, 1998()

There are also some hiring managers who argue that an education in liberal arts doesn't help the students to get a good job. Their argument is based on the thinking that employers want more than candidates who are learned. They want specific skill sets. Delucchi (1997)

showed that other managers, on the other hand, have stated that graduates of liberal arts have skill sets that are important for their businesses. Some of these skill sets include passion, being great thinkers, asking questions to get clarification, ability and courage to think independently and critically, questioning what others say, being their own thinker, seeing the bigger picture, and dealing effectively with ambiguity and complexity Volkwein & Sweitzer, 2006()

The business world continues to become complicated. There is a need for morally ethical and procedural managers who work face-to-face with challenges that were not imaginable before. Demands of customers are changing and there is a global possibility to keep making fundamental possibilities to sustain the current successes of the world Lutz, 1979.

Innovation in the education sector can thus go a long way to create a positive future for businesses.

Scholars play a vital role in shaping the capacity of the future leaders of businesses. They hold the opportunity to alter the lives of students to make them fit into their potential and into the huge potential of the business world. Bauman (1987)

posits that such radical ideals require communities to have dedicated people. This is why there is a huge debate regarding how liberal arts affect and relate to the business world.

Liberal arts teach about resource-sharing and they facilitate collaborative exchange of knowledge. The purpose of this is to foster dialogue among business professionals in order to cultivate responsible global citizens in the world who will change tomorrow's business world. It is the belief of the liberal arts world that the business world needs a positive change and this change could come by enhancing the vision of business and creating a strong business education that would make tomorrow's business world to be a better place for all.

Liberal arts and leadership

Liberal arts have developed into sciences that teach about the parlance of employment and they also encourage good quality leadership skills. Liberal arts teach that leadership is ubiquitous. Leadership shouldn't be reserved for supervisory duties only Toombs & Thomas, 1976.

It can be done everywhere. It involves being a mentor, giving a good example and having a relationship with followers in order to create a healthier work environment that makes businesses successful.

Liberal arts teach that leaders should have the ability to visualize what needs to be done next and how they can describe it to their followers. This involves leaders being able to see a problem before it ensues and also being able to think big to solve these problems as soon as they are envisioned. Liberal arts also teach leaders to demonstrate initiative Toombs & Thomas, 1976.

It teaches them to be good examples to their followers. This helps the followers to emulate their leaders and follow the right path.

Liberal arts also help leaders to be more comfortable with ambiguity. This is important in prioritizing issues especially when there are conflicts in the priorities and also when they need to change interpretations of the facts which may cause the followers to see like the leaders are inconsistent in their direction and strategy when they end up forgetting what they said the last time Toombs & Thomas, 1976()

Liberal arts teach leaders not to be surprised by any strange behavior by the individuals they lead or by the emotional reactions of the members of the group. They need to understand that everyone has their opinion and that their opinion needs to be respected Toombs & Thomas, 1976.

This also deals with human motivation where leaders are taught the essentials of motivating human beings through liberal arts.

Liberal arts also teach people to work well with others no matter what their cultural background, race, religion, color, etc. is. Through liberal arts, leaders are taught to accept all individuals in the organization and to understand their differences Toombs & Thomas, 1976.

They also learn that these differences will bring differences in social interaction, conventions and communication in the workplace and this leads to a better work place where everyone understands the other and there is reduced conflict.

Leaders also learn through liberal arts not to be bosses. They learn that how they react in the workplace is important in reinforcing the workforce to make the workplace better. Therefore, liberal arts teach leadership how they should be like in action and thus the need to be well-prepared in all situations no matter how challenging they are through motivating their employees and proper prioritization Toombs & Thomas, 1976()

Liberal arts and employees

Liberal arts also prepare students to become good employees. It helps them to understand the nature of national cultures and the importance of good effective communication in the work place. It also teaches students to be visual and to be able to use their imagination and through communication to work together as teams in order to get the work done in a timely fashion. Dean and Dolan (2001)

assert that liberal arts also call on the ability to write clearly and speak well in order to carry forward on plans and ideas generated from the different brainstorming meetings in the organization.

Liberal arts also teach about ambiguity to students as they become future employees. They learn how to specialize in determinism. This is where they learn how to prioritize issues and to find the right thing to do at the right time Dean & Dolan, 2001.

This is important in the business situation where they are able to handle their workload effectively and to be able to find the issues that are most important to deal with first.

An interesting observation in liberal arts graduates is that they are usually determined to even work on things that they are not well versed in. This is because they have learnt to be determined and to take chances in their work regardless of how complex the situation is. Employees with liberal arts backgrounds also have learnt to be effective communicators, researchers, readers and researchers Dean & Dolan, 2001.

These are essential human behaviors in the workplace. Liberal arts also teach employees the need to plan ahead. They learn the importance of creating schedules and trying to beat deadlines at all times.

Emotional smarts and liberal arts

Emotional smartness is extremely important in the business… [END OF PREVIEW]

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