On Strategy : What Managers Can Learn from Philosophy - PART 1

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On Strategy : What Managers Can Learn from Philosophy - PART 1

Course Details

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FREE

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  • TBA

Course Provider

Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Provider Subject Specialization
Humanities
Sciences & Technology
5001 reviews

Course Description

The business world is at first sight a world of numbers. Accounting, algorithms, processes, quarterly figures, market shares, stock options, currency exchange rates etc. In all those areas, strong management tools exist and allow leaders to track their activities, improve their strategy, and overall run their company. But another part the business world, equally important, has no numbers available. Corporate image, stress, creativity, team spirit, assertiveness, "black swans", aesthetics etc. And a lack of rigor suddenly occurs with the excuse : "Since I can't measure, I can't manage... " This is a mistake. The success of a business depends on its capacity to make a difference regarding competition. And today's differences in the eyes of a customer are probably built more on perception than on reality. To help leaders to be rigorous even without figures, great philosophers have lots of ideas. Managers are invited to rediscover th... The business world is at first sight a world of numbers. Accounting, algorithms, processes, quarterly figures, market shares, stock options, currency exchange rates etc. In all those areas, strong management tools exist and allow leaders to track their activities, improve their strategy, and overall run their company. But another part the business world, equally important, has no numbers available. Corporate image, stress, creativity, team spirit, assertiveness, "black swans", aesthetics etc. And a lack of rigor suddenly occurs with the excuse : "Since I can't measure, I can't manage... " This is a mistake. The success of a business depends on its capacity to make a difference regarding competition. And today's differences in the eyes of a customer are probably built more on perception than on reality. To help leaders to be rigorous even without figures, great philosophers have lots of ideas. Managers are invited to rediscover the art of thinking. They should understand the role of mental models, realize the importance of cognitive bias, agree on clear definitions and efficient criteria etc. When one says, for example, "We should think creatively about the future of the company," our minds immediately focus on the word "company," which is part of the daily life. But it is important to split the sentence into 4 pieces and to pay some attention to three other key words namely "think", "creatively" and "future". They all must be considered as separated topics. Creativity demands the ability to unshackle ourselves from conventional ways of thinking, to "think outside the box". But we need to go a step further. Once outside the box, we need to construct a new box or boxes (that is, new intellectual frameworks or models) to help us structure our thinking. Only once we have done so can we generate truly game-changing ideas.
Reviews 7/10 stars
8 Reviews for On Strategy : What Managers Can Learn from Philosophy - PART 1

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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
6 years, 6 months ago
This is the best course in corporate strategy I've gone. The theories are suitable both for the very small company and large international companies. A minus is the many projects, so I've done the course without completing them.
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Ricardo Teixeira profile image
Ricardo Teixeira profile image
3/10 starsCompleted
  • 86 reviews
  • 77 completed
6 years, 11 months ago
The title of this course is extremely misleading. It has nothing whatsoever to do with philosophy and even less to do with management. It uses some ideas from folk philosophy to lecture a self-help course on so-called "creativity". That is, of course, if by "creativity" you naively mean coming up with stuff out of the blue. The tone of the course is totally self-help. "Do this and you'll be creative, but hey, there's no recipe, you know what works for you, and here's how you can find it". Contradictory and useless. For example, the lecturer goes as far as teaching the left brain/right brain opposition, which is completely, 100% discredited. There is no hemisphere in the brain for creativity. Almost every idea introduced is either wrong (the lecturer clearly does not know what induction and deduction mean) or some dated theory that no longer makes much sense. The level of confusion is extreme. The staff should read the literature on ... The title of this course is extremely misleading. It has nothing whatsoever to do with philosophy and even less to do with management. It uses some ideas from folk philosophy to lecture a self-help course on so-called "creativity". That is, of course, if by "creativity" you naively mean coming up with stuff out of the blue. The tone of the course is totally self-help. "Do this and you'll be creative, but hey, there's no recipe, you know what works for you, and here's how you can find it". Contradictory and useless. For example, the lecturer goes as far as teaching the left brain/right brain opposition, which is completely, 100% discredited. There is no hemisphere in the brain for creativity. Almost every idea introduced is either wrong (the lecturer clearly does not know what induction and deduction mean) or some dated theory that no longer makes much sense. The level of confusion is extreme. The staff should read the literature on creativity. Writers, poets, painters, all say the same. Being creative is hard work. It's not following jingles and mindless "unleash your creativity" exercises. It requires rigor, discipline and sometimes even lack of liberty (some writers train their creativity by forcing themselves to write without using certain words or letters). Believe it or not, the exercises were things like categorizing lists of countries. The final exam was a peer assessment to analyse a sentence a manager could say and go through it word by word to show how he was wrong because he did not want to change strategy when looking at the competitors numbers. Well, what if he was right? I guess he couldn't be, because creativity is good in itself, and change is unavoidable - but ask any successful manager if applying this makes any sense. Even worse, in this exam there were tips for each word that had nothing whatsoever to do with what the word expressed in the sentence. These were the worst exercises I ever did. Plus, they were poorly worded, ambiguous, severely lacking concreteness (which I'm sure the lecturer would say is by design - which is even worse!). The lack of rigor is mind numbing. I stayed with the course because I kept waiting for it to get better. After the third childish exercise, I might as well get the certificate. I wanted to know in which specific ways it related to management. But that never came. The course could be called "philosophy for taxi drivers" and nothing in the contents would change. I cannot recommend it at all. I should commend the staff for teaching in English instead of insisting on nationalist views about teaching in their own native tongue, but that's about all I have to say that's positive about the experience.
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10/10 starsCompleted
7 years, 4 months ago
This was my first MOOC and I liked this new learning experience. The instructor's teaching style was easy to follow and filled with a lot of good examples where ideas from great philosophers could be easily translated to our business world today. Especially, the assignments were interesting and made me think in new ways - also evaluating other assignments was a good option to see how the participants had interpreted the task or lessons. I believe indeed that managers can indeed learn a lot from philosophy...sometimes a step back and looking at a certain fact from a different angle would help solving many business difficulties and this course somehow sensibilized me for such an attitude. Regarding the "low" level of English that other reviewers were complaining before, I do not agree. No question about the instructor, because he speaks perfectly English, but for the staff I think one should consider that this course was held by t... This was my first MOOC and I liked this new learning experience. The instructor's teaching style was easy to follow and filled with a lot of good examples where ideas from great philosophers could be easily translated to our business world today. Especially, the assignments were interesting and made me think in new ways - also evaluating other assignments was a good option to see how the participants had interpreted the task or lessons. I believe indeed that managers can indeed learn a lot from philosophy...sometimes a step back and looking at a certain fact from a different angle would help solving many business difficulties and this course somehow sensibilized me for such an attitude. Regarding the "low" level of English that other reviewers were complaining before, I do not agree. No question about the instructor, because he speaks perfectly English, but for the staff I think one should consider that this course was held by the  Ecole Centrale Paris, so obviously the staff is mainly French-speaking and English is not their mother tongue. The discrepancies in formulating assignments or answers in the forum may not only differ because of lacking knowledge in English, but simply due to the fact that you express things in a different way in another language... I have also noticed mistakes in spelling in forum answers, but I do not want to exaggerate - we have all attended this course for free and in my opinion, the assignments, emails and answers to forum threads by the staff were fully understandable. The only slightly negative point was that the staff offered to retake assignments because students were complaining all the time that they did not meet the deadline or were not able to follow the instructions of the assignments - this was in my opinion a bit too much of accommodating of complaining people.
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H . profile image
H . profile image
4/10 starsCompleted
  • 11 reviews
  • 10 completed
7 years, 5 months ago
This is the worst MOOC I've taken so far out of about 30 I've dabbled with. First, the title of the course has little to do with the course content. There is no strategy involved at all. There are no management-related issues at all. I would have called this course "Mental Models: from Philosophy to Creativity". Second, the writing assignments were very poorly written due to the staff's poor command of English. There was so much ambiguity every week that students were complaining profusely in the forums. When you graded assignments, you realized your peers had 2-3 different interpretations of the instructions. Hopefully, they'll be fixed in later sessions. The only reason I stayed with the course until the end is that it is easy and doesn't take much time, and I found the discussions of philosophy and inductive vs. deductive reasoning interesting. But in the end, I learned very little.
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Paul Gibbons profile image
Paul Gibbons profile image
2/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
7 years, 6 months ago
It says 'philosophy' but except for a brief mention in the first 30 seconds of heraclitus, and a naming of names without saying how their thought affected the modern world. (I.e. the Egyptians invented Geometry, Godel showed..., etc) It is essentially a bunch of high-school philosophy hand- waving - no philosophy, rather a sort of Readers Digest or Morning News Show description of not very interesting and not very useful concepts. I speak as a philosopher with 30 years business experience, most of which has been teaching/ consulting on strategy in business. There are no business examples either - so how would philosophical thinking have solved a (sample) business problem? I have rated every other course I have taken on coursera (about 10) - 5/5. Somehow Coursera must weed out the drivel.
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Yalda Mohammadian profile image
Yalda Mohammadian profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 completed
7 years, 5 months ago
The name of the course is a bit deceptive. The course has more to do with creativity and includes some examples of philosophers. The lectures were quite interesting to watch. I did not participate with the homework assignments, so the course only took me about an hour a week for watching the lectures. Overall quite interesting/thought provoking, however I doubt that it's a very useful course for managers.
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Bart olomeus profile image
Bart olomeus profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 15 reviews
  • 13 completed
7 years, 3 months ago
Interesting and useful knowledge. Not just for managers, but everyone with an interested in perspectives explained in terms of thinkers, philosophers, writers, poets and scientists. I find quite a few of his ideas original. With that I mean the way he uses well known philosophical concepts to explain or view daily phenomenon. Which include quite a few phenomena from the business world. Every week you are asked to do a peer assessed write-up related to the lectures of the past week. Not just to show you've watched the video's but also to express some of you own knowledge and creativity using the methods just taught.
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Christina Sereti profile image
Christina Sereti profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 2 reviews
  • 0 completed
7 years, 7 months ago
Up to know it is superb! Lecture 2 can change everything you know about thinking. It is not just for managers bout for everyone that is willing to learn about the how and what of the mind.
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