Operations Management Curriculum: Literature Review and Analysis

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Request a copy of the paper from the author: John K. Visich




A review and analysis of studies dealing with the interface between Operations Management (OM) academia and industry practitioners indicates the existence of a persistent gap between what is being taught and what is relevant to practitioner?s daily jobs. This analysis has found that the majority of practitioner studies have been directed at upper management levels, instead of the actual practitioners in OM functions. Yet academia typically educates students for entry level (undergraduate) and mid-management (MBA) positions, indicating a mismatch between the studies and the respondents. A reoccurring finding in our analysis of these studies was that practitioners favor qualitative concepts while academicians prefer to teach quantitative techniques. A review of the OM curriculum literature shows some disagreements between academicians concerning subject matter, and a wide variety of teaching opinions. These divergent opinions are due to the expansion of OM into new topical areas such as service management, international operations, supply chain management and the new E-economy, and this has created an identity crisis within OM. Also, the gap between practitioners and academia has also been accompanied by a declining interest in the study of OM by university level students. This paper provides an extensive analytical review of OM curriculum literature along with their respective authors conclusions. From this analysis we suggest a customer-focused business plan to close the gap between industry and academia, and renew student interest in OM. This plan can be modified to account for faculty teaching and research interests, local industry requirements and institution specific factors such as class sizes and resources.

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