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Microsoft word - innovat-on-systems-magmt-educi-n-mexico.doc

Héctor Javier Vázquez, Ricardo A. Estrada García y Conferencia Presentada en el 28th. Annual Meeting, West Decision Science Institute, Pto. Vallarta, Jalisco, México, Abril 1999 - Abstract -
This paper describes two of the most important innovations introduced on higher education, related to systems and management at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City. Systems concepts, tools and methods have largely influenced the whole design and operation of our university. Undergraduate education programs in two of our campuses have specially emphasized the implementation of the relationship between systems, decisions and management. Analysis and synthesis of the evolution of the two experiences, set-up the basis to build a scenario to confront the commencement of the coming century, to contribute more efficiently and effectively to the development of our country within the world concerto. Campus Xochimilco has been created based on a visionary idea that 25 years later has become the paradigmatic model of world's leader firms, the learning organizations. Experience on design and working on management's academic programmes is treated and analyzed within this paper. Introduction
The creation and beginning Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) at Mexico City in 1974, as one of the diverse actions undertaken in our country to impel the Reform of the Education, was meant to surpass the conceptualization of the traditional university. The modernization of public higher Education in Mexico began with the Undergraduate educating programs in two of our campuses have specially emphasized the implementation of the relationship between systems, decisions and management. Analysis and synthesis of the evolution of the two experiences, set-up the basis to build a scenario to confront the commencement of the coming century, to contribute more efficiently and effectively to the development of Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM)
Social manifestations of the Sixties gave account as much to National level as at worldwide level, confronted the problematic State Policy on economic, social and educative issues. Mexican educative system, essentially promoted from the state, it undertook a significant reform to begin to introduce changes (which had let become several tens of years ago) and to respond to the necessities and demands of our society. Several actions were undertaken by that educative reform in higher levels. On one side to contender with the increasing demand and to diversify the alternatives of education supply. Here there was the intention to limit the growth of the two main institutions of education of the country: Universidad Nacional Autónoma of Mexico (UNAM) and Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN). On the other hand, that new educative supply contemplated new academic and administrative models for the higher education, leaving the Napoleonic University model that had come long influencing to the higher education institutions of our country. UAM adopted a decentralized structure in where a General Rectory coordinates, of certain way, to unify the activities of three university campuses, each one with its own Campus Rectoría: Azcapozalco (UAM-A), Iztapalapa (UAM-I) and Xochimilco (UAM-X), are our three campuses. From these levels of organizational structure, it was considered pertinent and indispensable to use the concept of "system", to create all integrated. Systemic concepts not only influenced on the organizational concept, but also into academic aspects and between academic and the administrative ones. For the organization of each campus, it was considered indispensable to surpass the structure of schools and research centers and to promote systemic integration with a departmental structure. Thus, each campus counts on three Divisions, of between the four existing: Basic Sciences and Engineering (CBI), Social Sciences and Humanities (CSH), Biological Sciences and of Health (CBS) and Sciences and Arts for Design (CyAD). Each one of these Divisions adopted a matrix structure grouping departments that interacted with academic programs at undergraduate and graduate levels. On each campus interaction between Divisions is also promoted. The Divisions' departments were designed to promote integrated action of teaching - learning and research, on which professors and students participate actively. Fundamental characteristic of UAM, implanted by different ways on each campus, is promotion of actions based on the trinomial education learning research. Another main characteristic of UAM, have been to impulse the process and the products of the education trinomial, as a better way to be connected with our country's reality. This is stated in the amplest possible form, as well as with its closest context of regional influence on the great metropolis Mexico City, so that they affect on a more direct and effective ways its own development. As one of the essential characteristics of UAM, is to be one of the first higher education institutions in our country in formally promoting the interdisciplinary teamwork to complement the actions of its integration. Along these characteristics of UAM, it is that of installing the first departments with systemic approach in our country's higher education institutions. Biological systems, Methods and Systems, Systems, the Man and its Environment, to name only some which reflect the influence of this conception that has clarified the designs and operation of our university. This way has worked trying to superpose the limitations of a way to perceive. To think and to act with respect to nature and reality based only on an analytical and deterministic reductionism, in which only the repeatability of phenomena and the rebuttal of hypothesis are the fundamental way to generate knowledge. Systemic concepts, that integrate different forms as well to approach decisions on one renewed administration, have seated, partly, the basis not only of one renewed university, but that as a new university for the new century. Systems on Campus UAM-A
The divisions of CBI, CSH and CyAD integrate Azcapozalco campus of our university (UAM-A). The first academic department of Systems in the universities of our country was created pending on CBI division. Implanted as it was the concepts of systems, formal and intensely, it helped in the activities of trinomial teaching learning research, not only on engineering undergraduate programs, but also on the other two divisions of the campus (Management in CSH and Industrial Design in CYAD, among others). Systems concepts importance in our university, as it has come indicating, marked this very concept especially in this department. Emphasis on systemic concepts was adopted there, like the apprehension of the "whole", which cannot be divided in independent parts and where the effects of behavior of the parts in the " whole " depend upon the behavior of the other parts. A reason why the essential properties of a system are lost when parted. Systems concepts promote a way to perceive, to think and to act based on an expansionistic doctrine, which considers that although knowledge can be derived for the "whole" from the knowledge of its parts, understanding of "whole" is only derived from understanding of bigger "wholes" of which it comprises. It is promoted the synthetic or systemic thought to explain the behavior of the system, through first identify a greater "whole" to which it belong the system that one wishes to explain. And secondly, explain the behavior or property of the greater "whole", to pass thirdly to explain the behavior or property of the system that want to be explained in terms of it(s) roll(s) or function(s) within the whole that is been contained. Thus, synthesis precedes analysis, complementing itself both. Systems concepts emphasize the probabilistic consideration of interactions, like producer-product and not of a deterministic cause-effect. The context of the system is then required to explain everything. The complete, total understanding of the whole becomes then in an ideal, to which we can be approximated but never to reach. Also, it has been determined that the producer-product relation makes possible the handling "to choose", "to decide", "to select objectively" and of the "intention" as an observable property of the behavior of a system, therefore teleology, as study or treaty of the aims, is gotten up to the systemic concepts. With foundation on these basic systems concepts, the Department of Systems of the UAM-A was structured fundamentally considering the necessity to clearly distinguish between methods, techniques and tools of systems and their interaction among them. As well as to distinguish between different types of systems, from the natural ones, the technological and the social ones. Having this into account, three areas were fundamentally integrated to - Computer Systems, as tools for the handling of data and information. - Statistical and Operations Research, as quantitative techniques for decision making, and - Sociotechnical Systems, as methods that integrate quantitative and qualitative techniques, as well as tools to approach different systems types. With this structure, the Department of Systems of the UAM-A has contributed to the University of the Future that UAM is today. Management Program in UAM-X
Our experience in conducting groups work and research though the Management undergraduate program in the Xochimilco Unit dates from more ago than twenty years. It has been conformed through the time by a series of visions and paradigmatic images where the conception of what is organization itself has been settled like the main axis of the administrative discipline and that of curricula. Xochimilco's model of education is a visionary educative paradigm that has molded our forms of approach to the knowledge of the same administrative discipline by itself. Recognition of the forms of evolution of the organizational paradigms, a systemic vision to observe social problems, and the very same process of education, have allowed to us to apprehend the propensity of its academic organization. This is not other than the present paradigm of organization of knowledge that proposes learning as the organizational axis. The learning of the Xochimilco's own model has not been gratuitous. Since in its beginnings all the participants we were assimilating it from our own academic records, our own histories of disciplinary formation, and from our own cultural deformations on association and team learning. It has not been accidental either that the generation that was integrated and conforms the Xochimilco Unit arises from the experience of social movements initiated in the Sixties. Faculty of Management Program came from a similar academic experience at the Faculty of Accountability and Administration of the UNAM, at the beginning of the seventies. Social need to experience new forms of academic organization resumed as a "Door opened to time" and to new knowledge. Xochimilco experiences have left throughout the time tracks in the same conformation of Management Program, in ways to come near to our objects of specific knowledge: the organizations. And in the methods of communication and the identity of the learning communities, the modular groups and the work parties of students and professors, and the interchange of experiences and knowledge spaces. In all these scopes, one defines the method through experience and this one feedback to the method. Synthesis necessity is a continuous and its consequence is the evolution of the syndrome of redesigning the modules and the all the program. Facing a new millenium, it is critical to incorporate these experiences of academic organization. Contribute to the change of the meaning of ' to know' and 'knowledge', not only as contributions to the institutions that traditionally have been trusted for the development and dissemination of knowledge. Contribute also to new organizations of intellectual work and to the very same companies that can not yet extend their productive problems. We have not all caught nor we have been able to extend this academic experience. Still we are not as at the start point. A Bit of History
Management undergraduate program in UAM-X is born associate to the Economics program. This association defined the first design of curricula. A program that could be constituted like an alternative of a Management program, at the same time that the UAM-X was constituted as an alternative of University. What brought with it the learning of the own Xochimilco's model and the association of a departmental trunk in association with economists? (All undergraduate programs of Xochimilco campus, starts with an interdivisional module which deals with the relation between "Knowledge and Society". Followed by a divisional one which academic object is the relation with cognitive disciplines and the approach method to social sciences, in our case). The educative system of the UAM-X looks for to connect itself with the reality of our country. By means of modules (not courses, and a module a term) that persecute the contextual and specific knowledge of a study area (like Management or Economics), through the resolution of concrete problems of the same reality that are due to detect beforehand by the designers of the program. There is a first critical point here, not to call it 'problem' (as it's bound to be confused with an 'object of transformation'). First program abounded in the problematic with the context of organizations. Painted with an eminently economic direction, it explained as organization according to a mixture reasoned by the positive economics and a critical view, with the ignorance of both at the organizational level of real work. Another critical point occurred at designing of the modular section already oriented to Management. The functional oriented discipline detected like isolated problems of the organization the very own functional areas. The six final modules of a total of twelve, that is to say, half of the program, constituted as the five functions or areas of specialization, and an integrating final module. After several attempts the evolution lead us to Strategic Planning of the organization as an integrating module of a functionalist management. While the development of the discipline of Administration in the world, approached more the explanation of its intention through the knowledge of the organization, the program at Xochimilco was oriented more to functionalism and the technical toolbox that reproduced, by halves, the traditional visions of our own country's organizations. An additional critical point conforms the very own Xochimilco model. Here, in general, they are almost all the programs of the University that are organized actually without the group work that demands our own educative model. Luis Berruecos says: "the group defines itself as the assembly of people who on team work approach a common objective denominated task. The task makes reference to what for of the group work and it includes two areas: one implicit and another one explicit. The conductor is the main one ordered of the implicit task that corresponds to facilitate that the people meet, and be transformed into a work group and the explicit task talks about to look for the best organization so that the learning falls mainly to alumni"(1). When constituting itself the module like object of transformation of the reality, the disciplines that concur to face the idealized problem and to state the real one, is not only administrative, but they require of others to face better the understanding of the same one. A systemic vision is required, but also they demand of tools and different languages, like the mathematics or the computation, or of specific techniques like the accounting. The module needs experts actually who integrate the vision, the discipline, the techniques and the toolbox on an object of transformation in the theory and in practice. Not always they come together in single, as education in addition requires of being a researcher. Only as team the reality can be transformed, as the model lectures. But, in Xochimilco's program of Management ¿do we know to work as a team? The educational model proposes ' team research ' to students and guides them in their incursions to observe problems in reality where they try to state the cognitive model that they have of these. Nevertheless, the educational modular organization, her association with other educational ones of the same module, or in its own participation in the investigation area as soon as it participates because not yet we learn to work in equipment. This also supposes that, actually, the students' team not necessarily works as a team. Although also it is necessary to express that the results obtained in the education process learning reflect all the qualities and benefits of this form of work in the individual behavior of the own students. What constitutes an exceptional profit in terms of evaluation of the educative system. Added to the problem of integration of the academic work in equipment, institutional solution has occurred dividing the module itself in a sort of courses with its own associated task (as it was defined before). Even thought as a work team, under a coordinator of module, as there is not a common task it is not always integrated. The original model Xochimilco recognizes the need to work as a team, but many a teacher have not yet learn to work as a team because actually we have organized ourselves not to do it. On the other hand, as a mission of UAM itself, teaching and research are associated and intermingled. Its same academic structure reflects this strategic decision. Educators-researchers under a Department are assigned to the units of teaching by the academic programs Coordination, and on the other hand foment and watch their performance in academic research's Areas that integrate Departments. Raised therefore the University from its origin, the profile of the academic human material that joins it must include the abilities of teaching and research on associated areas. Up to here it does not seem to be any problem with most of the University's programs, but it exists, at least from its beginning, due to a lack of experience in research on this area in our country since the Management's programs very start. At University it took all the Eighties to structure research programs, some of which are already of a national relevance, just recently on this decade has reached the areas of Management, mainly on the units of Iztapalapa and Azcapozalco, where have begun to take off. The Redesign's Syndrome
If in the University, in general, the start off was taken place during the academic programs' consolidation and in teaching, and lead itself later to research, down in Xochimilco this process took a longer way. Not so much over the biological areas and those of design, than in the social areas. And, in the middle the Management programs lead to the so-called redesign's syndrome. This syndrome is generated due to the same modular system but narrated history adds more elements. In sum, it is born of the idea that the management of companies arises from a microeconomic point of view. This idea was the reason why it was first conceived like prolongation of the basic trunk of Economy. The consequences of this direction are multiple and still lasting. Affects from the educative process to individual and the qualities of the withdrawn ones. Going through the frustration of the academic ones of the Management that took refuge in the defense of their functional specialties, when they did not emigrate to the Economy. Others submerged in social sciences to 'conceptualize' Management and, finally, to establish conflict as the method to formalize the redesign's syndrome of the Management programs. With eagerness to drop the economist elite, fifteen years ago the Xochimilco Management program's redesign began. It underwent many changes of direction, text and context as time went by, and it became serious in the present program. Substantial changes really are in three of the first four modules of the program (that still conserves, like all Xochimilco's programs, the interdivisional and divisional trunks). The module Organization and its Environment include microeconomic and industrial organization, as contextual contributes of Economics. It is gotten up, in first term, history of the organization paradigms, although more like a traditional history than from a present vision or in construction, as it is intention of the Xochimilco model. From another point of view that does not repeat the functionalism, there is a module denominated Individual, group and organization. This very name seems to incorporate the Xochimilco model, although actually still is in the way to recognize itself on it. A third designed module is a practical integration of the organization. On this the enterprising spirit faces the idea of the organization's complexity through the required proceedings, procedures, organizational charts and functions to take projects from their own or other people's ideas, turned the tangible reality in a product's exhibition image. The other modules are surviving of the design and previous program's curricula, function by function, factory by factory, with the same resulting parcels of the impossibility of the modular organization which is proposed by Xochimilco's model, even though it sounds contradictory. Propensities in Organizations
The organizational paradigm, among other forms, can be seen as an application of systems concepts. Conscience is taken from new ways to handle the interrelations of what it looks for to understand and parts that constitute. To superpose limitations of a way to perceive, to think and to act based on analytical reductionism, determinism and the repetitionability of phenomena, as well as in the generation of the knowledge by the hypothesis rebuttal. From these systemic concepts it has been gotten to identify to an organization as an eminently social system. That's why in UAM, the discipline (or is due to say: interdiscipline or transdiscipline) of Management takes as an axis the organizations in which productive work of goods or services have social intention. Thus, Studies of administration in our institution have been inserted to divisions of Social Sciences and Humanities. Promoting also the interdepartmental, divisional and interunits interaction, a special characteristic of our education institution so frequently forgotten. As we have insisted, the UAM has been an innovation Model from the beginning as an academic institution. On which systemic concepts clarified their characteristics, from its departmental structure, its methods of education learning, to its mechanisms of participation; nevertheless, frequently their bases seem to forget. The implantation of the modular system in the Xochimilco Unit at level degree marks another one of the excellent innovations as far as pedagogical method in our institution, which also reflects the application of the systemic concepts. In Xochimilco, managers' formation through our modular system takes as an axis the producing organizations of goods or services. Considered as social systems, in which the administration, as a part of them, promotes its development through the learning and the adaptation to find the dynamic balance and fairness between different actors and factors. Fundamentally they are possible to be considered grouped as corresponding to an organization (system), to its parts (employees, workers, technology: subsystems) and to its environment (society, nature, markets, suppliers: supra system). Each one of these groups is considered integrated by teleological systems with intentions, full with possibilities and capacities. Management promotes learning and adaptation to look for harmony and congruency on these three levels of intentions and behaviors, allowing them a total development for all. Modular research promotes from the first program trimesters, interaction of students and professors facing real organizations, to understand and propose solutions to problems and plans to fulfill. Manager as Pedagogue and Alumnae
Before the people and the organizations can improve, first they must learn. For those who propose the New Organization, to solve a problem, to introduce a new product or to aboard process reengineering, all require to see the world under a new light and to act according to this. In the learning absence, organizations - and individuals - simply repeat their old practices. Change remains cosmetic and improvements are or fortuitous or short term. It is possible to recognize a relation between learning and continuous improvement and the first lesson it is to orient organizations towards this one. According to Garvin(2) "the scholastic around these ideas has been explanatory and confused: flood of mystical terminology". They announce that 'paradise is around the corner'. Our experience in Xochimilco causes that we agree with him, it is not an easy way but certainly it is rewarding to make way when walking. Peter Senge, in his book The Fifth Discipline, describes new organizations as places "where people continuously expand their capacity to create results that really are wished. Where new and expansive patterns of thought are nourished, where collective aspiration is freed and where people are continuously learning to learn togeather"(3). Ikujiro Nonaka characterizes organizations who create knowledge as places where " to invent new knowledge it is not a specialized activity. is a behavior form, a form to be, in which each one is a knowledge worker "(4). Nonaka suggests that companies use metaphors and organizational redundancy to orient thought, to animate dialogue and to make explicit, tacit ideas very instinctively understood. Nevertheless, the metaphor must also be transformed into guide. Not as prescriptions, because these have only deteriorated and confused what the procedural level means, with some more complex processes of reasoning. Most of English speech academic fellows see organizational learning as a process that unfolds over time and related to the knowledge's acquisition and as a form to improve performance. But they differ in some other important points. Some think that change in behavior is requisite for the learning; others insist on simply new forms to think as sufficient ones. Our experience is that we needed not only the previous ones, but also a true emotional necessity to only initiate the process to rethink on us and start the work of a learning community. Hereford our cultural identity and respect of our diversity as own ancestral communities inherits us gave origin to our "mestizaje" that constitutes our present national identity.(5) Even though Garvin is centered on measurement of the learning process, to manage complexity the traditional way. Not as apprehension and communication processes of knowledge, which shocks with the ideas and intellectual processes barely learned. He also agrees whereupon the new ideas are essential when the learning takes place. Sometimes knowledge is created through Innovation, through flashes of visions or creativity; every other occasion ideas arrive from outside the organization or as communicated by internal connoisseurs. Whatever its source, it is the trigger of organizational improvement. But these cannot by themselves create an organization that learns. Without changing behavior or learning methods on ways work is done there is only a potential for the best. It is surprising that Universities themselves (and still in successful companies). Many have been effective when creating or developing new knowledge but remarkably less successful in applying that knowledge to their As an example, organizations of consultants who advise their clients on social dynamics and behavior of small groups, though they are well known for their own discords and internal conflicts urged on different factions. As an analogy with our own experience's language, Management of the new organizations must fulfill both rolls: the one of pedagogue and the one of student. As professors and researchers, we have not played any of these roles with our own colleagues. Ways to approach our own knowledge and communication processes may lead us to move near or move away, as we still conserve the traditional forms of intellectual work. As professors and researchers we still have much to learn of our own work. Nevertheless, in UAM Xochimilco Management program, the syndrome of redesign is a constituent part of our education-learning model, and we are ready to aboard on this direction a new program design that approaches the Mexican organizations next millenium needs References
(1) Berruecos Villalobos, Luis. Coordinador y editor. La construcción Permanente del Sistema Modular, UAM-X,1997. p 35. (2) Garvin, David A., Building a Learning Organization, Harvard Business Review, July-August, 1993 (3) Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline (New York: Doubleday, 1990), p.1. (4) Ikujiro Nonaka, "The Knowledge-Creating Company" HBR, November-December 1991, p.97. (5) Estrada, Ricardo A. & Monroy, Germán S., To New Organizational Intercultural Paradigms, Memorias del XII Congreso Departamental de Producción Económica, Octubre 1998.

Source: http://www.centrogeo.org.mx/curriculum/germanmonroy/pdf/innovat_on_systems_managmt_educat_in_mexico.pdf

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