Are Fewer Grades Better for Learning?

Henry Mintzberg Posted by Henry Mintzberg.

Henry Mintzberg is a professor for the McGill University Faculty of Management, and has received fifteen honorary degrees from universities around the world.


Are Fewer Grades Better for Learning?

Interview with Henry Mintzberg.

Your latest book on Rebalancing Society has me thinking— do you think society overall is moving in the direction of more or less balance? 

Unfortunately, I think less. There are wonderful things happening in the plural sector (civil society) and they are making great differences to all kins of people. But on the macro level, power continues to accumulate in the hands of narrow private interests. Just look at income disparities.

In your post, “If You Can’t Measure It, You Better Manage It,” you say, "Have we not had enough of leadership by remote control: sitting in executive offices and running the numbers— all that deeming and downsizing?” Are there ways we can encourage our leaders to put down the remote control? 

I don’t think we change people so much as choose different people. If the led had more say about the leaders. we would get fewer narcissists in our large organizations. MA and the MBA, which is not management education, doesn’t help.

You tweeted, “I defy anyone to measure learning.” What would your reaction be if the University of McGill decided to abolish grades? 

We have almost no grading in our IMPM.org and IMHL.org McGill programs, for mid-career managers in business and health care, that really do develop managers—engaging manners. The class dynamic is enormously improved.