Movies for managers

SURVIVAL in today’s cut-throat business environment may depend on, well, going to the movies — at least, the right ones. Four Italian management consultants have drawn up a list of 50 films they believe showcase good business practices and highlight major issues relevant to the world of business.

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Published: Sat 7 Jul 2007, 8:56 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:53 AM

From on-the-job training and advancement, companies in the 1960s began placing a premium on MBA degrees from top-notch universities. Ever since, theories and practices relating to everything from human resources to inventory control have been dissected and refined. Advertising, public relations, consumer behaviour and cultural dynamics, among other elements, have buttressed that core objective of successfully operating a business. This still remains a work in progress, as pundit and practitioners around the world pursue what they consider the best practices. The Italian consultants believe high-quality films can offer lessons about problem-solving and teamwork as well as on issues such as globalisation and diversity. Stephen Spielberg’s ‘The Terminal’ and Pedro Almodvar's film ‘Volver’ are among the must-see movies. ‘The Terminal’, in which Tom Hanks plays an immigrant from Eastern Europe trapped in an American airport, is cited as a model for turning diversity into an advantage as part of an innovative business strategy. The critically acclaimed ‘Volver’, by Spain’s top director Pedro Almodovar, is praised for how the protagonist uses her feminine skills to acquire and successfully run a restaurant. The consultants consider westerns starring John Wayne an inspiration for leadership and mission. ‘Lolita’, Stanley Kubrick's 1962 production, contains lessons about seduction and betrayal considered useful for investing in the stock market.

Encouraging life to imitate art in the hope of extracting advantages is not a new idea. The risks associated with an inordinate obsession with the silver screen, too, are readily apparent. Yet the premise that, within the grand paradigm of ‘edutainment’, the movie theatre may provide useful inputs for the management boardroom, is no less edifying.

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