Business History Review

Problems and Challenges in Teaching Business

Problems and Challenges in Teaching Business History in a School of Commerce

Herman E. Kroossa1

a1 New York University

Both Disraeli and Walter Leaf are credited with having said that there are three things that drive men to madness: love, ambition, and the study of currency problems. Regardless of the origin of the quotation, both men were happily innocent of the vast potentialities inherent in teaching business history. For teaching business history is a chain of problems. And problems and challenges are synonymous. To cite a few: What shall be the purpose of teaching business history? Shall the subject be presented by the case method or in a less specific and more abstract way? Having answered these problems more or less to his own satisfaction, the instructor is then confronted with the ubiquitous problem of defining the entrepreneur. And he is constantly plagued by the incidental problems of overcoming the amorphous nature of the subject, not to speak of the monumental tasks of correcting the preconceived and fallacious notions of the student and overcoming the vast mass of misleading and misinformed interpretations that parade under the name business history. But these are the inevitable problems in the teaching of business history.