Sociology Management
by
Stewart Clegg
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 August 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0112

Introduction

The study of management enjoys a fairly short history, with management having been recognized as a fit subject for study for just over a hundred years, although there are important antecedents. Management was discussed as early as the 16th century, but the term as we understand it today did not appear until the turn of the 20th century. Management remains a core tenet within business education but is somewhat marginal to much contemporary sociology. Today’s debates are dominated by the search for understanding and application of management theory in a much more global world than that of the United States, where modern management theory emerged. The term “manager” has its origins in English in the period 1555–1565. Shakespeare used it in the late 16th century, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in the context of theatrical management. He talks of a character being a “manager of mirth.” While the terms “management” and “manager” had become known by about 1600, the term “manager” did not come into widespread usage until the late 19th century. Originally, the term comes from the Italian, from manege, with maneggiare meaning to handle, train (horses), with the stem deriving from mano, from the Latin manus, for “hand.” Although the origins of the term “manager” are manual—the stress on handling things—it would be quite wrong to think that management is a job that is principally premised on manual labor. Instead, it largely involves interpreting, understanding, directing, cajoling, communicating, leading, empowering, training, politicking, negotiating, enthusing, encouraging, focusing, explaining, excusing, obfuscating, communicating—a job full of action words that are all to do with the manager as a speaking subject, a person who manages to shape and express directions, in writing and in speech. The mastery of different forms of meaningful expression, in writing, talk, and images, is usually referred to as a mastery of discourse. Central to discourse is rhetoric; indeed, a skilled master of business will be a master of rhetoric. Rhetoric means the tools of persuasion and argumentation, the ways of producing agreement and of making a point. Managers have to be skilled at talking because their expressive capabilities will be the most used and useful assets that they have. In a world of individuals all capable of going their own way, the manager’s task is to steer, guide, and persuade people to pull together in a common enterprise—an organization—when this may not be the instinctive desire of those being addressed.

Textbooks

For beginning students, several introductory management textbooks provide a more basic introduction to the field. While covering much of the same ground, these also vary somewhat in topics emphasized or covered. Pugh and Hickson 2007 covers many of the most important writers in management on organizations, doing so in pithy and accurate entries, while the other texts mentioned are more textbook—though not all are conventional textbooks. Daft 2012 is an essential text to which Linstead, et al. 2010 is a good counterpoint. Clegg, et al. 2011; Grint 1995; Greenwood, et al. 2008; and Mintzberg 1973 provide helpful overviews, and Peters and Waterman 1982 spells out lessons for management from consulting encounters with a number of excellent companies. See also Scott 2001.

  • Clegg, Stewart, Martin Kornberger, and Tyrone Pitsis. 2011. Management and organizations: An introduction to theory and practice. 3d ed. London: SAGE.

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    Written in an accessible style from a research-based focus, this book covers both psychologically oriented and sociologically oriented approaches to management, all the way from the individual to globalization.

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    • Daft, Richard L. 2012. Management. 10th ed. Mason, OH: South Western.

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      This is the standard US text that covers all the essentials that would be incorporated in standard courses on management.

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      • Greenwood, Royston, Christine Oliver, Roy Suddaby, and Kerstin Sahlin-Andersson, eds. 2008. The SAGE handbook of organizational institutionalism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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        Good for researchers and students who want to understand organizations as institutions, this book has chapters on key concepts such as institutional entrepreneurs, institutional fields, and institutional mechanisms.

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        • Grint, Keith. 1995. Management: A sociological introduction. Oxford: Polity.

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          A lively introduction to management orthodoxies that demonstrates, through the use of contemporary sociological theory, why many of the old approaches are in need of reconstruction. Not as explicitly critical as some of the other texts, such as Alvesson, et al. 2012 (see under Scientific Management) or as managerial as Daft 2012.

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          • Linstead, Stephen, Liz Fulop, and Simon Lilley. 2010. Management and organizations: A critical text. London: Palgrave.

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            A good counterpoint to Daft 2012: it covers some of the same material but from a perspective that is avowedly critical. What this entails is far more focus on the ways that management and organizations are founded, not so much on systematically rational approaches but on structures of social domination and exclusion.

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            • Mintzberg, H. 1973. The nature of managerial work. New York: Harper and Row.

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              A classic study of what managers actually do when they are managing. The methods were simple, the sample small, but the impact is significant: managers typically have to be capable of switching attention every ten minutes or so on average.

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              • Peters, Thomas J., and Robert H. Waterman. 1982. In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best-run companies. New York: Harper and Row.

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                The biggest-selling managerial book of all time. Spells out lessons for management from consulting encounters with a number of excellent companies, focusing on the cultural and leadership characteristics that made them successful. Many of these excellent companies were later seen to be not as consistently excellent as one might have predicted from the findings.

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                • Pugh, Derek, and David J. Hickson. 2007. Writers on organizations. 6th ed. London: Penguin.

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                  Over six editions this has been a reliable and thorough introduction to the world of management thinking, with each edition updated to include the most important of contemporary writers as well as the classics. It is an indispensable companion for introductory students.

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                  • Scott, W. Richard. 2001. Institutions and organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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                    The standard textbook for the institutional approach to management and organizations, with a focus on institutional isomorphism as one or other of coercively, normatively, or mimetically founded being the major mechanism for explaining how and why organizations are as they are.

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                    Handbooks, Encyclopedias, and Major Works

                    Several handbooks, encyclopedias, and major works provide thorough scholarly introductions to the main subfields of organization and management theory. Each handbook contains approximately thirty-five chapters on central topics, such as gender, multinationals, and positive organization scholarship. The encyclopedia has nearly a thousand entries written by leading authorities that address many of the central topics, while the major works consist of collections of major works from the research literature. Barry and Hansen 2008 provides an overview of the new directions in scholarship on management and organizations, largely from a critical perspective but also covering more orthodox contributors and topics. There is comprehensive, if eclectic, coverage. Clegg 2002a, Clegg 2002b, and Clegg 2010 offer significant contributions to the literature; Clegg 2002a and Clegg 2002b have a deep historical reach, going back to include early classics, while Clegg 2010 deals only with contemporary contributions. Clegg, et al. 2006 is the second edition of this acclaimed handbook, organized in two parts addressing theories and issues. Cooper and Clegg 2009 addresses the ways in which the people who inhabit organizations make sense of their situations, contributing to the distinctive character of those organizations through their actions and struggles, rejecting the artificial divide between micro organizational behavior and organization theory. Tsoukas and Knudsen 2004 is a well-organized set of meta-theoretical accounts of organization theory, as sciences, constructs, controversies, policy implications, and future issues. See also Clegg and Bailey 2008.

                    • Barry, D., and H. Hansen. 2008. The SAGE handbook of new approaches in management and organizations. London: SAGE.

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                      Here many of the more current themes are addressed, with the stress on newer theories, especially those with a critical perspective.

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                      • Clegg, S. R. 2002a. Central currents in organization studies I: Frameworks and applications. 4 vols. London: SAGE.

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                        Contains many seminal works of scholarship. Each subsection is thematically conceived; within the subsections the material is arranged genealogically in order to trace the development of the field. The organization of these four volumes is more classical in orientation.

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                        • Clegg, S. R. 2002b. Central currents in organization studies II: Contemporary trends. 4 vols. London: SAGE.

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                          Contains many seminal works of scholarship. Each subsection is thematically conceived; within the subsections the material is arranged genealogically in order to trace the development of the field. The organization of these four volumes is more contemporary in orientation.

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                          • Clegg, S. R. 2010. SAGE directions in organization studies. London: SAGE.

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                            Contains work representative of 21st-century trends in management and organization theory, comprising a selection from 2000 to 2010, weighted more toward the most recent. The thematic organization represents contemporary trends.

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                            • Clegg, S. R., and J. R. Bailey, eds. 2008. The SAGE international encyclopedia of organization studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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                              Nearly a thousand entries arranged alphabetically and written by leading authorities, with an international flavor: in addition to the standard entries for an Anglo-Saxon encyclopedia there are also substantive entries on specific regional approaches.

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                              • Clegg, S. R., C. Hardy, T. B. Lawrence, and W. R. Nord. 2006. The SAGE handbook of organization studies. London: SAGE.

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                                The second edition of the award-winning handbook that has set the benchmark for much contemporary research, representing the best of global scholarship on current trends in the English-speaking world.

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                                • Cooper, C. L., and S. R. Clegg. 2009. The SAGE handbook of organizational behaviour. Vol. 2, Macro approaches. London: SAGE.

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                                  Representing the field sometimes known as “macro-organizational behavior,” which could just as easily be seen as management and organization theory. The entries, on the whole, analyze various forms of management theory as practices shaping organizational life.

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                                  • Tsoukas, H., and C. Knudsen. 2004. The Oxford handbook of organization theory. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                    Takes an explicitly meta-theoretical approach, looking at the deep assumptions and implications of the theories framing management and organization practices.

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                                    Data Sources

                                    One good site to visit is Henry Stewart Talks. The talks are animated and aimed at all managers, whether in central and local government, health and public services, the non-profit or private sectors, as well as business students, business development managers, and academics. The management series comprises a comprehensive set of presentations by leading experts. The Academy of Management website includes information on the journals it publishes such as Academy of Management Review, cited under Journals. Other sites would be those of affiliated national and regional bodies such as the British Academy of Management, the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management, and the European Academy of Management. See also the European Group for Organizational Studies and the Asia Pacific Researchers in Organization Studies.

                                    Journals

                                    Journals that deal with management are many and varied. Usually they will have either “management” or “organization” in the title, but journals ostensibly focusing on human relations or administrative science are also important. There are several Academy of Management journals: the Academy of Management Review publishes new theoretical insights that advance our understanding of management and organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly is the best-established and oldest journal in the field of management and organizational studies. It also has a very good book review section. Human Relations publishes high quality research that extends knowledge of management of social relationships at work and organizational forms, practices, and processes. The Journal of Management Inquiry focuses on creative, non-traditional research and often opens up key controversies in the field. The Journal of Management Studies has a broad focus on anything to do with management but tends to concentrate on strategic management; cross-cultural comparisons and reviews of the latest publications in management; as well as topical issues. Organization is critical and innovative in orientation, encouraging articles that are theory driven, international, and multidisciplinary. Organization Science is an eclectic journal that focuses on organization theory, strategic management, sociology, economics, political science, history, information science, communication theory, and psychology, oriented toward understanding organizations and management. Organization Studies, older than its US counterpart Organization Science, publishes mostly European and non-American contributions to management and organization theory. More social science oriented and less managerialist than many other journals.

                                    Scientific Management

                                    Early factory owners faced some of the same problems as slave masters and adopted similar solutions, as Cooke 2003 outlines. Although the labor employed was formally free, not owned as a chattel in 19th-century US factories, the labor was extremely polyglot, heterogeneously plural, and often recalcitrant in the face of harsh discipline. Language was often not shared between supervisors and those supervised who were often first generation proletarians. These were people who had previously been European peasants prior to migration, and the chances that they spoke English or were used to the repetitive routines of factory work were, in many instances, low. Hence a simple system of instruction, communicated through illustrations specifying precisely what should be done and based on a simplified system of standardized work, was extremely useful. Taylor 1911 produced such a system with its “scientific management.” Such systems had been developed for control of slaves for similar reasons of linguistic heterogeneity and recalcitrance in the face of imposed routines. The new routines were largely composed of an extensive division of labor, the fragmentation of the production process, and its extensive standardization. These early views of management were dominant for much of the 20th century, stressing that labor was just another resource to be managed effectively. As the century wore on, from the 1960s onward an alternative view of managing as less concerned with the efficient and effective utilization of resources, including human resources, gave way to a view that saw the essence of management as relational managing: the core of this view saw management as a social relation concerned with the management of meaning. From this perspective, the social elements of relations in organizations, such as their gender and power dynamics, came to occupy the center of the field. From early work such as Silverman 1970, which did much to popularize an account of managing centered on the social construction of social relations, and Braverman 1974 (cited under Engineering and Standardization), which attacked the rationalism of the scientific management perspective from a position that emphasized the power dynamics at play in managing, working, and organizing, building on Marx’s “labor process” perspective to do so, the area of critical management studies (CMS) developed a concern with relations of meaning as well as relations of production, as can be seen in the standard text Alvesson and Willmott 2012. CMS focused on both the objective relations of production entailed in managing organizations as well as the intersubjective relations of production.

                                    • Alvesson, Mats, and Hugh Willmott. 2012. Making sense of management: A critical introduction. London: SAGE.

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                                      The standard introduction to more critical perspectives on management and organizations, this volume stresses issues of identity and ethics, as well as more conventional elements of management such as leadership and strategy. An essential deconstruction of much orthodoxy.

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                                      • Cooke, Bill. 2003. The denial of slavery in management studies. Journal of Management Studies 40.8: 1895–1918.

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                                        In this well-researched and archival-based article, Cooke demonstrates that the basic ideas of Taylorism, probably the most influential in management, were prefigured in manuals for the control of slaves in the plantation economy.

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                                        • Silverman, David. 1970. The theory of organizations. London: Heinemann.

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                                          One of the most influential books in the framing of contemporary views of managing and organizations. This study drew extensively on more phenomenological and social constructionist accounts, to provide an action frame of reference for management scholars.

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                                          • Taylor, Frederick Winslow. 1911. Principles of scientific management. London: Pitman.

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                                            Perhaps the most influential management book of the 20th century—it certainly launched many programs of work reform worldwide.

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                                            Increased Scale of Operations and Internal Contracting

                                            Prior to the development of standardized solutions to the problem of control in the shape of scientific management, in lieu of internalized religious ritual or deference to feudal hierarchy, management control seemed best assured through the personal disciplining of those employed. In small workshops, discipline was relatively easy to enact, especially where these workshops had a craft basis and were organized around mastery of a specific knowledge, such as how to make barrels, fabricate metal, or weave wool. In such a structure, the master was presumed to know the craft, which apprentices were presumed not to know and had every motive for learning, so that they too could become skilled workers. The master exercised power by getting the apprentice to do things the way that he favored. The basis of the master’s authority was a possession of power unified with the knowledge that they not only owned the workshop but also the knowledge of how to work in it. On this basis, they were easily able to enforce rules, to say when work was done correctly or incorrectly. The major mechanism for enforcing the rules was effective oversight by direct control of people in the workshop, as Offe 1976 argues. Bootstrapped solutions worked appropriately for as long as the scale of enterprise remained small. However, the issue of surveillance was about to be made a lot more complicated because of institutional innovations that led to an increase in scale. There was a synergy between simple control and small scale, for as long as organizations remained somewhat limited in size because of the financial means available; questions of managerial control could be resolved through simple and direct supervision. The numbers to be supervised were not great. In the British cotton industry as late as the early 1850s, a factory of 300 people could still be considered very large, as Hobsbawm 1975 notes and, as late as 1871, the average British cotton factory employed only 180 people, whereas engineering works averaged only eighty-five. Internal contracting—where the contractor used materials, plants, and equipment supplied by the owners but managed the labor contracted to deliver a certain quantity of product—was used extensively in the early days of modern management, as both Littler 1982 and Clawson 1980 argue. Different methods of internal control could flourish in different plants in the same industry. Standards were highly variable. In one plant a benign and benevolent despot might be master, in another the master might be acting on behalf of a labor-managed cooperative, while in still another, the master might be a ruthless and vicious tyrant, exploiting family members or those too weak in the market to resist downward pressure on their wages. Unionism exercised an upward pressure, standardizing the conditions of work; whereas, from the business owners and employers of finance, there was a downward pressure beginning to be exercised in the name of an efficient rate of return, as Clawson 1980 demonstrates.

                                            • Clawson, Dan. 1980. Bureaucracy and the labor process: The transformation of U.S. industry, 1860–1920. New York: Monthly Review.

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                                              A detailed history of the period before the institutionalization of scientific management, focusing on the regime of internal contracting as the major management device. Early management was based on custom and practice rather than rational administration.

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                                              • Hobsbawm, Eric. 1975. The age of capital, 1848–1875. London: Weidenfeld.

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                                                The classic economic history of early capitalism, establishing clearly the small scale of the organizations and management that launched the industrial revolution.

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                                                • Littler, Craig R. 1982. The development of the labour process in capitalist societies: A comparative study of the transformation of work organization in Britain, Japan, and the USA. London: Heinemann.

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                                                  Looks at the influence of systematic scientific management across a number of capitalist countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan, in the early years of the 20th century.

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                                                  • Offe, Claus. 1976. Industry and inequality: The achievement principle in work and social status. London: Edward Arnold.

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                                                    Looks at the emergence of task-discontinuous organizations from the medieval antecedents of management exercised through the guild system of apprentices, journeymen, and masters.

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                                                    Management by Design

                                                    The spatially enclosed world of the factory offered unique opportunities for management. In An Enquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith extolled that the division of labor formally done by one person, when divided into many parts (each specialized in by different individuals) caused great increases in productivity. The mills contained small and relatively self-contained workshops. Managing involved supervision, overseeing, surveillance, and superintendence, whereas working involved hands. Managing was premised on simple and direct supervision, on knowing what was going on through seeing and understanding the nature of the action performed by the hands being watched. It is a method of management that we still find in the 21st century in many small-scale enterprises. The union of insight and oversight is, indeed, powerful. In the early days of management this union of insight and oversight relied on architecture before there was a general shift to engineering. The famous English philosopher Jeremy Bentham developed systematic architecture that concentrated surveillance and control in the late 18th century, when he sought to make oversight more efficient, a panopticon, a device that Foucault 1979 introduced to management scholars. The panopticon, literally, is a means for making work as visible as it could be, by virtue of the supervisor (note the term: it means the exercise of superordinate vision) seeing as much as possible. Those who are being seen are scrutinized in ways that do not enable them to see that they are under surveillance. The panopticon was a complex architectural design. It consisted of a central observation tower from which any supervisor, without being seen, could see. Control was maintained by the constant sense that unseen eyes might be watching those under surveillance. The panopticon had wide applications, which are explored in McKinlay and Starkey 1997.

                                                    • Foucault, Michel. 1979. Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.

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                                                      A classic study that uses approaches to penology to trace historical changes in the organization of the justice from a concern with corporeal retribution to a model of bureaucracy, a book that was widely influential in opening up historical approaches to management. Focuses on Bentham’s panopticon and its effects.

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                                                      • McKinlay, A., and K. Starkey. 1997. Foucault, management and organization theory: From panopticon to technologies of self. London: SAGE.

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                                                        A collection that pulls together many of the articles written in the aftermath of Foucault’s work and its influence on management studies. A very good editorial introduction.

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                                                        Engineering and Standardization

                                                        Armed with a checklist and a stopwatch, F. W. Taylor developed scientific management around a set of ideas for making people’s work more visible. He observed and timed work and then redesigned it so that tasks could be done more efficiently. Taylor, an engineer, proposed that “scientific management” could design the best way of performing any set of tasks on the shop floor, based on detailed observation, selection, and training. Time was of the essence. Rationality, defined in engineering terms, became a new source of scientific legitimation for management. The science resided in knowledge of how to use specific means to achieve given ends. Management would be a new breed of practical scientists. Engineering was an innovating discipline with great authority. It was being constructed by popular engineering journals and magazines of the day as the locus of professional managerial expertise, as explored by Shenhav 1999. According to the new engineering approaches to management, corporations and organizations could be managed empirically on the basis of facts and techniques, rather than experience, privilege, or an arbitrary position. Functions and responsibilities should be aligned in a scientifically proven manner by engineers trained in the management of things and the governance of people working with and on them. Braverman 1974 provides a highly critical perspective on Taylor’s scientific management that has been very influential in terms of rethinking the effects of Taylorism as profoundly exploitative and alienating. Other influential engineers writing on management include Henri Fayol (Fayol 1949).

                                                        • Braverman, Harry. 1974. Labor and monopoly capital. New York: Monthly Review.

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                                                          Braverman’s account, derived from Marx, of the capitalist labor process. Sees management as largely responsible for processes of systematic de-skilling of jobs. Today one would need to reframe the analysis in the wider picture of globalization and outsourcing. The villain of the account is F. W. Taylor.

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                                                          • Fayol, H. 1949. General and industrial management. London: Pittman.

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                                                            The English translation of the 1916 Administration Industrielle et Generale, in which systematic attention is first paid to management not so much as a practice done to others, as in Taylor’s scientific management, but a practice that managers need to perform on how they manage their selves and their affairs.

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                                                            • Shenhav, Y. 1999. Manufacturing rationality: The engineering foundations of the managerial revolution. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                              Traces the emergence of a popular management discourse in widely read magazines of practical mechanics in 19th-century United States. This discourse fed into the emergence of a rational management movement, with which engineers sought to define what management should consist of. Taylor was the most successful and populist exponent.

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                                                              McDonaldization

                                                              Taylorism did not die with Taylor—it became ensconced deep inside organizations and has spread worldwide. His ideas became a part of the way that a great deal of routine process work was designed and measured in industry everywhere. Eventually, in such assembly plants, people would be replaced with robots, in which scientific management would find far better raw material—there were no sources of uncertainty in designing and calibrating pure machines rather than the person/machine interface. One does not have to go to a factory to find Taylorism. Check out the system for manufacturing fast food in any burger restaurant. The American sociologist George Ritzer coined the term “McDonaldization.” The model of McDonalds is a metaphor for a highly rationalized and “cheap as chips” approach to business processes in which fast-food restaurant principles are becoming globalized. However, McDonaldization does not stop at the fast food store—it spreads to all areas of everyday life, to recreation, informal and interpersonal relationships, and even love and intimacy—think of “speed dating.” As Ritzer 1993 explains, even those places and activities that used to offer some release from a routinized world have now been rationalized through four major mechanisms of efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control.

                                                              • Ritzer, George. 1993. The McDonaldization of society: The changing character of contemporary social life. Newbury Park, CA: Pine Forge.

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                                                                Develops themes from Weber and Braverman and applies them more broadly to the contemporary service-centered economy, in which McDonalds has become the prototype for rationalization of a huge number of fields of practice.

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                                                                Human Relations

                                                                Not all of the early management thinkers saw the solutions to problems of managing and organizing in terms of engineering. Rather, some theorists, such as Elton Mayo, saw engineering as a part of the problem rather than the solution. Following the rise (and fall) of his ideas helps us to understand some other foundations of management that are still at work today. Mayo identified the “Hawthorne effect”: when a group realizes that it is valued and forms social relations among its members, productivity rises as a result of the group formation. (His experiments have been widely criticized. See Carey 2002 and O’Connor 2002 for the criticisms.) Mayo developed what became known as the “human relations” school. The emphasis of this approach was on informal work-group relations, the importance of these for sustaining the formal system, and the necessity of the formal system meshing with the informal system. In the informal system, special attention was paid to the satisfaction of individual human needs, focusing on what motivates different people in order to try to maximize their motivation and satisfaction. Mayo thought the manager had to be a social clinician, fostering the social skills of the people he or she worked with.

                                                                • Carey, A. 2002. The Hawthorne studies: A radical criticism. In Central currents in organization studies I: Frameworks and applications. Edited by Stewart R. Clegg, 314–322. London: SAGE.

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                                                                  The Hawthorne effect, where worker productivity increases where informal group participation is enhanced, was a widely reported finding of the Hawthorne studies, which are subject to a robust critique by Carey in this article that attacks them methodologically and theoretically. Originally published in American Sociological Review 32 (1967): 403–416.

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                                                                  • O’Connor, E. S. 2002. Minding the workers: The meaning of “human” and “human relations” in Elton Mayo. In Central currents in organization studies I: Frameworks and applications. Edited by Stewart R. Clegg, 333–356. London: SAGE.

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                                                                    Another equally critical account of the work of Elton Mayo that questions the extent of the managerialism and manipulation that ran through human relations theory. Originally published in Organization 6 (1999): 223–246.

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                                                                    Leadership and the Functions of the Executive

                                                                    Chester Barnard communicated his ideas about leadership in Barnard 1936, a book that had a major impact. Good management requires emotional work, and it is the task of the managerial elite to configure others as servants of responsible authority through guiding them emotionally. Barnard maintained that because these managerial elites have achieved their position and their organizations have survived, then these factors are sufficient evidence of their fitness for leadership. Barnard proposed a moral role for management. He did so at a time when, in American society, its moral authority was not great. The Great Depression of the 1930s saw many millions of people unemployed, reduced to dependence on welfare and soup kitchens. If managers were such great leaders, how had they had gotten American firms into such a mess? Barnard’s answer to this question was that those lucky enough to still have jobs were to submit to the leadership of superior moral agents—their managers—for it was only the good judgment of these leaders that stood between them and the misery of unemployment.

                                                                    • Barnard, C. 1936. The functions of the executive. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                      A widely influential book in which a major corporate figure of his day stressed the analysis of leadership as a perquisite for effective top management. The book founded the modern study of leadership.

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                                                                      Social Responsibility and Democracy

                                                                      Mary Parker Follett was born into a wealthy and privileged Boston family and was passionately committed to democratic ideals. Follett 1941 argues that organizations, like communities, could be approached as local social systems involving networks of groups. Not for her was the image of the all-knowing scientific engineer in control. Unlike scientific management, she believed in the full collaboration of employees and managers, and she sought their willingness to make these values compatible. Central to Follett’s worldview was the concept of power. Organizations organize power, and they also create power. She saw power as legitimate and inevitable. But because power is so central, it does not mean that it needs to be authoritarian. She was concerned with democratizing power, distinguishing between “power-with” and “power-over” or coercive power rather than coactive power.

                                                                      • Follett, Mary P. 1941. Dynamic administration: The collected papers of Mary Parker Follett. Edited by H. C. Metcalf and L. Urwick. New York: Harper.

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                                                                        Follett believed that organizations must be developed democratically as places where people learn to be cooperative in power with others, especially managers and workers. In a democracy, Follett believed that people had to be able to exercise power themselves at the grassroots level.

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                                                                        Managerial Revolution

                                                                        The Great Depression of the 1930s and the widespread unemployment that ensued tested notions of managerial responsibility, as mass layoffs became the norm in much of US industry. A concern with the concentration of power and the dispersion of share ownership was to become allied with the view that there had been a “managerial revolution” in US corporate life, according to Berle and Means 1932 and Burnham 1942. Power had shifted to the stewards of capital—the managers—and the major concentrations of capital held by the dominant stockholders. But if there had been a managerial revolution, then where did that leave the many individuals who were not or never would be managers and those who toiled ceaselessly at management’s command? Modern management was seen as the authority best able to hold society together, even in the face of overall macroeconomic irrationality. Within the rational organization, employees were sheltered against adversity; they could rely on each other, and above all, rely on their managers to manage them in their best interests, argued Mayo 1946. The organization was a closed haven in an uncertain world and so, not surprisingly, was conceived in what would later be seen as closed system terms.

                                                                        • Berle, A. A., and G. C. Means. 1932. The modern corporation and private property. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World.

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                                                                          First analyzed the emergence of shareholder capitalism and sparked debate about how much capital needed to be invested in stockholding in order to have effective control. The contemporary consensus is that top executives can hold as little as 5 percent of the stock and have effective control.

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                                                                          • Burnham, James. 1942. The managerial revolution. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                                                                            Modern corporations are no longer controlled by their owners but have developed a separation of ownership and control as a result of the rise of professional management (but see the points made by Berle and Means—managers also are stockholders).

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                                                                            • Mayo, Elton. 1946. The human problems of an industrial civilization. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                              Mayo was a major reformist of the principles of scientific management and an advocate for a more human-relations-oriented approach in which managers assumed a pastoral role, guiding the less enlightened employees to acceptance of their roles and the realities of an industrial civilization as he saw it: one of hierarchy, domination, and subordination—although not expressed in those terms.

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                                                                              Changing Rhetoric

                                                                              The impact of US institutions on postwar Europe through the Marshall Plan, and in Japan under postwar occupation, ensured a process of widespread dissemination of US management and organization theory. In Europe business schools were created on explicitly American lines. American management, by and large, became institutionalized as the template for modern management, as discussed in Khurana 2007. There are two types of management rhetoric that organize theory and practice, suggested Abrahamson 1997: rational and normative rhetoric. Rational rhetoric is associated with upswings and normative rhetoric with downswings. Rational rhetoric stresses technical aspects of work organization, whereas normative rhetoric stresses the orientations of the employees. Rational rhetoric stresses the formalization and rationalization of management and organizations, such as Taylor’s scientific management. It uses engineering-type analogies and metaphors to make its rhetorical points, thinking of organizations as if they were machines. Although such thinking clearly characterized scientific management, it also marked the systems rationalism of the 1950s and 1960s, although now the mechanistic analogy was less with a machine and more with the organization as a type of cybernetic system. Normative rhetoric stresses that it is the orientation and attitude of employees that is most important. The stress is on the needs of the employees and their satisfaction in the firm, modeled as a community. Managers must meet employee needs (human relations) and simultaneously unleash their creative energies (corporate culture). While the rational rhetoric is stronger in the upswing and the normative rhetoric is stronger in the downswing, neither is ever wholly dominant. They coexist with greater or lesser emphasis; however, where the parts are completely coordinated and controlled from the center then important cues can be missed, ensuring a lack of flexibility and adaptability, as the behavioral theorists of the firm realized, notably Cyert and March 1963.

                                                                              • Abrahamson, E. 1997. The emergence and prevalence of employee management rhetorics: The effects of long waves, labour unions, and turnover, 1875 to 1992. Academy of Management Journal 40.3: 491–533.

                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/257051Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                An ambitious account of how and why changes in management practice occur, seeing them as responses to underlying long waves of economic cycles, which oscillate between more of a systems approach and more of an ideational approach, depending on the stage of the cycle.

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                                                                                • Cyert, R. M., and J. G. March. 1963. A behavioral theory of the firm. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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                                                                                  One of the first modern attempts at producing a scientific analysis of management and organization, which launched many research programs.

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                                                                                  • Khurana, R. 2007. From higher aims to hired hands: The social transformation of American business schools and the unfulfilled promise of management education. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                    A stellar history of the development of systematic management education together with a manifesto for the professionalization of management as a practice. See also the review in Australian Review of Public Affairs.

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                                                                                    Top Management Teams and Common Sensemaking

                                                                                    The top management team comprises the senior executives in any organization, the people who set strategy, direction, and purpose. What do top management teams do? In profit-oriented organizations the crucial factor is to maintain a sustainable flow of earnings and profits; for other organizations, it is more complex. In not-for-profit organizations there is a great deal more to manage than the bottom line. Capital is an abstract concept that might take many material forms. Traditionally, it was thought of purely in economic terms, as wealth invested in an asset with the intention of delivering a return to the owner of that asset. As such, capital implies complex sets of relations of ownership and control of the asset and employment in its service. Some organization theorists suggest that it is not just financial capital that needs to be managed but also other kinds. In the case of a university, for example, there are different types of capital, each of which needs to be managed. There is the financial capital, required to ensure that the university is a “going concern,” and there is also, very importantly, social capital (above all, that intangible thing called “reputation”). Social capital refers to the people you know rather than what you own or what you know; social capital is the set of relations and knowledge embedded in those relations that you are able to mobilize. For instance, in business students not only learn from the formal curriculum but also make social contacts that they can relate to later in their business career. Top management teams are supposed to set a common frame within which organization members, customers, suppliers, investors, etc., can make common sense of the organization—what it is and what it does. Organization and management theorists use the term “sensemaking” to refer to those processes that people share in making a degree of sense together. Managers have to be highly skilled and competent in managing to make sense of what they do. In management, the key competency has become known as “sensemaking,” which has been defined by Weick 1995 as the ongoing retrospective development of plausible images that rationalize what people are doing. Sensemaking is endemic in organizational life and the key management task. Brunsson 1985 says that sometimes not making rational sense is an advantage.

                                                                                    • Brunsson, Nils. 1985. The irrational organization: Irrationality as a basis for organizational action and change. Chichester, UK: Wiley.

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                                                                                      Brunson suggests we should not worry too much if managers are not entirely rational. Being irrational can often be a good management strategy and can be functional for managers and organizations.

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                                                                                      • Weick, K. E. 1995. Sensemaking in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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                                                                                        Weick explains that what managers do is make sense of complex and unfolding stimuli, situations, instruments, others, and events. Sensemaking is not quite as simple as one might expect but involves complex practices of everyday judgment.

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                                                                                        Multiple Sources of Sensemaking in Organizations

                                                                                        Rationalist views are attractive to many managers. Such views place them in control. They tell them they know what they are doing. They make them feel authoritative and place them clearly in the center of their own frame. Then they legitimize these frames. These rationalist views make managers feel important—big men and tough women in business—even as their pretensions may be mocked by their subordinates, contradicted by their failures to make the world of work correspond to the ideal model, and compromised by the endless ways in which they have to ad hoc and cobble together compelling accounts of what they have been doing. Sometimes, as some feminist critics such as Freeman 1984 suggested, managerial rationality seems a peculiarly masculine view of the world. The rational attributes of decision making are equated with male characteristics in contrast to women being represented as emotional, capricious, unsystematic, and irrational, a contrast that becomes the basis of important feminist critiques of management by Calás and Smircich 2006. How do organizations’ managers know that they are being rational? Brunsson 1985 (cited under Top Management Teams and Common Sensemaking) suggests that they can do so by following rules, or imitating the ways in which other organizations operate, or through experimenting. In reality, rule following is usually less about getting things done and more to do with keeping out of trouble. Similarly, if managers imitate what other managers who are perceived as being successful do, they can claim legitimacy for their actions—even if they fail—while experimentation may mean that they hit on something that they could never have arrived at intentionally. Rational models are best thought of as descriptions of action that will usually be compelling for most organizational audiences—thus they are a handy tool for providing accounts of action—but they are not necessarily the best basis for determining what managing actually consists of. The metaphors of rationality have great legitimacy—in part because they have been around for a long time and in part because they have been associated with strong programs for reforming organizations. Many of the strategic errors that managers make can be attributed to the fact that they manage as if the world depicted and represented in their tools and plans was actually as controlled and controllable as these make it appear to be. Rarely, given the ingenuity that we all bring to sensemaking, can this illusion be sustained, because we rarely use a shared common sense to make sense. We work from different interests, different disciplines, and different knowledge, with different power relations, striving to make sense using those terms that make sense to us. Of course, if we are all doing this, then we should expect managing to be a highly politicized and contested activity—which is precisely what management is. See also Power 1999.

                                                                                        • Calás, M. B., and L. Smircich. 2006. From the “woman’s point of view” ten years later: Towards a feminist organization studies. In The SAGE handbook of organization studies. 2d ed. Edited by S. Clegg, C. Hardy, W. Nord, and T. Lawrence, 284–346. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                          Management is a distorted field because it is seen chiefly through a masculinist lens, as Calás and Smircich suggest. From a woman’s point of view they identify different approaches to thinking about gender discrimination in management, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of each approach in a progressive unfolding.

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                                                                                          • Freeman, K. E. 1984. The feminist case against bureaucracy. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

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                                                                                            Argues that bureaucracy equals patriarchy and shows how bureaucracy is unrepresentative of the populations served.

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                                                                                            • Power, Michael. 1999. The audit society: Rituals of verification. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198296034.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Argues that the main tool of contemporary management is the widespread use of audits, a technology that has spread widely from accounting to almost every area of management.

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                                                                                              Current Trends

                                                                                              Digital capabilities have transformed the world as advances in technology and communications now link people all over the globe. New technologies attach a premium to a flexible, timely approach to customer requirements. In order that such flexibility can exist in an organization it has to be premised on ways of managing employees that allow them to be responsive to customer requirements in developing products and services. The extensive adoption of strategies of deregulation, privatization, and contracting out, often on the back of significant changes in technology, have led to profound changes in the nature of public sector work. Outsourcing occurs when an organization decides to contract a service provider who specializes in a particular area of service provision to do more economically and efficiently something that it previously did itself, such as catering, cleaning, maintenance, or IT. An increase in knowledge-intensive work means that organizations have to employ—and manage—different kinds of employees. Brains not brawn, mental rather than manual labor, are the order of the day. Employees need to be capable of working with sophisticated databases, software, and knowledge management systems. These have to be related to customer requirements often on a unique and tailored basis that deploys a common platform while customizing it for specific requirements. Thus, technical and relational skills will be at a premium. Knowledge-intensive work, according to Alvesson 2004, depends on much subtle tacit knowledge as well as explicit mastery. In such a situation, working according to instruction and command will not be an effective way of managing or being managed, especially where the employee is involved in design and other forms of creative work on a team basis, often organized in projects. In such situations, leadership based on informal peer interaction rather than hierarchical authority works better. Managers today must manage employees increasingly drawn from generations X and Y, and anyone born in the late 1980s and 1990s. For generations X and Y, according to Sennett 1998, there is a predisposition toward high uncertainty and risk-taking as defining features of the challenges they want from work because they do not expect commitment. Using traditional management control and command devices to manage people who desire to explore is not appropriate. Instead, the emphasis will have to be on creativity, innovation, and sustainability.

                                                                                              • Alvesson, M. 2004. Knowledge work and knowledge-intensive firms. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                Most current HR practices are inappropriate for attracting and retaining knowledge workers. The primary aim of HRM should be to enhance the appeal of the organization to talented staff. The key to organizational excellence is to attract excellent employees, to retain them, and to develop and draw upon their talent.

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                                                                                                • Sennett, Richard. 1998. The corrosion of character: The personal consequences of work in the new capitalism. New York: Norton.

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                                                                                                  Sennett argues that modern management and its organization of work has led to a corrosion of character. The turn to the increasing use of markets that empower individual choice by politicians, the state and management more generally see no place for trust, mutual dependence, social bonds, and honorable commitment.

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