Future in the past: a philosophical reflection on the prospects of management

Oxford University Press
Publication Type:
The Oxford Handbook of Management, 2017, pp. 145 - 185 (40)
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Management studies has “lost its way” by advancing instrumental research too frequently foreclosing its larger ethical and practical implications. The authors argue for bracketing the excessively technical and scientistic orientation of much management research by requestioning the purposes, presuppositions and prejudices on which management and organization theories have been based. They explore philosophical approaches capable of grounding a restored public trust. These range from the use of phronesis (practical wisdom) in Business School curricula, rather than either pure techne or pure theoria, to recovering exemplars of codetermination in workplace practices and cultures that affirm in practice a deeper regard for human dignity than mere resource efficiency. These examples offer antidotes to entrenched managerialism in neoliberalism, embedding social and ecological concerns in organizational purposes. Management legitimacy is enhanced when viewed as a process accomplishing ends that support rather than alienate public confidence.
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