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留学生管理类毕业论文写作需求:TELLING TALES: M

TELLING TALES: MANAGEMENT GURUS' NARRATIVES AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF MANAGERIAL IDENTITY
TIMOTHY CLARK
King's College, University of London
GRAEME SALAMAN
The Open University
ABSTRACT
This paper examines the reasons for the apparently powerful impact of manage-ment gurus' ideas (i.e. guru theory) on senior managers. An examination of thelimited literature on management gurus and other related literatures suggests threeexplanations for the appeal of guru theory for senior managers. The ®rst set ofexplanations relates to various features of management work which may 留学生论文网heightenmanagers' receptivity to guru ideas. The second set focuses on the gurusthemselves and emphasizes the form in which they are presented (i.e. publicperformances). The ®nal set of explanations highlights the importance of the socio-economic and cultural context within whichguru theories emerge and becomewidely adopted. A number of criticisms of these explanations are o€ered: that theyde®ne the manager as passive, that the¯ow of ideas is one way (guru to manager),that they rely on an academic conception of knowledge. An alternative explana-tion of their success is outlined which suggests that their work ± their analyses,presentations and theories ± o€er attractive conceptions of the role of managerswhich constitute the identity of the modern senior manager as an heroic, transfor-mative leader. Gurus therefore not only constitute the organizational realities butalso managers themselves.
INTRODUCTION
Since the 1980s management guru writing ± guru `theory' ± has become adominant paradigm within management thought. A number of commentatorshave attested to the increasing popularity and signi®cance of guru theory.Huczynski (1993a, pp. 35±58) maintains that guru theory is one of six leading
families of management ideas in the twentieth century. Oliver (1990) and Wood(1989) note its ascendancy and distinctiveness as a new management paradigm
which ensures a more than passing in¯uence on management theory and practice.Willmott (1993, p. 516) notes that it is having `a material e€ect on the politics of
Journal of Management Studies 35:2 March 1998
0022-2380# Blackwell Publishers Ltd 1998. Published by Blackwell Publishers, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK
and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
Address for reprints: Timothy Clark, The Management Centre, King's College, University of London,Campden Hill Road, London W8 7AH, UK.
work' and has become a force that has moral as well as managerial signi®cance.Je€cutt (1994) terms this area of organizational understanding `organizationalinterpretation', and writes: `Like the ``philosopher's stone'' of medieval alchemy,the genre of organizational interpretation has appeared to provide a medium
through which the theoretical and empirical ``base metal'' of organization couldbecome transformed into the ``golden glow'' of ordered success' (p. 234).Guru theory ± discussed in more detail below ± involves the presentation ofambitious claims to transform managerial practice, organizational structures andcultures and, crucially, organizational performance, through the recommendationof a fundamental almost magical cure or transformation that rejects the past, andreinvents the organization, its employees, their relationships, attitudes andbehaviour. The current role of management gurus in the production and di€usionof accepted management wisdom about organizational environments, organiza-tional structures and systems for high performance, the formulation and imple-mentation of business strategy, the achievement of the learning organization,managing change etc., is fundamental. Yet it has been generally overlooked.It has been noted that over the last 30 years senior managers have been assailedby ± and curiously have been prepared to accept ± a steady stream of apparentlyhighly attractive suggestions for re-modelling their businesses; ideas which insuccession have risen and fallen in popularity and use (see Abrahamson, 1996;Byrne, 1986; Eccles and Nohria, 1992, pp. 25±6; Gill and Whittle, 1993;



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