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Management as a science-based profession: a grand societal challenge

Georges Romme (School of Industrial Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 16 January 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore how the quest for management as a science-based profession, conceived as a grand societal challenge, can be revitalized.


A reflective approach is adopted by questioning some of the key assumptions made by management scholars, especially those that undermine their capacity to inform management practice. One key assumption is that management needs to be done by a few people at the top of the organization; this idea is widespread but false.


An important finding is that the future of the management discipline may largely depend on the rise of new forms of management drawing on distributed intelligence and circularity of power and authority. Management scholars thus need to shift their attention from an almost exclusive focus on managerial intentions and behaviors to (the development and use of new) management technologies, similar to how modern aviation technology involves airplanes that only to a limited extent require intervention and control by a single pilot.

Practical implications

The practical implications of the shift from managerial behavior to management technology are illustrated by means of so-called circular management practices, also known as holacracy and sociocracy.


This paper provides a novel perspective on how the quest for science-based professionalism in management, as a grand societal challenge, can be revitalized.



Romme, G. (2017), "Management as a science-based profession: a grand societal challenge", Management Research Review, Vol. 40 No. 1, pp. 5-9.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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