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The Fear of Death and Monumental Change

Gibson Burrell (University of Warwick)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Article publication date: 1 May 1992



In this paper an attempt will be made to weave together some thoughts on ‘the challenge of change’ which have their origins in quite disparate fields. It will be argued that ‘death’ plays a central role in organisational ‘life’ but this has been hidden from view from almost all management theorists. Death is the key fact in human societies for it is both used by ruling groups to maintain order (thanatocracy) and is supposedly transcended through the construction of monumental works. Many forms of planned organisational change may be interpreted as monumental constructions to suppress the death of certain individuals. Change is meant to stop their death.


Burrell, G. (1992), "The Fear of Death and Monumental Change", Management Research News, Vol. 15 No. 5/6, pp. 7-7.




Copyright © 1992, MCB UP Limited

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