Organisation theorists have consistently neglected considerations of societal and historical context in studies of power in organisations and this has resulted in incomplete and misconceived theories. This paper is concerned with an issue with which personnel managers often feel very personally involved, viz. the perceived erosion of managerial authority. In particular, the focus here is upon illuminating the confusions and assumptions inherent in the way in which managers in an industrial hierarchical organisation ‘structure’ their world as one in which managerial authority is continually being eroded and undermined. The paper, in examining the derivation of such ‘common sense’ assumptions, gives insights, from a radical perspective, into some of the misconceptions of power in organisations.
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