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This paper analyses the origin, conceptual underpinnings and consequences of the idea of management theory. It argues that despite claims to incommensurability and except…
This paper analyses the origin, conceptual underpinnings and consequences of the idea of management theory. It argues that despite claims to incommensurability and except for critical studies authors, management researchers come together in their quest for performativity. The search for theory has condemned management scholars to espouse structural-functional-positivist assumptions. As such, mainstream management theorists assume and promote psychological determinism. Equivocations, ambiguities, tautologies and imprecise language obscure this implication, however, hollowing out management theory of its performative quality. A century after its inception, the quest for management theory has failed. Another avenue for management scholarship exists, one in which management history is a major contributor.
This paper offers a historical and conceptual analysis, relying on relevant philosophy of science scholarship. The object of study is the concept of management theory.
Most commentators on management theory rely on a widespread view (of postmodern lineage) according to which incommensurable management research paradigms exist. Allowance made for critical management studies, this paper argues otherwise, namely, that current management research paradigms are merely variations on a positivist theme. It further contends that mainstream management research has failed in its quest to identify theory, even if the language used to report research findings obfuscates this fact.
A notable implication of this paper is that management academics should reconsider what they do and in particular abandon their quest for theory in favour of management history.
This paper builds on arguments that philosophers of science and scholars specialising in sociological analysis have long recognised to offer a new thesis on management theory in particular and management academia in general.
This paper takes a long-term view of how the US public and private sectors have been viewed in relation to each other. It notes that since the time of approximately the…
This paper takes a long-term view of how the US public and private sectors have been viewed in relation to each other. It notes that since the time of approximately the Nixon Administration, each sector has not been viewed favourably by the public. Over the past 40 years, the private sector has been perceived as being run by the unscrupulous and the public sector by incompetents. The essay argues that Donald Trump was able to exploit these circumstances to win the 2016 election.
This paper presents a polemic. It relies on archival research and data to create a new view of historical eras in US business history. The object of analysis is the idea of relative legitimacy, the public image of the State vis-a-vis business and business managers.
Although the paper addresses business history, a novel argument is presented about the 2016 US Presidential election. It is proposed that Trump took advantage of unique historical circumstances; therefore, his win had more to do with the moment than with him personally.
The paper interprets the 2016 Presidential race as the end-point of a 250-year journey. It sets a new agenda, in that previous analyses have mostly viewed the ascendancy of Trump as pertaining to distinctively post-industrial twenty-first-century phenomena.
In analysing the 2016 Presidential race, the emphasis is largely removed from issues of personality or partisan politics.
The paper takes a view of the 2016 election which has not hitherto been adopted. It proposes a new concept – relative legitimacy – as having a substantial explanatory value.