The dark side of management: Gerard Hanlon in dialogue with ephemera

Towards the end of 2015, the ephemera collective organised, chaired and participated within two separate Q+A panels celebrating the launch of Gerard Hanlon’s The dark side of management: A secret history of management theory. The events took place in The University of Leicester’s School of Management and Copenhagen Business School’s Management, Politics and Philosophy Department. Each of the events were recorded, transcribed, edited and amalgamated into the following feature.

ephemera: Let’s start with an overview and some introductory remarks.

submission deadline  
1 Apr 2016
call for papers pdf  

Issue Editors: Frans Bévort, Per Darmer, Mette Mogensen and Sara Louise Muhr

Today considerations about the management of so-called ‘human resources’ is taken up almost routinely both in governmental programs, in organizations as well as in the private lives of citizens (Jackson et al., 2014; Lengnick-Hall et al., 2009). This, in tandem with the increasing power of HRM practices in contemporary corporations, signals how HRM has succeeded to construct itself as a ‘serious’ and ‘established’ field of research.

The field of HRM has for a long time been criticized by a lively tradition of work, which has engaged with the development of management in late capitalism and through this criticised HRM for its one-sided and restricted way of engaging with the human as a manageable ‘resource’. One stream of research often drawing upon Marxist theory and/or labour process theory (e.g. Braverman, 1973; Burawoy, 1979; Legge, 2005; Storey, 1995) and one... more

Rethinking organizational hierarchy, management, and the nature of work with Peter Drucker and Colin Ward

Philosophical anarchism is a defensible position in theory. The only trouble with it is it never works. (Drucker, 2010: 40)

We have to build networks instead of pyramids. (Ward, 2008: 33)

Management, business, anarchism

Management, business, anarchism. Can these three terms, that come with so much baggage, be fruitfully brought together? This special issue brings together contributions that range from discussions of anarchist political economy and anarchism as a theory of organisation to the practices of anarchist alternatives and the radical imagination. Scholars from anarchist studies as well as critical management studies highlight the various ways the connections between the two fields can be articulated.

Governing work through self-management

While self-management has emerged as a robust way of getting things done in present-day work life and organizations, it also presents itself as a conception of considerable multivalency and ambiguity. In a broad sense, self-management seems to require that employees think, feel and act in ways that contribute to the realization and improvement of the individual worker, but only insofar as they concomitantly anticipate and contribute to the various needs of the organization (Manz and Sims, 1989; Thomas, 2002; Costea et al, 2008).

Web of capturing the moving mind

We mark this web – this publication, this project – with crossing lines, a chiasma. The Greek letter chi (χ) marks a decussation, a crossing of tracts. With it we wish to point to the nature of this project as a diagonal arrangement, a connection and crossing of heterogeneous domains and their codings.

Practical criticism and the social sciences of management

As we are reminded by the strong programme in the sociology of science, the processes by which ideas come to be counted as knowledge may have little to do with their intrinsic merits. Particularly in the social sciences and more particularly still in those social sciences relating to management, the absence of any analogue to Kuhnian anomaly enables certain favoured texts to circulate within the influence networks of academia, accumulating authority and creating alliances until certain of them achieve quasi-foundational status.


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