Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Keith Townsend and Gabriele Suder
Chapter 1: Managing managers: the evolving management story in context
The existence of an identifiable group of people who are labelled ‘managers’ has been one of the most significant aspects of the organization of work and society for well over a century. (Grey, 1999, p. 22) The way organisations manage their managers is undergoing significant change. Despite this, it is a topic that has faced limited scholarly consideration. For decades, there was an ever-growing mountain of research on management that has moved our understanding forward, but much less attention has been paid to managers and less still to how they are themselves managed within organisations. This book attempts to fill this gap; it reviews the research conducted to date; and explores future research pathways. Our contribution is structured into 18 chapters; at the heart of each chapter is the notion that the world of managers has changed substantially since the ‘organization man’ of the 1950s. We have witnessed much excitement in the discussion about the future of management, with both pessimistic and optimistic views being put forward. Our attention was caught when, in the wake of delayering, downsizing, re-engineering and the pursuit of leanness, the more gloomy perspective gained currency in the popular managerial literature. Some indeed have pronounced the end of management.