Negotiating Tensions between Theory and Practice
Edited by Julie Wolfram Cox, Tony G. LeTrent-Jones, Maxim Voronov and David Weir
Introduction: Intersections of Critical Management Research and Practice: A Multi-Domain Perspective
Maxim Voronov, Julie Wolfram Cox, Tony LeTrent-Jones and David Weir Scholars whose work has been broadly classified as falling within critical management studies (CMS) have sought to challenge the assumption that management is a neutral and value-free activity concerned with attaining the instrumental goals of organizations that serve a common good (Adler, Forbes and Willmott 2008). CMS is concerned with the ‘questioning of taken-for-granteds, both about [management] practice and its social and institutional context . . . Identifying and questioning both purposes, and conflicts of power and interest’ (Reynolds 1998, p. 192). It aims to expose and reform the mundane and frequently unnoticed routines and practices that privilege some groups (and individuals) at the expense of others and create injustices in organizations and in the society at large (see Adler et al. 2008 for a more detailed overview of CMS foci). CMS’s critique targets not only managers and those who create and sustain the kinds of social arrangements that its proponents seek to expose and reform but also much of conventional management research and education. Critical researchers have pointed out that organizational science (including organizational behaviour, strategic management, human resources management, and so on) tends to take the managerial point of view (Alvesson and Willmott 1992b, Frost 1980) and to pay insufficient attention to the socioeconomic conditions within which organizations function (Nord 1974). The aim of such research often is to help managers attain their goals, such as overcoming resistance to change or attaining maximum productivity, more easily, but there often is a...