Emerging from what was a somewhat staid sub-discipline, there is currently a battle for the soul of Management and Organizational History (MOH), at the centre of which is a widespread concern that much recent work has been more about how one should or might do history rather than actually doing historical work. If ever there was a time for a new volume on MOH, this is certainly it.
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Theory and Implementation
Ralf Müller, Nathalie Drouin and Shankar Sankaran
This concise text introduces an integrated view of all project management-related activities in an organization, called Organizational Project Management (OPM). Practical cases from several organizations, as well as popular theories such as the Resource-Based Theory and Institutional Theory provide for an insightful yet realistic understanding of OPM as an integrative tool for organizations to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
Ralf Müller, Nathalie Drouin and Shankar Sankaran
Business administration deals with phenomena observed, described, conceptualized and exploited in purposeful managerial action. On occasions such findings and ensuing principles expand to claim universal applicability, turning into panaceas. Panaceas can be analyzed by scrutinizing the ontological integrity of the core concept, by explicating the associated metrics, and by testing the efficacy of the proposed technologies of managerial action.
Östen Ohlsson and Björn Rombach
Ariane Berthoin Antal
Did the 2011 announcement by The Economist that ‘business has much to learn from the arts’ signal another short-lived management fad? Or might it mean that artistic interventions have entered the mainstream so that working with people, products and practices from the world of the arts can help employees to generate meaningful improvements in organizations and society? This chapter draws on multi-stakeholder research to frame the potential for organizational learning with artists, highlighting how they can complement consultants in contextualizing such processes. Three cases illustrate how artistic interventions can offer an aesthetically-aware approach to contextualizing organizational learning. The chapter identifies essential preconditions, namely (a) that managers conceive of artists as partners rather than as suppliers, and of themselves as co-learners with the employees and artists rather than as paymasters and controllers, and (b) that they communicate the value they attach to the process in both word and deed.
Susan Rosina Whittle
The chapter conceptualizes management panaceas as narrative interventions into organizational identity and asserts that organization members unable to change their stories about organizing and managing may be able to adopt but will struggle to adapt these rational myths to serve their specific contexts. Theorizing management panaceas as ideologies and as methodologies can provide some insights into adoption and adaption problems by enhancing our understanding of the maladaptive practices to which panaceas are prone. To absorb management panaceas into their strategic and everyday narratives, managers need to counter the defensive dynamics of simplification and fundamentalism that characterize these innovations. Researchers can help but this will mean changing our own narratives about panaceas.
Timothy Clark, Pojanath Bhatanacharoen and David Greatbatch
In this chapter we examine how management gurus through the telling of epiphanic and non-epiphanic stories convey the level of adaptability of their ideas. We argue that for their ideas to leave the auditorium with the audience members they have to present them in ways which convincingly demonstrate that they are potentially pertinent to the variety of working lives of those who attend. Drawing on a Conversation Analytic approach, the chapter shows that in the post-story assessment the gurus use a double structure of humor then seriousness. The contrast between the light-heartedness of the story and the seriousness of the post-story conclusion provides emphasis to the message being delivered as well as the transition from the specifics of the story to the general applicability of the ideas being conveyed. Overall, the chapter argues that these stories provide attention and emphasis to central messages within these talks and thereby supply the underpinning conditions necessary for gurus’ ideas to flow beyond the venue of their talks.
Stephan Bohn, Anne Galander and Peter Walgenbach
It is a challenge for companies to simultaneously follow corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the profit maximization premise as principles guiding their activities. Handling conflicting demands is a topic of increasing interest in institutional literature. We use the case of CSR implementation to develop a model of the organizational implementation and handling of emerging conflicting institutional demands. We build on and differentiate between the well-established theoretical concepts of isomorphism, translation and decoupling on different implementation levels. We argue that it is necessary to distinguish between a rhetorical and a structural handling. We further show that companies apply a strategy that creates tolerance for ambivalence.
In the late 1980s Japanese management turned into a panacea. Japanese manufacturers made deep inroads in export markets of several high-visibility products, such as automobiles. The successes required explanations, which were presented primarily by foreign observers. The case was made in a wide variety of terms ranging from national culture and industrial policies to work practices and quality circles. As the Japanese bubble economy crashed and the 1990s turned into a lost decade that still continues, several of the issues that were used to explain success now explained failure. The Japanese case is a reminder that the success of a nation is not equal to the success of a few leading industries and that managerial action seldom is powerful enough to overrule macroeconomic and demographic trends.