For management?

Stewart R. Clegg*, Martin Kornberger, Chris Carter, Carl Rhodes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past decades there have been persistent radical critiques of management. Previously the goal was to apply forms of Marxian analysis to the world of management and organizations, usually seeing it as a sphere of false consciousness, distorted and unreflective practices, and three-dimensional power or hegemony. Surprisingly, even after the Marxist scaffoldings that supported such claims have been deconstructed - both practically and theoretically - there are still current contributions to management thought that seek to resuscitate the same critiques, often under the rubric of Critical Management Studies. These representations seem increasingly bizarre, given the theoretical currents emanating from post-structuralist and postmodern thought that have been emergent in recent years, associated ideas such as polyphony, difference, deconstruction and translation. In this article we draw on these sources to produce a different representation of management - one that we would argue acts as an effective counter-factual to that which provides support to some of the central tendencies manifest in critical approaches to management. Rather than seeing modern management as necessarily a totalitarian practice, one that should necessarily be subject to a negative critique, we would argue that, at its best, it enables polyphony rather than tyranny, and the possibility to be both critical and for management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-27
Number of pages21
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Critical Management Studies
  • Critique
  • Performativity
  • Polyphony
  • Strangers
  • Translation


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