Introduction: Unmanageable Capitalism?

Paul Thompson

in The Oxford Handbook of Work and Organization

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780199299249
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Introduction: Unmanageable Capitalism?

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  • Business Ethics



When considering how to conceptualize the practice of management, one can identify countervailing tendencies. On the one hand, there is the legacy of classical writings in which management is treated as a single, unproblematic category and generalizable in terms of knowledge and practice. While this view is, perhaps, no longer widely accepted, it is, as Armstrong observes, sustained intellectually by popular business writings and institutionally by consultants and senior executives who benefit from a view of management as decontextualized and transferable expertise. The idea of a universal body of management theory and practice that develops in evolutionary and enlightened manner is well past its sell-by date. While the search for universality does not stretch very far beyond the territory of popular business books, social scientists are still powerfully attracted to the idea of holistic, integrated regimes.

Keywords: management; universality; business books; social scientists; integrated regimes

Article.  4870 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business Ethics

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