Article

Handbooks, Swarms, and Living Dangerously

Gibson Burrell

in The Oxford Handbook of Critical Management Studies

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199595686
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199595686.013.0028

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

 Handbooks, Swarms, and Living Dangerously

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In discussing the ‘official history’ of Critical Management Studies (CMS), which in its capitalized form is said to date from 1992, Grey and Willmott engaged in some mixing of their metaphors when they suggested that it had become an ‘identity, badge or brand’ that had ‘chimed with a series of developments within the business and management research community’. CMS signified, within ‘a receptive climate’, an ‘unfolding of a conceptual umbrella that has been found useful in those engaged in seemingly unrelated projects to recognize some family resemblances’. As a term, its adoption is an ‘embryonic form of institutionalization’ that has provided certain advantages. Firstly, it is not directed at any particular management specialism; secondly, it is concerned with studies, not study, suggesting ‘diversity and fluidity’; and thirdly, it may be rendered critical of both ‘studies’ and of ‘management’. This text is a useful articulation of the context, but, if one undertakes multiple readings, one is struck by the valorized imagery quietly drawing upon imaginary rural shelter, family, and babies.

Keywords: critical management studies; institutionalization; business research; management specialism; diversity; business development

Article.  5445 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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