Against Management: Organization in the Age of Managerialism
October 2002, Polity
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Against Management argues that management is increasingly being seen as a problem, and not a solution. Martin Parker argues that managing is not the only way to organize and that managerialism is a global form of ideology, which is being used to justify considerable cruelty and inequality. He also suggests that, in a variety of places, an odd collection of people seem to be coming to similar conclusions.
It is possible to identify cracks in the religion of managerialism as some of its converts begin to lapse and others intensify their protest. In order to illustrate his argument, Parker draws from a wide variety of sources – anti-corporate activism; books and films which use management as their backdrop; the movement for business ethics and corporate social responsibility; as well as critical management studies and general social theories of the present.
Parker's overall argument is that we can see the beginnings of a cultural shift in the image of management and that this is a significant historical change. Perhaps most importantly, it opens up the possibility of exploring non-managerial alternatives to contemporary assumptions about organizing. Against Management deliberately attempts to blur the boundaries between academic and popular writing, and encourages some radical questioning of the common sense that tells us that we need management, managers and management schools.
This will be essential reading for second-year undergraduates and above in business and management studies (including MBA), sociology and cultural studies.