Can management ever be responsible? Alternative organizing and the three irresponsibilities of management

Langmead, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-2980-5107, Land, C. and King, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-0277-8444, 2019. Can management ever be responsible? Alternative organizing and the three irresponsibilities of management. In: O. Laasch, D. Jamali, E. Freeman and R. Suddaby, eds., The research handbook on responsible management. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. (Forthcoming)

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This chapter argues that management should be understood as a concrete set of institutionally embedded practices, rather than an abstract verb for ‘getting things done’. Management, as a discourse, a social group, and a practice cannot become responsible because it is constitutively irresponsible and actively de-responsibilises others. It is irresponsible because management is an agent of external interests and limited to the effective realisation of those interests without regard to substantive values. In practice this means externalising costs where possible. We further argue that management actively de-responsibilises employees by determining the purpose of their activities for them. This renders management inherently anti-democratic, as it removes the possibility of autonomous action that would enable effective responsibility for all. We argued that real responsibility is only possible if we abandon management to focus on organization instead. Because it is not institutionalised in the same way as management, organization is more open to developing democratic and collective, rather than individualised and limited, forms of shared responsibility. We outline this approach by considering workers’ cooperatives as spaces of democratic selfdetermination and common ownership, fostering an expansive conception of responsibility. Without such changes, we suggest, promises of a more responsible management will be mere window-dressing.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Creators: Langmead, K., Land, C. and King, D.
Publisher: Edward Elgar
Place of Publication: Cheltenham
Date: 2019
Rights: This is a draft chapter / article. The final version will be available in The Research handbook of responsible management edited by O. Laasch, D. Jamali, E. Freeman & R. Suddaby, forthcoming 2019, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. The material cannot be used for any other purpose without further permission of the publisher, and is for private use only.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 31 May 2019 07:19
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2019 09:04

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