Fashion and Utopia in Management Thinking

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Why is it that people in organizations seem to be so vulnerable to management fashion and guruism? And why is it that both phenomena are loathed in traditional academic thinking about management and organization?
In this book, René ten Bos argues for a more philosophical rather than scientific understanding of management fashion. In doing so he questions the positivist and utopian orthodoxies that have pervaded management thinking. Ten Bos contends that management fashion is a cultural phenomenon that deserves serious reflection not only because it is so immensely widespread but also because its seems to satisfy particular philosophical needs among its consumers.
Building upon some rather unusual sources in postmodern theory, the author argues that management fashion might encourage the practitioner to engage in philosophical self-experimentation and to adopt alternative forms of understanding. However, it is also argued that management fashion often fails to keep up to this promise because it remains paradoxically incapable of laying off its rationalist cloak.

René ten Bos is a philosopher and management consultant. He works for Schouten & Nelissen and took his PhD at the Catholic University of Brabant.

[Advances in Organization Studies, 6]  2000.  xvii, 224 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
ix
Introduction
xi
1. Fashion, utopia, character, and gurus
1
2. Strategy and the proliferation of realities
27
3. Longing for leadership
65
4. Culture, metaphor, and domestication
97
5. Weltfremdheit and escapism
129
6. Hard work, real work, friendship, and forgetfulness
157
7. Escaping fashion?
181
Afterthoughts
203
References
207
Index
219
“This book is a charmingly perverse and controversial engagement with intellectual fashions in management thought and practice. René ten Bos demonstrates a lightness of touch with intricate philosophical arguments and brings a remarkable range of sources to this argument. It is one of the most interesting books I have read recently, and deserves to be read widely within management, cultural studies and sociology. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is bored with the pin-stripe conventions of ordinary management texts.”
“Provoking, intelligent, and inspirational. There were moments this book made me angry, and that is good! It challenges many of the assumptions behind management theory, including the ones I strongly believe in. This philosophical discussion of what we in policy and management take for granted offers a tough but rewarding experience.”
“[...] Ten Bos demonstrates powerfully and ironically, that fashion is more than a mere superficial distraction. Management fashion is problematic, as he argues provocatively... [...] According to Ten Bos, utopia is first and foremost scientific, serious and rational.”
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Subjects
BIC Subject: KJM – Management & management techniques
BISAC Subject: BUS085000 – BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  00056450 | Marc record