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Rethinking Management: Radical Insights from the Complexity Sciences
Ashgate Publishing, September 2011, Pages: 290
What do business school graduates learn, and how helpful is it for managing in the everyday, messy reality of organisations? What does it mean to apply 'best practice', or to take up 'evidence-based management' and what kind of thinking does this imply?
In "Rethinking Management", Chris Mowles argues that many management courses still largely assume a linear and predictable world, when experience tells us that the opposite is the case. He questions some of the more orthodox conceptual assumptions that underpin much management education and instead, encourages leaders and managers to take their everyday experience of working with others seriously. People in organisations co-operate and compete to get things done, and constrain and enable each other in relationships of power. Because of this there are always unintended consequences of our actions - uncertainty is inherent in the everyday. Chris Mowles draws on the complexity sciences, the sciences of uncertainty rather than certainty, and the social sciences to explore more helpful ways to think and talk about our lived reality. He takes concrete examples from contemporary organisations, to argue that understanding the radical implications of uncertainty is central to the task of leading.
"Rethinking Management" explores narrative alternatives to the ubiquitous grids and frameworks that are routinely taught in business schools, and encourages management professionals and educators to recognise the importance of judgement, improvisation and the everyday politics of organisational life.
'I can highly recommend this book to managers and consultants, who experience the complexity in processes of relating in their daily life. Chris Mowles goes beyond the usually taken for granted narratives about management, he outlines alternative views and invites the reader to reflect about what it might mean to participate in the ongoing negotiations in organizations that we can call the politics of everyday life.'
-- Dr. Henry Larsen, Professor of Participative Innovation, University of Southern Denmark
Chapter 1: Why Write This Book?
Chapter 2: Consultancy as Practical Engagement in Organisational Politics
Chapter 3: Leaders, Managers and Consultants as Researchers: Using the Self as an Instrument of Research
Chapter 4: Theories of Leadership as Magico-Mythical Thinking
Chapter 5: Charisma and Passion – Visioning the Future
Chapter 6: Choosing Organisational Values, Changing Culture
Chapter 7: Choosing the Future
Chapter 8: Performance Management and Targets – Control, Resistance and Improvisation
Chapter 9: Rethinking Management Drawing on Radical Insights from the Complexity Sciences
Chris Mowles is Professor of Complexity and Management, Director of the Doctor of Management Programme, and member of the Complexity Research Group at the University of Hertfordshire. The programme takes as students senior management professionals and consultants and encourages them to take their practice as the focus of their doctoral research, and to locate their enquiry in broader traditions of the natural and social sciences. Professor Mowles is also a practising consultant and has worked in a large number of different organisations over the last 20 years. He has published widely in academic journals and has been a guest lecturer in a variety of academic institutions in the UK, Europe and Canada.
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