Can Management Ever Be Responsible? Alternative Organising and the Three Irresponsibilities of Management

Langmead, Kiri, Land, Chris and King, Daniel (2020) Can Management Ever Be Responsible? Alternative Organising and the Three Irresponsibilities of Management. In: Research Handbook of Responsible Management. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK. ISBN 9781788971959

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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 self-determination 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: Book Chapter
Keywords: Worker Cooperatives, alternative organization, commons, management irresponsibility, externalities
Faculty: Faculty of Business & Law
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 22 May 2019 08:28
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2022 12:44

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