Action at a Distance: Studies in the Practicalities of Executive Management, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Action at a Distance

Studies in the Practicalities of Executive Management, 1st Edition

By R.J. Anderson, W.W. Sharrock

Routledge

180 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-05-08
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Description

This book examines the nature of work and management, centring on documents as a class of management objects which have been relatively understudied in ethnomethodological research. Treating documents and similar artefacts as ordering devices, the authors describe consociation – the social organisation of patterns of coordinated action in situations where the usual resources of face to face communication are absent. With a focus on senior managers, this volume provides a description of the interior configuration of the world of senior management as the encountered, everyday experience of managing, drawing on first person experience rather than ethnographic fieldwork to shed new light on the importance of third person reflection upon practical understandings. An innovative study of the social character of such management objects as spreadsheets, strategic plans, computational models and charts, Action at a Distance will appeal to scholars of sociology with interests in ethnomethodology, the sociology of work and method in the social sciences.

Reviews

"This ground-breaking book explores the neglected, everyday practicalities of management, focusing on the role of key artefacts in ordering organisational life. In doing this it exemplifies what the authors characterise as "third-person phenomenology". Locating their study in the tradition of ethnomethodological work, the authors offer stimulating reflections on the character of this radical enterprise, treating it as a "first sociology"."

Martyn Hammersley, The Open University.

"Authored by two of the leading researchers in the field of ethnomethodology, this book makes a unique contribution not only to ethnomethodology but to management and organizational studies in general. Its innovative study practice provides highly original and provoking insights into the often closed world of senior management in organisations."

Graham Button, formerly Pro-Vice Chancellor for Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences, Sheffield Hallam University, and Laboratory Director, Xerox Research Centre Europe, Grenoble.

"Anderson and Sharrock investigate the "shop floor problem" – usually a problem for managers who want to know what other workers actually do in day-to-day practice. Drawing upon their own experiences as managers and with managers, they observe that the "shop floor" for managers is largely constituted by records that enable action at a distance. In addition to giving a rare entry into the mundane work of management, the book introduces keen insight into ethnomethodology and social theory through their "third-person phenomenological" perspective."

Michael E. Lynch, Cornell University, USA.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Appendices

Preface

Part I: Foundations

1. The World of the Senior Manager

2. Management as a Common Sense Construct

Part II: Studies in the Practicalities of Executive Management

3. Representations and Realities

4. Representations without Metaphysics

5. Intersubjectivity and the Arts of Financial Management

6. The Contingencies of Due Process

Appendix

7. Sensitivity Analysis as Practical Modal Realism

Appendix

8. Benchmarking as Reality Conjuncture

Appendix

9. Does It Wash Its Face?

Appendix

10. Plans and their Situated Actions

Part III: Conclusion

11. Ethnomethodology: A First Sociology?

Index

About the Authors

Bob Anderson is the former Pro Vice Chancellor for Research at Sheffield Hallam University. As CEO of University Campus Suffolk, UK, he led the founding of what is now the University of Suffolk. He is currently an Associate in the Horizon Research Institute at Nottingham University.

Wes Sharrock is Professor in the Department of Sociology at Manchester University, UK.

About the Series

Philosophy and Method in the Social Sciences

Philosophy and Method in the Social Sciences
Engaging with the recent resurgence of interest in methodological and philosophical issues in the human and social sciences, this series provides an outlet for work that demonstrates both the intellectual import of philosophical and methodological debates within the social sciences and their direct relevance to questions of politics, ethics or policy. Philosophy and Method in the Social Sciences welcomes work from sociologists, geographers, philosophers, anthropologists, criminologists and political scientists with broad interest across academic disciplines, that scrutinises contemporary perspectives within the human and social sciences and explores their import for today's social questions.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC000000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / General
SOC026000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General