Management Scholarship and Organisational Change: Representing Burns and Stalker, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Management Scholarship and Organisational Change

Representing Burns and Stalker, 1st Edition

By Miriam Green


182 pages

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pub: 2019-01-23
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Change is a crucial and inescapable process for many organisations. It remains a constant challenge for managers and many change management initiatives fail. Burns and Stalker’s seminal text on managing change, The Management of Innovation, has often been used as a basis for research in mainstream management journals and has been represented as an important theory in popular and long-established management textbooks. The issues raised in that book are still being grappled with by academics and practitioners today.

Miriam Green provides a critical analysis of the mainstream construction of knowledge on change management through an examination of representations of that text. The main thesis of her book is that this literature, though valuable, does not provide a full picture. Its objectivist approach ignores the role of other factors raised in the original study. These factors include the effects of power, politics, resistance and employee influence on the outcomes of managerial change strategies and on other organisational processes, with important consequences for the understanding of change initiatives by both academics and practitioners. This is part of an ongoing debate in management studies and more widely in the social sciences about theoretical approaches and research methods.

The originality of this book lies in its in-depth comparison of an entire monograph on organisations facing technological and commercial change, with an equally in-depth analysis of the ways this work has been represented and used as a basis for teaching and research. It highlights the limitations of the exclusive use of one approach to explain the complications arising from organisational change. It challenges the scientific justification offered for that approach and supports arguments for more inclusive and sustainable scholarship, of greater relevance to academics, managers and other organisational stakeholders.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Introduction, 1.2 Rationale, 1.3 Background to Contingency Theory, 1.3.1 Burns and Stalker’s Contingency Theory, 1.4 Management of change, 1.5 Critiques of mainstream scholarship, 1.6 Critiques of research methodologies, 1.7 Spur to this study, 1.8 Dialectical contradictions, 1.9 Analytical framework, 1.10 Contents of the book

Chapter 2: Meanings of texts

2.1 Introduction, 2.2 Interpretations of texts, 2.3 Interpretations of Burns and Stalker’s book, 2.4 Alternative interpretations of Burns and Stalker’s book, 2.5 Meanings of texts, 2.6 Poststructuralists on the meanings of texts, 2.7 Applications to Burns and Stalker’s text, 2.8 Conclusion

Chapter 3: Representations of texts

3.1 Introduction, 3.2 Representation, 3.3 Representations of texts, 3.4 Representations of The Management of Innovation, 3.5 Alternative approaches: management, 3.6 Critiques of contingency research, 3.7 Alternative approaches: management accounting, 3.8 Alternative approaches of The Management of Innovation, 3.9 Conclusion

Chapter 4: Textual analysis

4.1 Introduction, 4.2 Textual analysis, 4.3 Themes in The Management of Innovation, 4.4 Main thesis, 4.5 Support by other writers, 4.6 The selected textbooks, 4.7 Critical discourse analysis, 4.8 Conclusion

Chapter 5: Paradigm commensurabilities

5.1 Introduction, 5.2 Paradigms, 5.3 Paradigm similarities and differences, 5.4 Burrell and Morgan’s sociological paradigms, 5.5 The functionalist paradigm, 5.6 Burns and Stalker’s book, 5.7 The Interpretive paradigm, 5.8 Conclusion

Chapter 6: The academy

6.1 Introduction, 6.2 Explanations for mainstream representations of The Management of Innovation, 6.3 The academy, 6.4 Journals, 6.5 The Administrative Science Quarterly, 6.6 Journal rankings, 6.7 Academic networks, 6.8 Universities, 6.9 Technology and curricular developments, 6.10 Disciplinary influences, 6.11 Tropes, 6.12 Conclusion

Chapter 7: Science versus scientificity

7.1 Introduction, 7.2 Objectivist knowledge, 7.3 Subjectivist knowledge, 7.4 Scientific knowledge, 7.5 Positivism, 7.6 Implications, 7.7 Incommensurability: the natural sciences, 7.8 Incommensurability: the social sciences, 7.9 Commensurability: the social sciences, 7.10 Incommensurability: organisation/management studies, 7.11 Commensurability: organisation/management studies, 7.12 Conclusion

Chapter 8: Dialectical oppositions

8.1 Introduction, 8.2 Simons (1987), 8.3 Abernethy and Brownell (1999), 8.4 Simons’ research: implications, 8.5 Abernethy and Brownell’s research: implications, 8.6 Dissenting voices: organisation/management, 8.7 Dissenting voices: management accounting, 8.8 Chenhall and Euske (2007), 8.9 Chenhall and Euske’s research: implications, 8.10 Conclusion

Chapter 9: Conclusions

9.1 Purpose of this study, 9.2 Similarities and differences, 9.3 Findings, 9.4 Explanations, 9.5 Commensurability and incommensurability, 9.6 Contingency theory as a model and benchmark, 9.7 Significance for practice, 9.8 One interpretation, 9.9 Limitations of the book, 9.10 Scope for further research, 9.11 Conclusion


About the Author

Miriam Green was for many years a Senior Lecturer at London Metropolitan University and is currently teaching at Icon College of Technology and Management. She completed a PhD in Organisation Studies, on which this book is based, and has also written journal articles and book chapters in this field. Her current research interests include critiques of neo-liberalism and postmodernism.

About the Series

Finance, Governance and Sustainability

Challenges to Theory and Practice

Today’s developments within the field of sustainability and governance appeal to a growing audience in many aspects. While there are many studies on governance and finance, the focus to include sustainability is missed. The convergence between these three fields, Finance, Governance, and Sustainability, has a high potential for solutions providing a wider perspective to the issues and barriers encountered in sustainability. The aim of the Finance, Governance and Sustainability: Challenges to Theory and Practice series, edited by Güler Aras, is to fill this gap by bringing together the recent developments at the intersection of these three fields.

This series shares the studies of academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, policy makers and government officers aiming to contribute to the progress and overcome the emerging barriers in sustainability. In addition, the linkage of the series’ studies, to the newly established Center for Finance, Corporate Governance and Sustainability, will provide the most current research and debate in this field along with a global perspective.

The series combines strong conceptual analysis, with wide ranging empirical focus, and a wealth of case material. Also included are summary points, suggestions for further reading, web resources, and an extensive bibliography. The level of presentation is for graduate students, academics, as well as policy and decision-makers around the world.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Accounting / Managerial
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Corporate Governance
EDUCATION / Organizations & Institutions