Management and Military Studies : Classical and Current Foundations book cover
1st Edition

Management and Military Studies
Classical and Current Foundations

ISBN 9780367198978
Published April 17, 2020 by Routledge
290 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book connects findings and insights authored by famous scholars in management and organization studies with challenges the military is facing today.

One assumes that management and organization studies is only about the rational, predictable, and manageable, and that military action is predominately irrational, unpredictable, and unmanageable; both assumptions are wrong. This book argues that the discipline of management and organization studies is highly relevant for the military in both peace- and wartime conditions, and for any situation in between. In all conditions, the giant and complex military organization needs to be structured, processed, administrated, led, and accounted for. Each chapter presented in this volume focuses on the contributions of founding thinkers in management and organization studies, with their work translated and applied to the military setting. These scholars are drawn from a variety of backgrounds, including organizational sociology, economics, political science, psychology, and engineering. Although the work of only a few explicitly refers to the military, the contributions of all these scholars are relevant in order to come to grips with security and military affairs. Together with many other academics’ work, the contributions of these 18 scholars constitute the core of the field of management and organization studies.

This book will be of much interest to students of military studies, management studies, and organization studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Frederick Taylor: standardized work division, calculation and efficiency, criticism and new developments

3. Mary Parker Follett: dynamic administration, from the growing of power to constructive conflict

4. Chester Barnard: the human side of the (military) enterprise and leadership

5. James March: decision making in organizations and the military, the ‘upper echelon’ approach

6. Chris Argyris: organizational learning in the military

7. Henry Mintzberg: managing in exceptional and military circumstances, strategy development, organization’s structures and closing gaps

8. Oliver Williamson: externalizing activities through transaction costs economics, new public management, organizational hybridities

9. Michael Porter: value creation in business and the military, strategic focus, absorptive capacity

10. Kenneth Merchant: management control, hard and soft controls, financial policies, quality management

11. Jeffrey Pfeffer: external control, unleashing the work force, the knowing-doing gap, effects- and evidence-based management

12. Karl Weick: sense-making in organizations, making sense of safety and incidents, making sense in military operations

13. Steven Barley: the acceptance of technology, virtual work in the military, drones, cyber and big data

14. Geert Hofstede: international management, international military cooperation

15. Rosabeth Moss Kanter: diversity, organizational change and innovation in (military) organizations

16. Keith Provan: forms of network governance and network performance

17. Nils Brunsson: limits to organizational rationality, organizational hypocrisy, standardization

18. Barbara Czarniawska: narratives in management, security and the military

19. Martha Finnemore: international governmental organizations in the world of security and the military

20. Conclusions: general developments, military effectiveness, changes, restraint and understanding

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Joseph Soeters is a retired professor of management and organization studies at the Netherlands Defence Academy. Currently, he serves as professor at Tilburg University, the Netherlands.


'In our, often almost unthinkably, complex world the understanding of how the instruments of power work is vitally important. This book combines numerous studies that can help improve military decision making and demonstrates that there is a lot to learn. Together with its twin book Sociology and Military Studies it provides different but compelling learning material for those trying to understand how the military functions but more importantly for those that have to make wise decisions in the complex environment in which the military has to operate. The book mentions Odysseus, the Greek hero, who used both his warrior ethos and his wisdom to fight on his terms. That is how hybrid threats can be countered, that is how the military can win.'--Ton van Loon, retired Lieutenant General Royal Netherlands Army, commander RC South ISAF-operations, 2006-7

'Following his book on Sociology and Military Studies, Joseph Soeters now presents a fascinating collection of insights from the Management and Organization Studies literature selected on the basis of their relevance to the military domain. Classical and modern authors are presented with flair and a keen eye for the essentials of their contributions. Applications to military issues and challenges are made clear through many real-world cases. The book makes a unique contribution to the field of military studies and Soeters shows a wide-ranging grasp of the multidisciplinary nature of this domain.'--Hein Schreuder, board member of Vlerick Business School (Brussels), emeritus professor Maastricht University, and former executive vice-president corporate strategy & acquisitions, DSM

'Joseph Soeters, long-time Professor of Organizational Behavior at Tilburg University and the Netherlands Defence Academy, is well-known to those of us in Europe and the U.S. who study the military. He has spent a career investigating militaries with conceptual tools and methodologies from this field.  Management and Military Studies adds to his impressive resumé already brimming with keen observations and theoretical insights. Like his earlier and highly successful Sociology and Military Studies, Soeters serves as our guide through selected classic studies, some older, some more contemporary. Along the way, he points out for us gems some less obvious, some sitting there in plain sight that may have particular application to the study of the military. Once again, he has gracefully rousted us out of our disciplinary siloes and shone a spotlight where so many of us who are not management specialists (or, in the case of his earlier book, not sociologists) would have failed to look, much less see.'-- Wilbur Scott, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, U.S. Air Force Academy