Multiple Perspectives on Management

Numbering Code G-ECON31 6A623 LE44
G-ECON31 6A623 LE38
G-ECON31 6A623 LE43
Year/Term 2021 ・ Intensive, Second semester
Number of Credits 1 Course Type Lecture
Target Year Target Student
Language English Day/Period Intensive
Instructor name KUROSAWA TAKAFUMI (Graduate School of Economics Professor)
Outline and Purpose of the Course 【This course is an international collaborative course that is being offered by GSE professors in collaboration with Prof. Matthias Kipping (Professor of Policy [Business Strategy] at Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto). If you are registered in the Top Global Course certificate program, a minimum of two credits from such course is one of the requirements for obtaining the certificate.】
Today “Management” and “manager” are probably some of the most frequently used terms when describing structured/organized human interaction and are no longer confined to the world of business but cover a wide variety of spheres of activity. This course attempts to provide an overview over how and why “management” has become so widely used as a term and as a concept. Rather than imposing a single vision of management, the course looks critically at different ways to examine this important phenomenon and its expansion over time and space (drawing on research by the instructor and many others). Students are expected to (i) do some preparatory readings, (ii) participate actively in class discussions, and (iii) prepare a presentation to share some basic research about a management idea/fashion/practice.
Course Goals The course aims to give students a concise but comprehensive overview of what “management” means and how it became so important. More specifically, it tries to:
- familiarize participants with a wide range of perspectives on “management” (drawing on the latest findings from the relevant research);
- get them to understand the main questions as well as assumptions adopted by these different perspectives;
- make them realize how views within each perspective have changed over time and findings continue to be debated.

The course also aims to help students further their own research-related skills, namely developing their ability to:
- identify and reproduce the main arguments from different authors;
- critically evaluate the basic assumptions and research methods used by these authors;
- conduct basic research and present its results in a clear and concise way.
Schedule and Contents This course is scheduled for the end of October to the end of November, and as of February 2021, will be offered in-person format in four 3-hour sessions over two weeks, with the day and time to be announced in Kulasis and PandA by mid-September 2021. In the event that in-person classes are not possible due to the COVID-19 situation, the classes will be offered online as four consecutive weeks of three hours per week. In any case, please check the notice at the end of September carefully.

1. Defining management
Explores the linguistic terms “management” and “manager” and their evolution over time and space.
Preparation: Find formal definitions of both terms in English and equivalents in your own language (if different from English)
Background reading: Chapters 1 and 2 in Engwall et al. (2016)

2. Management as a practice
Provides an overview of the research on the evolution of management as being contingent on the changing forms of organizations from the unitary (or U) to the multidivisional (or M) and network (or N-) form, drawing on the work of Chandler and others.
Preparation: Read this brief note on Alfred Chandler (

Background readings: Whittington et al. (1999); Kay (2002); Langlois (2004)

3. Management as an idea
Introduces the literature on the history of management and management thought and discusses to what extent the historical development of management ideas is seen as “progress” or not and why.
Preparation: Read “Some half-truths of management· (

Background readings: Barley and Kunda (1992); Stewart (2006); Kiechel (2012)

4. Management as a “fashion”
Looks at the recent research on the rapid succession of management fashions or “fads” and how these were identified and traced. Also shows how a small number of cases have been used to illustrate different management principles over time.
Preparation: Read at least ONE of “The 8 Stupidest Management Fads of All Time” (

Background readings: Abrahamson (1996); Mair (1999)

5. Authorities on management
Examines in more detail the “fashion setting communities”, i.e. the main actors that promote and disseminate management ideas and practices, namely business schools, consultants and media, and how they obtained their own legitimacy and expanded internationally.
Preparation: Read “Do McKinsey services deserve high fees?” (

Background readings: Chapters 3 and 16 in Engwall et al. (2016)

6. Managers as a social group/elite/class
Surveys the studies that have looked at management beyond single organizations in terms of their broader economic, societal and cultural influence and power and discusses whether managers are a self-reproducing elite and might be considered a “class”.
Preparation: Read “'Managerial elite' immobilising Ireland” (

Background readings: Zunz (1990); Pettigrew (1992); Hartmann (2000)

7 and 8. Presentations and summary
Student presentations followed by a summary discussion of the main insights from the course in terms of the different perspectives on management, their assumptions, research methods and findings.
Preparation: Prepare a 10-minute presentation of a management idea/fashion/practice of your choice (to be agreed with the instructor), based on your own research. The content of the presentation, the underlying research and your ability to transmit your ideas to the audience will be evaluated.
Evaluation Methods and Policy Class preparation and participation (40%), including a brief reflective quiz, and a 10-minute presentation and the corresponding power point slide deck (60%), based on individual research (each marked out of 100 points)
Course Requirements none
Study outside of Class (preparation and review) For each class, several references (journal articles, handbook chapters, etc.) will be assigned. These papers will be uploaded to PandA a few weeks before the class starts. Participants are expected to read these papers before attending the class based on the instructor's instructions.
Textbooks Textbooks/References ********************:
Abrahamson, E. (1996),'Management Fashion', Academy of Management Review 21 (1): 254-285
Barley, S. R. and Kunda, G. (1992),'Design and devotion: Surges of rational and normative ideologies of control in managerial discourse', Administrative Science Quarterly 37: 363-399.
Hartmann, M. (2000),'Class-specific habitus and the social reproduction of the business elite in Germany and France', The Sociological Review 48 (2): 262-282.
Kay, N. M. (2002),'Chandlerism in post‐war Europe: strategic and structural change in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, 1950-1993: a comment', Industrial and Corporate Change 11 (1): 189-197.
Kiechel III, W. (2012),'The Management Century', Harvard Business Review 90 (11): 62-75.
Langlois, R. N. (2004), 'Chandler in a Larger Frame: Markets, Transaction Costs, and Organizational Form in History', Enterprise & Society 5 (3): 355-375.
Mair, A. (1999),'Learning from Honda', Journal of Management Studies 36 (1): 25-44
Pettigrew, A. M. (1992),'On Studying Managerial Elites', Strategic Management Journal 13: 163-182.
Stewart, M. (2006),'The Management Myth', The Atlantic, June.
Whittington, R., Mayer, M. and Curto, F. (1999), 'Chandlerism in Post-War Europe: Strategic and Structural Change in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, 1950-1993', Industrial and Corporate Change 8 (3): 519-551.
Wilkinson, A., Armstrong S. J. and M. Lounsbury (2017) (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Zunz, O. (1990), Making America Corporate, 1870-1920. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

References, etc. See above.
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