Organizational Misbehaviour


Stephen Ackroyd & Paul Thompson

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    Stephen Ackroyd would like to thank the many students who have shared his enthusiasm for this subject over the years. Several former students have been disposed to take their interest in the matters discussed here further, and some of them have contributed to this field in their own right. Here the names of Farhad Analoui, Philip Crowdy, Mark Stevens and Frank Worthington deserve special mention. Numerous managers have also contributed to the understanding of misbehaviour that has now emerged, not least by allowing the organizations for which they have been responsible to be studied, and by discussing the behaviour that research uncovered. Above all in this category there is Maurice Phelps, who, many years ago now, gave me my first opportunity to research the informal organization of misbehaviour at close quarters.

    Colleagues at Lancaster have not always shared a high degree of intellectual interest in misbehaviour, though they have remained supportive in other ways. The names of Keith Soothill, Frank Blackler, Mike Reed and Colin Brown must be mentioned. There are exceptions to every rule of course, and Gibson Burrell and John Hughes (both well equipped by temperament to be empathetic observers of misbehaviour) could be relied on to provide a sympathetic audience for ideas and findings in the early years. At different times, Karen Legge and Barbara Townley were also willing to listen to discussions of this material; even though neither was fundamentally sympathetic to the overall explanatory scheme. Interestingly, also, both of these friends were not above taking a disciplinary attitude to what they considered my own tendencies to misbehave. Such episodes serve as a demonstration, if any is needed, that academic work is not exempt from the political processes through which self-organization is developed. However, it would be unfortunate indeed if readers were to get the impression that conflict was pervasive. Karen Legge, in particular, not only has read and commented on sections of this manuscript, much to their benefit, but is owed a huge debt for many other practical and intellectual contributions.

    Paul Thompson adds that after a lifetime's experience of observing his own and others' workplace misbehaviour, there are too many people and places to mention by name. But he would like to thank Heidi Gottfried, Julia O'Connell-Davidson and Fiona Wilson for help with Chapter 6. MBA students at Edinburgh have been a stimulating audience for these ideas, and have provided valuable means of road testing the ideas in many of these chapters. They have also contributed many examples and illustrations of misbehaviour, some of which have found their way into these pages. Colleagues at Edinburgh, particularly Tricia Findlay and Jim Hine, have given valued support during the long gestation period of this book. Like anyone who knows me, they will no doubt be glad never again to hear any reference to ‘The book on organizational misbehaviour I'm working on with Steve Ackroyd’. They can now read the book for themselves.

    There are some people to whom both authors feel indebted. The work of David Collinson and that of Paul Edwards has been imporant to us, as anyone will see who reads the book. Paul Stewart and Miguel Martinez-Lucio have also been consistent sources of (more pointed) stimulation and for us both their ideas are matters of lively interest. Pam Ackroyd read the manuscript through on several occasions, and helped us to avoid a number of errors. She also prepared the bibliography. Special thanks are due to Sue Jones of Sage Publications who originally commissioned the book and was consistently in our corner. More recently Sue's task was taken over by Rosemary Nixon, who is also to be thanked for her consistent support and encouragement.

    StephenAckroyd and PaulThompson Universities of Lancaster and Edinburgh
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