"Barry and Hansen have gathered an impressive array of contributors to speculate where the management and organization field might be headed. The Handbook offers refreshing and proactive insights that confront our assumptions about organizations and challenge us to expand our thinking and inquiry. It it must reading for anyone who seeks to understand how we look at, live in, and act on organizations."—Thomas G. Cummings, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern CaliforniaTen years ago critical theory and postmodernism were considered new and emerging theories in Business and Management. What will be the next new important theories to shape the field? In one edited volume, David Barry and Hans Hansen have commissioned new chapters that will allow readers to stay one step ahead of the latest thinking. Contributors draw on research and practice to introduce ideas that are considered 'fringe' and controversial today, but may be key theoretical contributions tomorrow. Each chapter sets these ideas in their historical context, lays out the key theoretical positions taken by each new approach and makes it clear why these approaches are different to more mainstream concepts. Throughout contributors refer to existing studies that show how these developing themes will change the Business and Management arena.Researchers, teachers and advanced students who are interested in the future of Business and Management scholarship will want to read this Handbook.
Chapter 97: Suppose We Took Organizational Performance Seriously
Suppose We Took Organizational Performance Seriously
Students of organizations spend much of their time developing explanations for performance. In so doing, they risk both sanity and professional standing in a chase for the academic equivalent of the biblical Holy Grail. In the memorable words of March and Sutton,
Scholarly virtue is more a struggle than an achievement, and seeking knowledge about historically ambiguous phenomena such as organizational performance is more a form of disciplined self-flagellation than a pursuit of happiness. (1997: 705)
In this brief essay, I outline the perils of a life devoted to the study organizational performance.
One issue is implied by the term itself. The term ‘performance’ implies a monolithic phenomenon, or in the academic vernacular a uni-dimensional construct. Indeed, ...