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Management Learning http://mlq.sagepub.com/

Management: The work that dares not speak its name
Michael Brocklehurst, Chris Grey and Andrew Sturdy Management Learning 2010 41: 7 originally published online 13 November 2009 DOI: 10.1177/1350507609347590 The online version of this article can be found at: http://mlq.sagepub.com/content/41/1/7

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Article

Management: The work that dares not speak its name
Michael Brocklehurst
Imperial College, London, UK

Management Learning 41(1) 7–19 © The Author(s) 2009 Reprints and permissions: http://www. sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermission.nav DOI: 10.1177/1350507609347590 mlq.sagepub.com

Chris Grey

University of Warwick, UK

Andrew Sturdy
Abstract

University of Warwick, UK

The status of management and managers has fluctuated over the years, arguably reaching its high point in the mid-20th century but since declining. This article explores how managers respond to this decline in status. It presents and discusses the findings of a study of managers (who are also Executive MBA students) who unanimously avoided describing themselves as ‘managers’. The article argues that this response reflects both the overuse of the designation ‘manager’ as well as derogatory connotations of the term. This derogation is rooted in the nature of managerial work and its associations with bureaucracy and inflexibility. But while features of bureaucracy such as hierarchy remain, then...

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