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Making Sense of Management

Making Sense of Management
A Critical Introduction

Second Edition

April 2012 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
The first edition of Making Sense of Management set out to provide a fresh perspective on management that was both broad and critical, exploring how the disruptive and constructive potential of critical theory can be realized in organizations. Along the way, it has proven to be a landmark contribution to critical management studies. As well as setting the agenda for current research, this revised edition has been written to appeal to a broader readership and open up critical theory for the general management student.


New sections on HRM, brands, identity, ethics and leadership have been fully developed alongside the rest of the text to reflect the current state of play in critical management studies.


The second edition of Making Sense of Management will be of interest to students and researchers in critical management studies and students on general management courses with a critical perspective.

Management in Critical Perspective
Critical Thinking
Forms of Knowledge and the Limits of Critique

Critical Conceptualizations of Management
Critically Assessing Management Specialisms I
Organization Theory, HRM and Leadership

Critically Assessing Management Specialisms II
Marketing and Strategic Management

Critically Assessing Management Specialisms III
Accounting, Information Systems and Operational Research

Recasting Emancipation in Management and Organization Studies
Critical Theory and Management Practice
Appendix: Brief History of the Frankfurt School

Sophisticated, insightful, incisive and yet accessible, Making Sense of Management does exactly that: cuts through the claims and assumptions of mainstream understandings of management. Written by the pioneers of 'critical management studies', this new and substantially revised edition is indispensible reading for all at a time when both the power and the failure of conventional approaches to management are all too evident
Christopher Grey
Professor of Organizational Behaviour, University of Warwick

What is management? Is it an attempt to organize the world efficiently, or the domination of the many by the few? In this imaginative and well written text, Alvesson and Willmott show how we must understand the politics of management if we are to be able to think past the various crises that currently face us
Martin Parker
Professor of Organization Studies, Warwick Business School and Editor-in-Chief of 'Organization'

The second and greatly revised edition of this text arrives in a world deeply troubled by 'business as usual', a world in which many people feel extraordinary powers and privileges have been abused by very ordinary managers recklessly running major banks, financial institutions, government organizations and enterprises generally. In understanding the underlying reasons why protests such as 'Occupy Wall Street' are happening across the world, and are the manifestation of a deep malaise, this book is highly recommended
Stewart Clegg
Research Professor and Director of the Centre for Management and Organization Studies, University of Technology, Sydney

This is a critically important book for anyone interested in management theory. Alvesson and Willmott bring a discerning voice of clarity to the cacophony of contemporary management texts by placing management theory in its proper ethical, social and historical context. The authors challenge our understanding of business organizations and management practices by asking fundamental questions about the role of business in modern society
Roy Suddaby
Eric Geddes Professor of Business, Alberta School of Business, Canada

This second edition cannot be more timely. It offers students a concise, in-depth critical understanding of the urgent need to transform both theory and management practice in the 21st century
Stella M Nkomo
University of Pretoria, South Africa

As a business owner I was particularly attracted by the real life examples, which were included, although, as a PhD student I was more interested in the academic references and theories.  However the ideas for developing a more critical approach generally are likely to be useful to me in both spheres of my life.  While this book seems primarily to be for Critical Management Studies researchers and students, anyone with an interest in critical perspectives of management could benefit from reading it.

Heather Short
University of Portsmouth

Excellent introduction to critical management studies.

Dr Daniel Salhani
School of Social Work, Univ of British Columbia
February 12, 2014

A very thought-provoking edition to this text which offers both academics and middle/senior leaders a challenging series of 'thought pieces' on contemporary leadership and management. This revised work is timely in light of the apparent chaos and sometimes unscrupulous world of business leadership. The focus on a critical management approach is also vital in that it challenges conventional academic and practice based 'wisdoms' and demands that we raise our game in terms of management 'best practice' and our fundamental understanding of the process.
Dr Peter Treadwell

Dr Peter Treadwell
Centre for Work Based Learning, Cardiff Metropolitan University
December 10, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781849200868
ISBN: 9781849200851

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