Deconstructing the Future of Management: Pharmakon, Gary Hamel and the Impossibility of Invention

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Abstract

There has been a growing tendency to argue that the practice of management must be reinvented in the future in order to energize the creative potential of employees. However, the discourse on ‘management innovation’ attributes a curious dual function to the concept of management. On the one hand, management is portrayed as the ‘toxin’ that can impede innovation. But on the other hand, management is portrayed the ‘cure’ that will heal the defects that prevents innovation. Informed by Derrida's reflection upon the dual meaning of pharmakon, a word that means both ‘remedy’ and ‘poison’, the paper engages with Hamel's popular management handbook The Future of Management. Although Hamel attempts to establish a clear-cut distinction between those principles of management that obstruct and those that facilitate innovation, one is ultimately left uncertain whether management is a cure or a poison for innovation. This ambivalence points to an underlying paradox of contemporary post-managerial thinking that is characterized by incorporating transgression into its productive logic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFutures The journal of policy, planning and futures studies
Volume68
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
ISSN0016-3287
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

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