Management as an Academic Discipline?

Damian O’Doherty, Christian De Cock

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To study something like ‘management’ as an ‘academic discipline’ inevitably leads to the question: What is disciplinary about management? In this chapter various meanings of ‘discipline’ are put forward, as are the effects these produce. An important reference is the work of Michel Foucault who reminds us of the importance of a vigilant and permanent questioning of ‘discipline’. One response is to linger—in a somewhat irreverent fashion—on certain issues that management scholars may have ignored in their corpus of knowledge. In what is a rather peculiar body of literature and practices that makes up ‘business and management studies’, it is shown that discipline is far from disciplined. As a practice it is best characterized as promiscuous and eclectic. Yet the clarion call of discipline remains. In a final twist, this chapter argues it is important to retain this legacy so that its constant re-invention remains a possibility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Management
EditorsA. Wilkinson, S. Armstrong, M. Lounsbury
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2017
ISBN (Electronic)9780198708612
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Management
  • Business and management studies
  • Management as an academic discipline
  • Michel Foucault
  • Practice

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