The ‘Polycronic’ Effects of Management by Objectives: A System Theoretical Approach

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    This article expands the hypothesis proposed by Peter F. Drücker and Dirk Baecker, that is, how the evolution of computer communication manifests and presses ahead the detemporization and poly-contextuality of information and therefore is said to be the driver for an unmanageable complexity within modern organizations. In order to do so, the article uses an illustrative case of Management by Objectives as it appears within the governmental programmes in Denmark associated with New Public Management. This case shows how this technology enables the production of a diversity of antagonistic images of the organization relative to its environment (polycontextuality) and in particular how these effects emerge due to different timebindings within organizations (organized temporality). As such the hypothesis is expanded in three ways: first of all, the hypothesis is expanded as polycontextuality is comprehended within the temporal dimension, that is, as the differences between timebindings. Second of all, the article renders probable these identity-problems of modern organizations but due to another technology which mediates communication: Management by Objectives. Thus, identity problems should be associated with other media of communication too, than the one of the computer communication. Third of all, the implications of identity problems of modern organizations are often associated with the impossibility of management or with a need for more complex ways of managing. The article is an attempt to specify this approach suggesting 2. order management as a matter of observing the observations enabled by management technologies. To these ends the article draws upon Luhmann´s system theory in order to direct attention to these organizational identity problems. This contribution is not conclusive. It is an attempt to expand a strong hypothesis in the need of further investigation.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalTamara: Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)21-32
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

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