Management research, particularly critical management research, has long been criticised for making little impact on practice. One response to this critique has been Critical Performativity; an attempt to make critical scholarship actively involved in supporting progressive forms of organizing. However, whilst some critical scholars have called for such engagement few have carried this through to practice. This chapter responds to this gap by describing, and reflecting on one author’s experience of critical engaged scholarship; a form of scholarship that seeks to directly engage with, and intervene to change, organizational practice in support of alternative ways of organizing. It thus builds upon Critical Performativity by introducing Participant Action Research as a means to combine a critical sensibility with a desire to bring about change. Despite the challenges arising from this approach, we argue that it is important to continually examine what the critical performative potential of responsible management research could look like. The chapter ends with some suggestions on how this performative potential might be developed amongst responsible management scholars through reflexive approaches to organizational research, teaching and practice.
Kiri Langmead, Chris Land and Daniel King
This chapter argues that management should be understood as a concrete set of institutionally embedded practices, rather than an abstract verb for ‘getting things done’. Management, as a discourse, a social group, and a practice cannot become responsible because it is constitutively irresponsible and actively de-responsibilizes others. It is irresponsible because management is an agent of external interests and is limited to the effective realization of those interests without regard to substantive values. In practice this means externalizing costs where possible. We further argue that management actively de-responsibilizes employees by determining the purpose of their activities for them. This renders management inherently anti-democratic, as it removes the possibility of autonomous action that would enable effective responsibility for all. We argued that real responsibility is only possible if we abandon management to focus on organization instead. Because it is not institutionalized in the same way as management, organization is more open to developing democratic and collective, rather than individualized and limited, forms of shared responsibility. We outline this approach by considering workers’ cooperatives as spaces of democratic self-determination and common ownership, fostering an expansive conception of responsibility. Without such changes, we suggest, promises of a more responsible management will be mere window-dressing.