Introduction: A critical approach to management

  • Liz Fulop
  • Stephen Linstead


Management is a controversial topic. Airport book stores are bulging with popular management bestsellers, which attests to the level of interest in the subject, and perhaps to the level of anxiety which managers feel about how they go about their task. After all, while the middle levels of management have been shrinking, in what Gibson Burrell (1997) has called ‘corporate liposuction’ as a result of the downsizing of the 1990s, managers are constantly asked to work both smarter and harder. All employees are being asked to take some managerial responsibility for their work through what is sometimes called empowerment, and the rewards for those at the very top of the managerial tree have been increasing dramatically. In fact, Warren Bennis (cited in Hodgetts 1996), a highly regarded management academic, quotes average salaries of chief executive officers (CEOs) as being 187 times greater than their employees — a trend he describes as obscene. No wonder managers wait anxiously for their flights and thumb the pages of the next panacea with some agitation. The favoured few might become very wealthy, but most managers work long and hard under the shadow of retrenchment or the next performance review, while consultants and top management argue for the dissipation of management functions throughout the organization, in flatter organizations which offer fewer opportunities for advancement. Given this scenario, we might well ask the question: ‘Who would want to be a manager?’


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Copyright information

© L. Fulop and S. Linstead 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liz Fulop
  • Stephen Linstead

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