Theories and Concepts
Our principal objectives are to describe and explain a process of management reform. We achieve this mainly (though not exclusively) by analysing a mass of case study material — much of it our own, but some of it drawn from the work of others. Such analysis cannot proceed without, first, a set of organising concepts and, second, some guiding theory or theories. Occasionally commentators will claim that they are eschewing theory and offering ‘pragmatic’ or ‘realistic’ explanations, but invariably such accounts can be shown to be saturated with undeclared assumptions, undefined concepts and copious implicit theorising. In contrast we accept the usual academic responsibility to expose and discuss the abstract underpinnings of our work. This chapter is therefore taken up with an explication of our main organising concepts, followed by a discussion of how we have handled the issue of theory.
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