Repurposing Management for the Public Good: Processes, Obstacles and Unintended Consequences
Submission Deadline: 1 May 2023
Special Issue Editors: Elena Dalpiaz (Imperial College London), Hannes Leroy (Erasmus University), Gideon Markman (Colorado State University), Daniel Muzio (York University), Kristina Potočnik (University of Edinburgh) & Christopher Wickert (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
In light of grand societal challenges such as inequality and climate change (Ferraro, et al., 2015; George, et al., 2016; Wickert, et al., 2021), management scholarship as well as business schools have begun to rethink how management can better promote more transparent, sustainable, and equitable practices, and enhance managerial and organizational purpose that aligns with concerns about management's contribution to the public good (Fearlie, et al., 2010; Khurana, 2010; Kitchener and Delbridge, 2020; Laasch, et al., 2020; Tsui, 2013; 2016; Van de Ven, 2007; Van de Ven and Johnson, 2006; Wickert et al., 2021). Whilst some progress has been made, such efforts must continue as addressing key societal challenges is likely to require managerial knowledge and practices as well as the direct engagement of managers, business leaders and scholars. To this effect the management community has certainly become much more reflexive about the limits of its current practices and activities and has been working on developing a whole range of alternative manifestos, programmes, or visions to align management with broader societal interests. Initiatives such as the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), the work of the Responsible Research in Business and Management (RRBM) movement as well as the proliferation of other initiatives on this topic reflect the aspirations to reconsider and even repurpose management institutions, research and education as well as organizations where management takes place, to more decisively enhance the public good.
Whilst the argument for repurposing management for the public good, and in doing so to better serve broader societal interests, resonates with many, how to translate these objectives into practices is less clear (but see Fearlie, et al., 2010; Kitchener and Delbridge, 2020). This is not surprising as management scholarship warns us of the existence of implementation gaps separating good intentions from their effective application. This is particularly so when radical change which goes against the interests of powerful incumbents and the entrenched role of deeply institutionalized rules, norms and cognitive schemes, for instance at the level of professions and organizations, may be required. For instance, there is a whole range of mechanisms such as de-coupling, tokenism, greenwashing, or capture, which often frustrate change programmes.
Against this backdrop this special issue seeks to better understand how management - as an occupation and discipline - can become more inclusive, impactful, and societally relevant. This will include, inter alia, exploring the effectiveness of different initiatives to serve the public good, the barriers these initiatives face, and how said barriers might be overcome as well as alternatives to management that we may want to consider.
We hope to attract expansive studies on how management might be reconsidered, repurposed, and redeployed to better serve the public good, while being aware of unintended consequences, trade-offs, conflicts and even paradoxes that may arise. At the most obvious level, we should be querying how effective we have been so far in delivering a more purposeful management agenda and in turn how effective this has been in helping to address current societal challenges. Furthermore, we aim to explore what this reconsidered, revised, and repurposed management means for different stakeholders residing in the broader community of the users of management and business knowledge.
This special issue aspires to examine 1) how far we have transitioned towards a more responsible and purposeful management agenda, (2) the processes and strategies through which this might be best accomplished, (3) the obstacles and barriers which may be hindering this journey and how these may be addressed, and (4) the intended and unintended consequences this raises for different stakeholders.
We are open to quantitative, qualitative, conceptual papers, reviews, and meta-analyses which address questions that include but are not limited to the following:
- How responsible is current management research and practice in terms of contributing to the public good?
- How are perceptions of the public good – what it is and whom it serves – constructed by managers?
- What areas of accountability in management are lacking? How could an organization's contribution to the public good be measured?
- How can managers promote the adoption of more responsible practices at managerial and organizational levels? And what is the role of internal change agents at different levels of an organization's hierarchy?
- What new aspirations, models, structures, or practices need to be developed to support a more responsible management research and practice agenda?
- How is the purpose of management constructed by managers and/or in organizational contexts more generally and which influences does it have on management practices?
- What is the role of new ventures in managing for the public good?
- Compared to other disciplines (e.g., medicine, law, economics, etc.), how responsible has management been in its contribution to the public good?
- What barriers affect the development of a more impactful management research and practice agenda? How may these be addressed?
- How can management become more meaningful and consequential to more stakeholders?
- What are the unintended consequences of transitioning to a more responsible management agenda (e.g., additional administrative burdens, performance expectations, work intensification, decoupled agendas of organizational purpose) and how can these be addressed?
- What are the trade-offs and potential paradoxes of adopting more responsible policies and practices and how do they affect different stakeholders?
- How can institutions, culture, values, narratives, or identity promote the adoption or diffusion of responsible practices in nascent or mature organizations?
SPECIAL ISSUE EVENTS
Post-submission: The special issue editors will organize a revision workshop in Fall/Winter 2023 (exact date, time and format TBA). Authors who receive a "revise and resubmit" (R&R) decision on their manuscript will be invited to attend this workshop. Participation in the workshop does not guarantee acceptance of the paper in the Special Issue and attendance is not a prerequisite for publication.
SUBMISSION PROCESS AND DEADLINES
- Submission deadline: 1 May 2023
- Expected publication: 2026
- Submissions should be prepared using the JMS Manuscript Preparation Guidelines
Ferraro, F., Etzion, D. and Gehman, J. (2015). 'Tackling grand challenges pragmatically: Robust action revisited'. Organization Studies, 36, 363-90.
Ferlie, E., McGivern, G. and De Moraes, A. (2010). 'Developing a public interest school of management'. British Journal of Management, 21, 60–70.
George, G., Howard-Grenville, J., Joshi, A. and Tihanyi, L. (2016). 'Understanding and tackling societal grand challenges through management research'. Academy of Management Journal, 59, 1880–95.
Khurana, R. (2010). From Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Laasch, O., Suddaby, R., Freeman, E. and Jamali, D. (2020). Research Handbook of Responsible Management. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Kitchener, M. and Delbridge, R. (2020). 'Lessons from creating a business school for public good: Obliquity, waysetting, and wayfinding in substantively rational change'. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 19, 307–22.
Tsui, A. S. (2013). 'On compassion in scholarship: why should we care?'. Academy of Management Review, 38, 167–81.
Tsui, A. (2016). 'Reflections on the so-called value-free ideal: A call for responsible science in the business schools'. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, 23, 4‒28.
Van De Ven, A. H. and Johnson, P. (2006). 'Knowledge for theory and practice'. Academy of Management Review, 31, 802–21.
Van de Ven, A. H. (2007). Engaged Scholarship: A Guide for Organizational and Social Research. New York: Oxford University Press.
Wickert, C., Post, C., Doh, J., Prescott, J. and Principe, A. (2021). 'Management research that makes a difference: Broadening the meaning of impact'. Journal of Management Studies, 58, 297–320.