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February 13 , 2009

Rethinking Management

Radical Insights from the Complexity Sciences


What do business school graduates learn, and how helpful is it for managing in the everyday, messy reality of organisations? What does it mean to apply 'best practice', or to take up 'evidence-based management' and what kind of thinking does this imply?

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In Rethinking Management, Chris Mowles argues that many management courses still largely assume a linear and predictable world, when experience tells us that the opposite is the case. He questions some of the more orthodox conceptual assumptions that underpin much management education and instead, encourages leaders and managers to take their everyday experience of working with others seriously. People in organisations co-operate and compete to get things done, and constrain and enable each other in relationships of power. Because of this there are always unintended consequences of our actions - uncertainty is inherent in the everyday. Chris Mowles draws on the complexity sciences, the sciences of uncertainty rather than certainty, and the social sciences to explore more helpful ways to think and talk about our lived reality. He takes concrete examples from contemporary organisations, to argue that understanding the radical implications of uncertainty is central to the task of leading.

Rethinking Management explores narrative alternatives to the ubiquitous grids and frameworks that are routinely taught in business schools, and encourages management professionals and educators to recognise the importance of judgement, improvisation and the everyday politics of organisational life.

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