Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 4 Issue 1 (March 1996), Pages 1-53

Modern Management's Role in the Demise of Sustainable Society (pages 20-31)

This paper examines the development of modern strategic management and portrays it as a major problem‐causer in modern society, rather than a problem‐solver. Frederick Taylor's philosophy and practice of scientific management is alive and well, and stronger than ever, in the final decade of the 20th century. Although scientific management is a vital underpinning to strategic development in a highly competitive, productivity‐conscious, organizational world, its intense, single‐minded and tunnelvisioned application raises the paradox of it being at one and the same time, “saint and sinner”. Its “saint” role is that of an economic productivity enhancing, competitive capability bestower. Its “sinner” role arises because of the adverse, and potentially dangerous impact it has on rank and file personnels’commitment to, or acceptance of, the way things are in organizations and society. The paper is intended to give an airing to significant problems which are emerging in a practical and theoretical managerial world which seems otherwise to be blindly, and extremely, embracing scientific management as the rightfully dominant paradigm for modern day management strategy. It suggests tha nature of changes which might need to be made to mainstream management paradigms. The challenge is to create a society based, at least in part, on cultural values of opposite dimensions to those which underpin scientific management.

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