Beyond the hegemonic narrative – a study of managers

Vickers, David orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7220-8789 (2008) Beyond the hegemonic narrative – a study of managers. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 21 (5). pp. 560-573. ISSN 0953-4814

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Purpose – The aim is to analyse managerial behaviour using narrative analysis to identify stories that are often ignored, silenced or missed by the hegemonic managerialist narrative.

Design/methodology/approach – An ethnographic narrative based on an 18 month period of participant observation where the author was a manager in a business unit acquired by another company for $1 billion.

Findings – Strategy can be diverted or altered by managers lower down the organization in a counter strategy process. This is consistent with Dalton where managers lower down the organization adapt and change strategy to make it work in practice.

Research limitations/implications – Participant observation and ethnomethodological narrative analysis have the potential to go beyond the hegemonic managerialist literature and identify a much more complex picture. However, such research is always open to criticism as being from the author's “own perspective” and appearing to claim “omnipresence.” Other stories have been given voice but it is never possible to say that all stories have been recovered from the silencing processes of the organization.

Practical implications – A clearer understanding of how management operates counter strategies within an organization in practice. This enables organizations to reconsider how they engage managers beyond the hegemonic narrative.

Originality/value – This paper aims to provide an insight into management behaviour beyond the usual treatment of managers as an amorphous mass as is common in most of the hegemonic managerialist narrative. When managers are told the narratives in this paper they can recount their own similar stories yet these are rarely told.

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