By Alison Pullen

Twenty years of downsizing, delayering, company liposuction, lean production, empowerment, wisdom administration and networked association have shaken conventional assumptions approximately administration to their foundations. Drawing on specific empirical experiences and up to date conception on gender and tool, the booklet explores the effect of contemporary adjustments on managers' identities and their responses in developing new and a number of identities.

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Management increases its power through manipulating knowledge and information. Under late capitalism, however, several tendencies occur to pull apart society’s homogeneity into more heterogeneous varieties. Indeed, the fact that Gowler and Legge’s managers need to indulge in persuasive rhetoric over the nature of management would suggest that this is a reactive response to the problematization of “management”. As the tendencies of differentiation (specialization, complexity) and organization Management in Three Movements 41 (rationalization, commodification) accelerate, the divergent tendencies between them start to fragment.

Research on middle management has to a great extent been locked within positivist epistemologies and realist ontologies which reflect the dominance of essentialist representations of what is happening to middle management in the field. Much of the work in this area is not grounded in substantial or extensive and detailed empirical work, being 24 Managing Identity based instead on single case studies (Dopson and Stewart 1990; Newell and Dopson 1996; Redman et al 1997) or questionnaire surveys (Wheatley 1992; Inkson 1995).

What further developments need to be incorporated to take this move further? In this chapter, the first question is examined by looking at some of the broader commentaries on postmodern social and organizational shifts, and I will propose that each of the three themes of Gowler and Management in Three Movements 33 Legge could be seen to have shifted along a continuum – hierarchy towards networking; accountability towards seduction; achievement towards commitment. I will suggest some of the characteristics of these shifts and the processes by which they are achieved in developing the model which I will call “Management in Three Movements”.

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