Multiple journal article summaries and analysis


Multiple journal article summaries and analysis

Summaries of the articles

  1. Brocklehurst, M., Grey, C. and Sturdy, A. (2010) ‘Management: The work that dares not speak its name’, Management Learning, 41(1), pp.7-19.

This article by Brocklehurst et al (2010) is an analysis into the term “manager” and its decline in status since the mid 20th century. The article presents facts on a study on managers pursuing MBAs and their perspective on and practical use of the term “manager”. It forms its argument around the derogatory use of the term and the over using of the designation “manager” as the main cause of this decline. It also highlights the impact of these two causes on management studies. As the article cites, management had risen to being a basic and dominant institution that even scholars of management thought would last as long as the western civilization survived. However, this has not been the case especially in the decline of management as an activity with status rather than an activity in general.

The article bases its evidence majorly on a study done on managers-to-be and executive managers. It highlights this study, gives the findings and discusses them. The study it uses as evidence was triggered by a different study on the application of managerial ideas by 45 MBA students. Interestingly of all the 45 executive MBA executive students none categorised themselves as managers or even mentioned the term management in their interview. A follow-up interview was done to confirm this observation and it incorporated nine additional individuals – making a total of 54 part-time executive MBA students being interviewed – with the aim being to cover a range of backgrounds and organisational types – public and private. The choice of the interviewees was because all were practicing middle level managers averaging ten years of experience, they studied management and are thus familiar with its functions and purpose and finally by the virtues that they were pursuing and MBA, they would be more committed to the idea of management. The article concludes by questioning the objectivity of management education and particularly MBAs if the institution to which they are directed is self-eliminating and it raises concern over the increasing number of academics including scholars that are studying to come up with better ways to equip managers.

  1. Donaldson, L. (2002) ‘Damned by Our Own Theories: Contradictions between Theories and Management Education’, Academy of Management Learning & Education, 1(1), pp.96-106.

Donaldson (2002), in this article, focuses on elaborating the differences between contemporary social science theories that are being taught in schools and premises presented by management education. The article begins by pointing out the incompatibility between the role of scientific theories in management educations for both executive (experienced) managers and future managers (MBA and undergraduate learners). The author suggests that management schools need to check on their curriculum to better influence managers and thus achieving better management practices. Additionally, Donaldson (2002) notes that even unlearnt managers copy trends in management that are born out of management schools. The article critically analyses the theories under economics and finance, strategy theory, agency theory, institutional theory and judgmental bias theory.

In order to argue out its case, this article contrasts different truths as presented by different scholars. All the arguments presented is based on secondary research; analysis of contributions made by other scholars. For example in economics and finance, the article quotes the works of renowned scholars such as Friedman whose contribution is that managers and organizations are rational and thus contributing to market efficiencies. On strategy, the article faults prescriptions of remedies of competitive advantage provided by scholars such as Michael Porter and theories of strategy such as the Resource Based Theory as explained by Priem and Butler. There is also a cited case of Ford where a manager refused to disclose the firm’s strategy and asked if he would do so to a business school such as Harvard, he affirmatively responds that such a business school would be the last to receive such information.  On agency theory, the article presents a direct quotation from a finance professor as cited in another journal and though this cannot be directly interpreted as primary evidence, it shows the credibility of the sources that the article relies upon.The article concludes by suggesting scrapping of management education that contradicts these scientific theories and additional emphasis on areas that are congruent.

  1. Ghoshal, S. (2005) ‘Bad Management Theories Are Destroying Good Management Practices’, Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(1), pp.75-91.

This article impeccably argues out the case of overreliance on provable theories of management that are scientifically inclined – viewing actions of managers as causal and functional – and how these are used by managers to evade responsibilities for their actions. The article starts by referring to a sample case of Enron in which unethical practices led to its collapse. The author cites that though many scholarly institutions do much to extol their “new” curriculum on corporate social responsibility, the problem is engraved in the same old theories that have been taught to executive managers and MBA students. It is paradoxical that practices such as those of managers of Enron are harshly condemned but are being propagated by the same theories that are taught in business schools. Most of the worst excesses of recent management practices are a result of theories developed from business schools. Citing for example the case of agency theory which portrays managers as selfish and acting irrationally due to “agency problems”. The theory offers the solution as benefits in the form of stock options. There is also the case of transaction cost economics that views employees as opportunistic and thus offering control and monitoring measures against them and finally the Porter’s competitive forces that create and ideology that firms are competing with everyone including customers, suppliers, employees and regulators.

This article also draws its evidence and makes deductions based on secondary data as presented by other scholars. One of the major arguments, which is also subheading, for example, is drawn from Hayek’s work christened the “pretense of knowledge”. This particular case presents the issue as theorisations that are partialised in terms of analysis. A different argument – ideology based on gloomy vision – that also supports the thesis of the article is based on the work of Hirschman who use the term “gloomy vision” to describe pessimistic ideas about people and institutions. To further simplify the understanding of the reader, the author has incorporated a structure from ‘Explaining Technical Change’ by Elster (1983) which distinguishes between applicability of causal, functional and intentional explanations on humanities (under which management is found) and on natural sciences (whose explanations differ from those of management but have been consistently used to create theories). The article concludes with suggested reversal of these effects by simply incorporating more non-scientific theories that may not necessarily fit into empirical evidences.

  1. Mesny, A. (2014) ‘What do “we” know that “they” don’t?  Sociologists’ versus non-sociologists’ knowledge’, Canadian Journal of Sociology, 34(3), pp.671-695.

The objective of this article is to explore public sociology and the relationship between sociologist’ and non-sociologists’ perspectives and knowledge of the social world. It has categorised the status of sociologists’ knowledge versus the layman’s knowledge of the social world into four segments, that is, superiority, homology, complementarity and circularity. Evidently, the arguments in the article are based on secondary research. On the first one, the article elaborates on the tendency by sociologists to deem their views as superior to those of laymen on the basis of them (sociologists) being systematic, professional and scientific in their research. The author evidences this by citing an article, Sociology for everyone, by Joseph (1986) which portrays the inferiority of commonsensical knowledge in the current world. Another author that the article has heavily borrowed from here is Lynch (2000) on her article –Against reflexivity as an academic virtue and source of privileged knowledge. The article tackles homology – majorly borrowing from the works of Furnham (1983), Social psychology as common sense, – under which the emphasis is that lay people and sociologists have different perspectives that are similar and comparable. An imperative point is that the lay theories and scientific theories borrow from each other. This claim is also supported by the complementarity approach – drawn from an article by Calori (2000), Ordinary theorists in mixed industries, – between the two theories where the scientific theories especially in the field of management can borrow from lay theories to amend the loopholes that exist. Lastly, the article looks at a fundamental view of the two theories as under their circular relationships. Lay theories borrow from sociological research and sociological knowledge is founded on commonsensical knowledge. Although the article notes that most of the sociological knowledge gets directed to the society through social media, some of it goes through the academic institutions. Such results from scientific knowledge are often used by lay men to favor and fit their own interests. By drawing from a wide range of sources, the article presents a comprehensive discussion.



Management education is supposed to shape management practices positively. However, this has not been the case as evidenced in the four articles summarised above. The propagation of the same old theories on management, for example, creates awareness among managers-to-be of practices that negatively impacts on the organizations and accords some legitimacy to such. As Mensy (2009) notes, some scientific theories are applied by selfishly by laymen.

Comprehensive analysis of the articles

The term “manager” no longer adorns the admiration that it used to in the mid 20th century. In fact the term has undergone derogatory use to the extent that it is currently avoided by the very people that are supposed to use it (Brocklehurst et al, 2010). The departure of the use of the term is attributed to it being over used such that it lacks a professionalism connotation and the continued association of managers with inflexibility and bureaucracy.  This idea is presented by the article by Brocklehurst et al (2010) and similar thoughts are carried by article Damned by our own theories in which the author, Donaldson (2002), elaborates on manager’s bureaucracy as arising from agency theories taught in schools that push managers to act in line with “agency problems”; managers are brought out as selfish individuals that only care about maximizing their own wealth and achieving status. Ghoshal (2005) in his article, Bad management theories are destroying good management practices, similarly points out the issue of bad management practices as emerging from theories taught in business schools. As an example he cites the case of Enron in which unethical management practices – agency issues – led to the collapse of the firm.  Contrastively, the article Mensy (2009) sums this up through its sentiment that scientific results are not always applied positively by laymen. They are often applied to further selfish needs by managers; market competition and market demands are the common scapegoats for managers that dodge their responsibilities (Ghosal, 2005). Additionally, there is a connection between the discussion of superiority of sociologist’s perspective over a layman’s perspective in the article by Mensy (2009) and the article by Ghoshal (2005) where it discusses application of management theories by “unlearnt” managers. The impact of theories taught in management schools is so prevalent that even managers that have not attended any management schools nor have any influence of management education end up performing the same activities and applying similar principles as the ones that have been to management schools.


It is fundamental to note that there is evidence of deteriorating nature of management practices. Various factors can be presented as the cause but the article all highlight one major factor and that is management education. To solve for deteriorating management practices, management education is widely suggested as the solution.

Lessons Learnt

Through the summary of the journal article and creating a connection between them I have acquired invaluable lessons on reading, researching and analysing academic materials. Firstly, I have learnt that the scope of academic research is supposed to be wide and detailed. For example, in summarizing the journal articles, I had to read and re-read the articles and then come up with a short version of what they entailed. Essentially, I learnt the importance of noting the main ideas as I went through a particular article and going over them again to ensure every idea is captured. To ascertain the evidence base, I had to look at the back up ideas to the major argument. This involved picking the main idea and finding out where the author of the article has drawn evidence from and also researching on some of the sources as a way of seeking to establish their contribution to the main argument. In general, I learnt about being thorough about assessing the credibility of a source through obtaining its main argument and the source of the arguments. Additionally, through writing the essay section, I found it imperative that I had understood the major arguments of each of the articles that I had summarised. While writing the essay, I could easily draw comparisons, differences and complementary points from previous analysis of the articles and consequently, building up arguments over the thesis statement was unproblematic. However, a fundamental lesson I got was developing an argument based on researches on sources that support and denounce the claims of the argument. In the articles, is summarised for example, the authors have thoroughly researched their topics, as evidenced by the number and range of sources, and have effectively used them to back up claims – whilst crediting the relevant authors, – refute ideas and also give examples. Alternatively put, they do not have arguments that are not backed up by evidence from credible sources and mostly renowned scholars in such fields. I intend to apply this in my future writing projects whereby I will be comprehensively analysing different credible sources related to a topic at hand and using them to back up arguments and also evidence counterarguments.


Brocklehurst, M., Grey, C. and Sturdy, A. (2010) ‘Management: The work that dares not speak its name’, Management Learning, 41(1), pp.7-19.

Donaldson, L. (2002) ‘Damned by Our Own Theories: Contradictions between Theories and Management Education’, Academy of Management Learning & Education, 1(1), pp.96-106.

Ghoshal, S. (2005) ‘Bad Management Theories Are Destroying Good Management Practices’, Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(1), pp.75-91.

Mesny, A. (2014) ‘What do “we” know that “they” don’t?  Sociologists’ versus non-sociologists’ knowledge’, Canadian Journal of Sociology, 34(3), pp.671-695.

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