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date: 29 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers a critical examination of management’s gurus. It argues that there is a need to take these actors seriously because their preferred representations of the world of work have served to alter quite fundamentally how we think about, talk about, and practise the work of management. Noting difficulties associated with attempts to personify—or to name and acclaim—the gurus, the author offers an analysis of the deeper structure of ‘guru theory’ which, he suggests, persists even as individual gurus come and go. The author then proceeds to offer an analysis of the ‘guru industry’ which has grown up to provide critical reflections on the ways and means of the gurus. The chapter concludes with an account of more recent analytical developments which, in an attempt to consider the full cycle of ‘guru theory’, have examined ‘guru speak’.

Keywords: management, gurus, leadership, culture, popular management

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