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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter gives an overview of the most important studies about managerial work practices and the most important findings these studies shed on our general understanding of management as a societal phenomenon and as a field for scientific enquiry. These studies can be divided into major streams, one functionalistic and one ethnographic. Both streams identify work practices that are very different from mainstream management theory (reactive, fragmented, unsystematic, irrational, etc). While the first stream is oriented towards solutions to managers to act in a more rational manner, the second stream seeks to understand why normative management theory often is mere a rationalistic dream and a legitimizing ideology than a robust explanatory framework built on empirical results. Regardless of these limitations the chapter claims that it is possible to summarize both streams into an integrated theory about management practices that acknowledge the complexities and the multifaceted nature of management practice.

Keywords: management practice, management theory, managerial work, functionalistic studies, ethnographic studies

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