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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the instrumental status of management ideas through the lenses of three theoretical perspectives. While from the modernistic–rationalistic perspective, management ideas are conceived of as tools, they are also frequently described as legitimizing elements or fashions viewed from the social constructionist–symbolic perspective. However, seen from a pragmatic perspective—this chapter’s main analytical frame—the instrumental quality of a management idea cannot be decided upon a priori, as if it were a distinct property of each idea. Instead, the implementation phase stands out as critical for the shaping of management ideas. A pragmatic lens, such as offered by translation theory, helps to identify a range of possible trajectories of initiatives to implement management ideas. Some lead to instrumentalization and practical use, while others do not. It is argued that translation theory has the potential to guide practitioners’ efforts to instrumentalize management ideas.

Keywords: management ideas, pragmatic perspective, translation theory, instrumentalization, implementation stage

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