preliminary draft: contents considered so far (compilation: U. Gehmann, based on our discussions)
(A), Mythology of Management
A series of scholars were involved in this topic already (e.g. Yannis Gabriel, Martin Bowles), but despite this, it would deserve far more investigation – last but not least according to own experiences in diverse management contexts.
You can re-think management, its basic assumptions and underlying rules of conduct only if you understand these very basic assumptions – which are of a quasi-mythological nature, finally, resting upon certain central beliefs (you may call them myths of management) about the human nature and out of this, the relevant world. These are assumptions embedded in a larger cultural context of self-understanding, rationality and the (assumed) nature of organizations, a context with a long occidental tradition out of which they emerged.
It is not the time to go deeper into this context – just to refer to classical works of scholars as Pribram, Weber, Sombart, Schumpeter – but its result, those assumptions, need to be understood in order to understand what management at all means; in peculiar when looking at its recent outcomes on a global scale.
Proposed topics inside (A) – draft, can be modified/adjusted any time:
- major traits of recent management understanding, and central beliefs they rest upon
- justifications/argumentations of what a
- recent “proper” management is,
- what the relevant world of a “proper” organization/ways of organizing is,
and why both have to be so – it is about those beliefs and their justification by an assumed ‘nature’ of the ‘relevant’ world management is confronted with
- critical assessment of those justifications, and through that, of the beliefs they rest upon
- assessment of the major instruments of implementation (e.g., value chain) and the relevant worlds generated by them
- discussing alternatives to such a mainstream understanding of management
(B), Management and Space
Topic (B) interrelates with (A) in that a relevant world is created, resting on the assumptions tackled in (A); or posed even shorter, as a metaphor and basic process alike: the myth creates the reality suited to it, and this very reality justifies the myth in question.
At the top of such a self-referential, quasi-autopoietical system, new hybrid spaces of various kinds emerged, them the product as well as the subject of intensified management; see for instance all the Google-, Facebook- etc. discussions. Brought to its point: a certain way of management, based on a certain understanding – topic (A) – generates its relevant worlds, expressed as certain kinds of spatiality – topic (B) – or more precise, spatialities since we are living in a multiverse of such spaces today, not only in management. Related to the latter aspect, the human condition becomes affected, first of all by so-called mmis (man/machine interfaces) which begun to become marketed at full speed quite recently.
⇒ to realize the connection between the topics (A) and (B) could be a major benefit of this approach because such a connection hasn’t been clearly elaborated so far.
The relations between a prevailing mode of (global) management and the globalization and formatting of spaces hasn’t been investigated deeply so far, and surely deserves closest attention, in particular since it is technologically assisted in high, and increasing, degree. All in all, in the relationships between management and space a kind of ‘cybernetics of augmentation’ is taking place, with one factor assisting the other.
Proposed topics inside (B):
- managing space and time – what it concretely means to just manage them?
- which systems of ‘relevant worlds’ are generated by it
- which technological sets assist/enhance such processes – and understandings, see (A)
- which new realities/hybrid spaces are generated, with
- a special focus on mmis (Zampella)
- what this all means for the classical occidental topic of a conditio humana?
(C), Ideal Spaces and Ideal Worlds
The relation between a classic occidental trope, namely an ideal environment for an ‘ideal’ conditio humana, is in the focus of attention here.
Proposed topics inside (C):
- the constructed “ideal environment” (not matter which form) as an eidos of an ‘ideal’ human being
- the mythic backgrounds and leading ideas for diverse emanations of ‘ideal’ worlds
- lead metaphors for them, and their socio-cultural relations; historically, sociologically, and in their reverberation inside the realm of technological imagery
- major developmental tendencies, expressed first and foremost as “longue duree”
- recent forms of ideal worlds: how, and why with regard to the above
- recent vistas, plus their historical backgrounds, of a conditio humana underlying these worlds
- Functionalism and abstraction
- Immaterialization of those worlds, alongside with their technification
- Issues of system, abstraction, and Gestalt