Management and Marketing - Conference Items

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    Theory, the uncanny and the sacred
    (2014-07) Kavanagh, Donncha
    This paper examines the related but different concepts of the uncanny and the sacred. Drawing on two cases – one fictional and one real – and using Žižek’s Symbolic-Real-Imaginary as an organising frame, the paper analyses how the uncanny and the sacred are connected. It then proceeds to examine the role of theorising in sacralising the uncanny and profaning the sacred. Finally, it briefly discusses how theory might be re-enchanted.
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    Understanding the work of the city manager
    (2003-01) Griffin, Quincy; Kavanagh, Donncha
    The managerial behaviour approach to understanding managerial work has developed from research over the course of fifty years. The approach represents a marked departure from mainstream (and still prevalent) management approaches that depict management as a set of general composite functions. The managerial behaviour approach is distinctive in its empirical research background, object, focus and methodology. Its objective is to provide the simple answer to the complex question: what do managers do? However, the emphasis in the studies on managerial behaviour represents a limitation in so far as a context for locating and judging that behaviour is largely absent (Hales, 1986). This paper presents the results of initial research into managers operating in a different and largely neglected context - city councils. The research uses Mintzberg’s (1973) concept of behavioural roles as an analytical tool to explain and understand what city managers do. This study assesses whether these roles adequately capture the important features of managerial work in the city council. It is argued that while Mintzberg’s role framework is useful, structured observation alone does not adequately address the complexities of environments and styles of managers or the cognitive processes of managers. However, by integrating this approach with an appreciation of context and cognitive processes and how they can influence or affect managerial behaviour, we develop a more realistic description of what managers actually do and why they do it.
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    From project ontologies to communities of virtue
    (2004-12) Linehan, Carol; Kavanagh, Donncha
    Projects, as an organizing principle, can provide exciting contexts for innovative work. Thus far, project management discourse has tended to privilege the vital need to deliver projects ‘on time, on budget, and to specification’. In common with the call for papers for this workshop we suggest that perhaps the “instrumental rationality” underpinning this language of characterising project activity may create more problems than it solves. In this paper we suggest that such questions (and language) frame project contexts in a partial way. We argue that such concerns stem from a particular worldview or ontology, which we identify as a ‘being’ ontology. Here we contrast being and becoming project ontologies, to explore the questions, methods and interventions that each foregrounds. In an attempt to move this dialogue further than simply another contrast of modern and postmodernist accounts of project organising, we go on to consider some possible ethical concomitants of valuing being and becoming ontologies in project contexts.
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    Learning to live with the lack: pedagogy of the beguiled
    (2005-07) Kuhling, Carmen; Keohane, Kieran; Kavanagh, Donncha
    An important aspect of globalisation/Americanisation is, prima facia, the global export of televisual products such as Sesame Street, Barney, etc. that are explicitly concerned with cultivating elementary forms of organisational life. Thus, it is surprising that organization studies has been virtually silent on childhood and pedagogy. This lacuna needs filling especially because the development of a post-national, cosmopolitan society problematises existing pedagogical models. In this paper we argue that cosmopolitanism requires a pedagogy that is centred on the Lack and the mythic figure of the Trickster. We explore this through an analysis of children’s stories, including Benjamin’s radio broadcasts for children, Sesame Street and Dr Seuss.
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    Children and organisation
    (2009-07) Kavanagh, Donncha; Keohane, Kieran; Kuhling, Carmen