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Changing Paradigms in Organizational Management

Peter Stokes summarises Organizational Management and discusses twenty-first century business models.

The end of the twentieth century and the commencement of the twenty first century has, as might be anticipated, witnessed a wide range of changes in the organizational and business landscape encompassing, for example, the impact of new technological innovations and increasing transformations in global and geo-political markets and commodities. While these are potent forces it is also important to signal the emergence of organizational forms and practices which challenge existing structures, practices and the status quo: by way of illustration among a plethora of possibilities: social enterprises; anti-globalisation, zero-growth movements, crowdfunding initiatives and a drive to understand the circular economy.

While the drive for novel ways of conducting business activities and organizational lives are underpinned and represent fresh conceptualisations and approaches to business it is also important to take a moment of reflection to ponder how longstanding assumptions and principles may still in fact be driving the change. Although, new business forms and practices are emerging a tell-tale sign is the enduring pre-occupation (indeed some commentators may level the charge of obsession) with ‘facts’ of profit, performance, efficiency, effectiveness, turnover, market share, growth, share price and many other classic’ metrics. These are of course important and valuable for understanding how an organization is faring – but are they the whole story? The wider changes in this epochal transition would suggest perhaps not. These questions are broached and discussed in a new book Organizational Management: Approaches and Solutions (Kogan Page). This new book offers a range of innovative chapters on leading edge topics. Specifically, it presents the role of the modernistic paradigm in creating organizations in the shape, practices and appearances (and indeed metrics) which are so familiar to us. The book explains how the history of the last 300 or so years saw the emergence of the science and its gradual dominance of many walks of life including, for example, agriculture, medicine, public health and of course industry and commerce. The business metrics we recognise so readily are very much a product of the legacy and equally, on occasion, a burden of the scientific revolution.

Along with many of the new and emergent approaches and perspectives that are being evidenced in the contemporary world, the broad range of approaches termed critical management approaches offer insights and a language which provide opportunities to see and discuss business and organizational lives in challenging and alternative manners. People working within, and with, organizations- in whatever – context will glean fresh insights into how to make sense of the transitions taking place in the contemporary work environment and markets.

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