Huff, Anne Sigismund and Huff, James Oran
In Sight, but out of Mind: Dilemmas that Diminish the Chances for Reconstructed Policy Sciences.
Organization, 9 (3).
Mayer Zald calls for ‘reconstructed policy sciences’ in this issue of Organization. In his cosmological analogy, Critical Management Theory has been a loosely connected sub-discipline revolving around the relatively low-status suns of organization behaviour, organization theory and to some extent strategic management. If its orbit were to change, it might alter the trajectories of its sheltering disciplines and make a difference in the study of business as a whole.
This vision of an expanded role for Critical Theory is an important – which we believe could help management and policy studies develop as a more mature subject. However, in our opinion, it is even more difficult and less likely than Zald suggests, because the universe is expanding, and more and more defined by practice.
Practice-based knowledge has always developed alongside the world that Zald describes. In the post-Second World War period, it has developed its own planetary orbits and trajectories in research and training. It is now larger, by far, than the university world Zald writes about and it threatens to render his cosmology largely irrelevant. This commentary briefly describes the larger playing field where knowledge about management and policy is also developing, and suggests what Critical Management Theory might do to become a gravitational force there.
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