Why do managers do what they do

Been taken up more specifically in terms of the way

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been taken up more specifically, in terms of the way in which organizations shape indi- vidual subjectivity, by Miller and Rose (1988) and Rose (1990) who emphasize the influence of sys- tematic bodies of knowledge upon the subjectivity of employees and clients and by Knights and Morgan (1994) who widen this analysis to informal knowledges and the subjectivity of consumers. Extending this argument, it may be suggested that managers are the archetypal social actors of modern, market societies (Maclntyre, 1985) in that they are not only constituted, as human beings, as generally responsible and accountable for their own actions but also, as managers as specifically responsible and accountable for the actions and outcomes of others. What is distinctive and prob- lematic about this notion of managerial respon- sibility is that collective accomplishments are represented as the product of individual agency. Thus, not only must managers affirm an otherwise precarious general sense of self and identity, but they must also, as managers, affirm an even more precarious economic identity. In seeking to deal with the attendant uncertainty and anxiety, man- agers qua managers will be even more inclined to embrace those institutional routines which, in resource, cognitive and normative terms, consti- tute managerial responsibility and will be drawn to engage in and reproduce those practices which are constituted, understood and legitimated as 'managing'. In other words, whilst the managerial role is conceived as quintessentially discretionary - exemplified in the repeated synonymity with decision-making or 'choice' (Stewart, 1981) - individual responsibility for a collective process and collective accomplishments creates a com- mon chronic structural uncertainty for managers which institutionalised routines of 'managing' serve to close off. In a role defined not in terms of activities but imputed liability for other activities, activities which come to be recognized as denotat- ive of 'managing' exert a powerful pull on man- agerial practices. The diversity of social systems in which managers are located is a key explanation of the well-documented variations in managerial work. Different managers draw upon the resources and rules of the particular cultural, societal, industrial, organizational, hierarchical, professional and func- tional systems in which they are located in their work practices. The common features of managerial work, however, must be shaped by the resources and rules which reside in those social systems in which all managers are located - the institutional, in particular the economic; the organizational; and, within that, the management system - and which variously constitute different aspects of 'managerial responsibility'. Following Whittington (1994), five such institu- tional systems may be identified: the communal, domestic, political, intellectual and economic. The communal system furnishes cultural resources.
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Why do Managers Do What They Do?
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