Why do managers do what they do

Ization of the management process incorporates

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ization of the management process incorporates physical, economic, knowledge and normative power resources (e.g. managers' access to budgets, expertise and ideologies);' semantic rules in the form of conceptions of what different elements of the management process mean and entail (e.g. what are feasible forms of decision-making or reward systems); and moral rules, in the forhi of the tacit and formal duties and responsibilities of those located in the management process. Variations in this configuration give rise to variations in the resources and rules to which different managers have access, depending upon their functional or hierarchical location, and, therefore, require and enable the different kinds of managerial practices which are well-documented. Commonalities in managerial practices rhust, therefore, be linked to those resources and rules which inhere in management processes as a whole: power resources available exclusively but generally to managers; semantic rules about what 'managing' means and entails; and moral rules about the duties and prerogatives of 'manage- ment' per se. Thus, regardless of seniority or func- tion, all managers may draw on the knowledge power resources embodied in management in- formation systems (e.g. representations of eco- nomic performance which can be used to lever changes in work practices)^ cognitive rules about how information is categorized, processed and utilized in decisions (e.g. discounted cash flow as a criterion for capital expenditure) and normative rules about what forms of information are admis- sible in decision-making (e.g. privileging statist- ical information over subjective impressions);. The technical organization of the labour process incorporates physical, informational and spatial resources; semantic rules in the forrn of
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346 C. Hales work technologies; and moral rules in the form of work imperatives. The social organization of the labour process incorporates the physical, eco- nomic, knowledge and normative power resources available to non-managers; a set of semantic rules about what 'work' means and entails; and a set of moral rules about the respective duties and responsibilities of those who are 'at work'. Variations in managerial practices arise from the particularities of the technical and social organ- ization of different labour processes for which managers are responsible. Commonalities relate to those resources and rules which inhere in labour processes generally. For example, all managers responsible for a labour process are responsible for those whose access to power resources such as 'local knowledge', cognitive rules such as informal work practices, and moral rules such as what con- stitutes a 'fair day's work' makes their compliance with attempts to manage them chronically uncertain. Common managerial activities, substantive areas of concern and forms of managerial work are traceable to the way in which the institutional, organizational and management resources and rules outlined above both constrain and facilitate managerial responsibility. Space permits only a preliminary sketch of these hnkages here.
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