Critical Management Studies: Accountability and Authenticity

Smith, Warren (2008). Critical Management Studies: Accountability and Authenticity. Critical Sociology, 34(1) pp. 15–28.




The development of Critical Management Studies (CMS) has been marked by much internal debate. There are disagreements over its objectives and methods, and also in providing a positive sense as to what it should be for. Differences exist between a strategy of engagement with management and a radical approach that, fearing co-option, disengages from established practices. But both these strategies are influenced by CMS’s situation and participation in the business school. And both approaches have to respond to particular accusations stemming from the nature of their (dis)engagement. I argue that the reconciliation of difficulties of this kind is vital to the realisation of CMS objectives. This reconciliation makes demands of accountability which, given CMS’s espoused commitments, are of crucial importance. Left unaddressed they undermine its very viability.

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