Managerialism and Management Research: Would Melville Dalton Get a Job Today?

Bell, Emma (2010). Managerialism and Management Research: Would Melville Dalton Get a Job Today? In: Cassell, Catherine and Lee, Bill eds. Challenges and Controversies in Management Research. Routledge Advances in management and Business Studies. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 122–137.




Could Melville Dalton get a job in a business school today? How would his study of managerial work be funded? Would his research be published? Would he remain on the margins of the business school or become an accepted and respected management researcher? This chapter considers the case of Melville Dalton, the Chicago School-trained industrial sociologist whose classic study of informal organization and unOfficial rewards, Men Who Manage (1959), was published over 50 years ago.

It begins with a summary of Dalton's career and examines the origins and nature of his commitment to qualitative organizational research. The chapter then speculates as to how Dalton would be regarded as a management researcher today. To this end it explores how he might experience the culture of performativity within academia and considers the likely impact of these expectations and demands on his research career. It is concluded that ethnographic studies like Dalton's are, in the current context, less likely to be conducted or published. The chapter concludes by raising important questions concerning the changing nature of what it means to be a management researcher.

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