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Management Studies in Crisis
Fraud, Deception and Meaningless Research


  • Date Published: July 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108727488

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About the Authors
  • More students study management and organization studies than ever, the number of business schools worldwide continues to rise, and more management research is being published in a greater number of journals than could have been imagined twenty years ago. Dennis Tourish looks beneath the surface of this progress to expose a field in crisis and in need of radical reform. He identifies the ways in which management research has lost its way, including a remoteness from the practical problems that managers and employees face, a failure to replicate key research findings, poor writing, endless obscure theorizing, and an increasing number of research papers being retracted for fraud and other forms of malpractice. Tourish suggests fundamental changes to remedy these issues, enabling management research to become more robust, more interesting and more valuable to society. A must read for academics, practising managers, university administrators and policy makers within higher education.

    • Contributes to the growing interest and study in research fraud and malpractice
    • Draws on an extensive database of retractions in management studies to discuss critical issues in the field
    • Includes suggestions of how to improve publication practices in management studies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Recent studies have revealed good reasons to view social and management studies very skeptically. Many researchers use dishonest practices in pursuit of promotions and salaries, and false reports are corrupting research and teaching. Recognition of this sorry situation has created a crisis of legitimacy for management scholars and social scientists more generally. Universities must change; training of faculty must change. Dennis Tourish points to key forces that foster corruption, and he proposes practical changes that can make research and teaching more honest and more useful to humanity. Every management scholar should read his analysis and heed his advice.' William Starbuck, University of Oregon and New York University

    'An excoriating assessment of the present state of management research, and a rallying call to do better. Tourish provides an uncomfortable challenge to management researchers to start doing 'work that matters', and to the business school establishment to reform before it is too late.' Christopher Grey, Royal Holloway, University of London

    'Many have sought to puncture the balloon of management studies in today's universities, but the balloon has proven remarkably resilient. If anyone is going to succeed, it is Dennis Tourish. His devastating book is not another jeremiad on the failures of management scholarship but a systematic critique of a field built on corrupt practices and vacuous theorizing since its beginnings and of the cynicism, disenchantment and burnout of those who inhabit it. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone thinking of entering this field as student, academic, administrator or policy-maker. It should also serve as a rallying point for those of us who seek to reform it.' Yiannis Gabriel, University of Bath

    'Professor Tourish offers a sobering message of how we succeeded in making our research inaccessible to practitioners and ourselves irrelevant to the world. He shows that our problems go beyond the two crises of rigor and relevance. We treat faculty as commodity to satisfy metrics for school or university rankings and faculty has bought into the system by chasing publications as the only goal in their professional life, losing their souls along the way. This insular and self-referent system stymies creativity and destroys humanity in the ivory tower. Is this the best we can do with our talents and with society's resources and trust? Professor Tourish does not stop with complaining. He suggests solutions and provides examples of how we can stop this self-destructive trend. As Professor Tourish repeatedly appeals, 'We can do better'. To echo with optimism, I add, 'We can do it'.' Anne S. Tsui, Co-founder of Responsible Research in Business and Management

    'This is a well argued, bold, important and very interesting text. It is also entertaining. The book should be read by anyone who feels either comfortable or bothered about contemporary management theory and research and who is open to provocation and insight.' Mats Alvesson, Lund University, Sweden

    'Many have sought to puncture the balloon of management studies in today's universities, but the balloon has proven remarkably resilient. If anyone is going to succeed, it is Dennis Tourish. This devastating book is not another jeremiad on the failure of management scholarship but a systematic critique of a field built on corrupt practices and vacuous theorizing since its very beginnings; and of the cynicism, disenchantment and burnout of those who inhabit it.' Yiannis Gabriel, Organization

    'This book will be of interest to many academic researchers, for its contribution to established debates on not only rigour and relevance, but also the accessibility of research for managers and wider society. It's also relevant for applied researchers, consultants or managers who make use of academic research insights. Many working in the world of people management practice want to engage with research (I would say, make evidence-based decisions). But getting hold of, digesting and making use of scientific management research can be a tough endeavour. In exploring these challenges, this book gives some useful pointers to what can be done.' Jonny Gifford, In a Nutshell Newsletter

    'It will be valuable and entertaining for all who teach management or are in management doctoral programs. It will help the discipline aim at pursuit of truth and knowledge and ask 'bigger and more critical questions about the world of organizations [and] do the work that matters'.' C. Wankel, Choice

    'This book deserves to be widely read by both academics and management practitioners … Professor Tourish has produced a work of genuine scholarship that is accessible, elegantly written, forensic in its analysis, comprehensive in scope, exceptionally well referenced and occasionally embellished with appropriately witty asides. It offers an exemplary synthesis of, and introduction to, the subject in hand.' Roy C. Wood, Tourism Management

    'With considerable flair and lightness of touch, Dennis Tourish has written a devastating broadside against the business school, a scathing record of the missteps and misdeeds of management research from its inception to the present day. The book offers a multi-pronged attack on poor academic practices … this book ought to be required reading for every management scholar, whether functionalist or interpretivist in orientation. Tourish offers a clear-sighted analysis of the predicament we find ourselves in as well as an escape-hatch for those who have become disenchanted with management research.' Nick Butler, Prometheus

    '… Dennis Tourish's Management Studies in Crisis: Fraud, Deceptions and Meaningless Research provides one of the most insightful illuminations of the pathologies of Management Studies.' Thomas Klikauer and Norman Simms, Australian Universities Review

    'In the end, Dennis Tourish's Management Studies: Fraud, Deceptions and Meaningless Research provides one of the most insightful illuminations of the pathologies of Management Studies. Based on a substantial amount of evidence, case studies, and statistics, Tourish's book shows how often less than why Management Studies operates with fraud and deceptions while producing meaningless research and worthless articles in what the field calls top journals.' Thomas Klikauer and Norman Simms, Australian Universities Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108727488
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 5 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the crisis in management studies
    1. Flawed from the get go: the early misadventures of management research
    2. How audit damages research and academic freedom
    3. 'When the levee breaks': academic life on the brink
    4. The corruption of academic integrity
    5. Paradise lost but not yet regained: retractions and management studies
    6. The triumph of nonsense in management studies
    7. Flawed theorising, dodgy statistics and (in) authentic leadership theory
    8. The promises, problems and paradoxes of evidence based management
    9. Reclaiming meaningful research in management studies
    10. Putting zest and purpose back into academic life.

  • Author

    Dennis Tourish, University of Sussex
    Dennis Tourish is Professor of Leadership and Organization Studies at the University of Sussex. He is editor of the journal Leadership, and widely regarded as one of the leading figures in the emerging area of 'Critical Leadership Studies'. His most recent authored book was The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership: A Critical Perspective (2013).

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