Little research exists about how managers themselves are managed despite significant and ongoing change in the context of their work in recent years. Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing members, Adrian Wilkinson and Keith Townsend (with Gabriele Suder, University of Melbourne) have sought to fill this gap with their newly edited book – Handbook of Research on Managing Managers (Edward Elgar, 2015).
Going beyond the historical and contemporary scholarly debates and investigations into how managers are managed, the publication responds to cries that ‘management is dead’ with future research trajectories. Notes the editorial team:
“…at the heart of each chapter is the notion that the world of managers has changed substantially since the ‘organisation man’ of the 1950s…Are managers an endangered species despite the multitude of higher-education training in this field? Is there a correlation with downsizing…despite [as Littler and Innes contend] the…number and ratio of managers appear[ing] to have grown in recent years?”
The multiple contributions to the book reveal considerable debate about how exactly the role and function of ‘manager’ is changing, although the dominate contemporary argument sees ‘value-adding’ activities at the centre of their role and consequently, how they are managed.
Wilkinson, Townsend and Suder have brought together chapters from labour historians, psychologists, policy advisors and economists (to name a few), on the management of managers’ careers, remuneration, psychological contracts, talent, education, global knowledge creation, sourcing and transfer, across countries – both Western, developing and emerging ones – and cultures. Different types of mangers also feature: front line, women and innovation managers; as do differing models of management: evidence-based, practice theory, manager-centred, and human vs organisational knowledge and operational efficiency.
In concluding their introduction to the book the editorial team encourage:
“…future scholarly avenues…[to embrace] employee creativity, organisation performance dependencies,…more hybrid types of managers,…an ‘evidence-based organising mechanism,…a better understand of the manager…with[in the] work-life balance debates and social networking focus [as] ethical issues…, the gender equality question…and international environments that shape the way in which managers are managed [are given ample attention].”
“The manager is the core of the organisation – its efficiencies, its performance and its adaptability to the international marketplace. This book…sets the scene for its future theorisation agenda and relevance.”
Occupational stress and organisational health and wellbeing expert, Susan Cartwright (Lancaster University, UK) agrees:
“This exciting and comprehensive Handbook…is a particularly stimulating read in defining the [managerial practice and education] field and setting the future research agenda.”
You can purchase a copy of the Handbook from the publisher, Edward Elgar (ISBN 978 1 78347 428 8): http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/handbook-of-research-on-managing-managers.