Barbara Czarniawska and her fellow theorists of organization may be correct in their supposition that the truth or falsity of Weick’s fable has no bearing on the reception of his ideas in the world of management studies but, if she is, that reveals a great deal about the manner in which knowledge is constructed in that world. The moral that managerial ‘sense-making’ operates to the benefit of the managed is always going to be a popular idea amongst managers themselves and is a great stimulus to scholars to find supporting ‘evidence’. The more likely outcome of Weick’s story is that the sense-making leader, armed with his map of somewhere else, succeeded only in leading his followers over a cliff where they all fell to their deaths, the moral being that one should never defer to the judgment of people simply because they think they know the answers. On this one could cite stories which are not fictional: those of Dick Fuld at Lehman Bros. and Jeffrey Skilling at Enron for instance
posted by Peter Armstrong
April 29, 2013
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