[OPE-L] _Philosophy of Management_ issue on "Marx, Marxism and Global Management"

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Mon May 22 2006 - 19:18:04 EDT

Mike W sent us the CFP for this issue on January 21, 2004.  Sure
enough, it happened. / In solidarity, Jerry

     Philosophy of Management

     formerly Reason in Practice

      Volume 5 2005


      Number 2 Guest Edited Marx Special Issue

      Guest Editor Introduction: Marx, Marxism and Global Management

              At first sight, the ideas of Marxism and management seem to
have not much to do with each other - even to be
antithetical. Nevertheless, with the increasing complexity
and scope of the productive forces during the twentieth
century, there has been much interaction between the two.
After all, the Soviet Union was a very (ill) managed
society, and both Lenin and Gramsci were enthusiastic about
Taylor’s ideas of ‘scientific’ management of the labour
process. And, on a wider scale, many writers (and many of
them Marxist) in the mid-twentieth century analysed the
all-persuasive increase in bureaucracy and sometimes
predicted the emergence of managers, whether in capitalist
or communist societies, as a new ruling class. James
Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution is but the most extreme
example of this trend. The basic idea here is that, whereas
in Marx’ s day the owners of business enterprises directly
controlled their operation, with the rise of the joint-stock
company, there has been a separation of ownership and
control. The ownership is dispersed among relatively
powerless shareholders: the people with the power are the
invisible managers accountable, if at all, only to the laws
of the market.

            All the above propositions are controversial. But it does show
that the Marxist tradition does have something to say about
management. And, given that Marx has been voted in a recent
BBC poll Britain’s favourite philosopher, it seems appropriate
to ask what he and his followers have to say about
contemporary management. The contributions which follow sketch
out possible answers in different fields.

            In a wide-ranging historical survey, Kieron Smith, a manager
himself, discusses Marxist views about the position of
managers in the class structure of society and the altering
role of the manager based upon economic and social changes in
capitalist economies. He stresses the ways in which Marxist
thinking can help managers to do a better job by understanding
the broader economic context in which they operate. John
Luhman’s article on McDonaldization strikes a different note:
in a punchy and innovative style, that the advent of global
rationalization à la McDonald, although almost universally
lamented, he claims might turn out to be progressive with its
very repulsiveness producing an equally global aversion to
capitalism and its effects. The next four contributors are
more specific: Bryan Evans adopts a Gramscian perspective on
how neoliberal ideas have become embedded among public sector
managers - in this case, Ontario; Alan Tuckman takes us back
to Marx’s discussion of the ‘commodification of time’ and then
explains its relevance for understanding the changing role of
managers in contemporary global capitalism; Matthias Varul
uses Marx’s theory of value to launch a wholesale critique of
Human Resource Management whose approach he sees as both
specious and potentially totalitarian; and Ernesto Gantmann
looks at how the development of the Argentinian economy has
changed the nature of management training. Returning to a
wider perspective, Kevin Young presents a Marxian theory of
management by looking at the changing nature of consumption
and the growth of the small business sector to illustrate how
neoliberalism can effectively reproduce itself by removing
politics from economics. And finally Nesta Devine gives us a
sharp dissection of the attempts of some Marxists to use
Public Choice Theory, normally associated with anti-Marxists
such as Hayek, to express their own strategy.

            Thus the contributions below, taken in their entirety, do show
that large sections of contemporary management, both in the
public and private sector, could benefit from more
self-analysis and an attempt to locate themselves more clearly
in contemporary economic development. Such a self-awareness
can only help the contribution of managers to a more humane
society. And the contributions to this issue show that the
types of Marxist approach demonstrated in them can help in
this process.

            David McLellan

            David McLellan is Professor of Political Theory at Goldsmiths
College, University of London. He was educated at Merchant
Taylors School and St. John’s College, Oxford. He has been
Visiting Fellow at the State University of New York and at the
Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Simla.

            He has also lectured widely in North America, on the continent
of Europe, and throughout Asia. His numerous books have been
translated into thirteen languages and include Karl Marx: His
Life and Thought (1973, 3rd ed 1996), Simone Weil: Utopian
Pessimist (1990), and Unto Caesar: The Political Relevance of
Christianity (1993).


            Kieron Smith

            Marxism: Finding the Maestro in Management?

              A survey of Marxist approaches to management theory reveals
some shallowness in approach and little in the way of
critiques of modern theory, either macro or micro. By moving
through stages of looking at the class position of managers,
Marxist interpretations to date, including that of Lenin as
an advocate of Taylorism and the crystallising of management
theory in opposition to Cold War communism, the paper sets
the scene for an argument that Marxists should address
management theory today and that management theory would be
better for it.

            Kieron Smith

            Kieron Smith is a senior manager, currently working for a UK
retail chain. He recently completed his MBA with the Open
University Business School and studied Politics and Government
at Kent University, and attended Professor David McLellan’s
course on Marx & Marxism. He was co-founder of
e-command.co.uk, a new media networking group, and is a Member
of the Chartered Institute of Management. He has previously
written for The Bookseller magazine.


            ¨ John Teta Luhman

            Marx and McDonaldization: A Tropological Analysis

            McDonaldization is usually seen as a ‘tragedy’ as humans
become more rationalised in their everyday life, but from the
view of Marx’s theory of historical change, I suggest that it
might be seen as a ‘comedy’. As the world’s labour force
becomes culturally the same it may finally gain an ironic
awareness that is required for radical social change, thus,
global rationalisation may create the conditions for a ‘global
Proletariat’. The comedy of McDonaldization is that its
repulsiveness as a way of life may actually lead to the
possibility of achieving liberation from the domination of
global capitalism.

            John Teta Luhman

            John Teta Luhman is an Assistant Professor of Management in
the Department of Business Administration at the University of
New England. A founding Board Member of the Standing
Conference of Management and Organization Inquiry, and an
Editorial Board Member for Tamara: Journal of Critical
Postmodern Organization Science, his research focuses on the
historical development of organisational social structure and
how narratives (i.e. stories, drama) are related to
organisational issues such as culture and change.


            Bryan Evans

            How the State Changes Its Mind: A Gramscian Account of

            Ontario’s Managerial Culture Change

              Neoliberalism’s relationship to New Public Management is
well known but less is understood of how these ideas have
become embedded in the state. This article explores one
dimension of ‘how the state ‘ changes its mind’ by exploring
the ideological and cultural transformation within the
senior management ranks of Canada’s largest provincial
state, Ontario. A broadly Gramscian framework is used to
develop greater insight into the process of cultural change
within the state and the specific role of senior managers as
the ‘organic intellectuals’ of the neoliberal revolution.

            Bryan Evans

            Bryan Evans is an Associate Professor in the Department of
Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University,
Toronto, Canada. Prior to joining Ryerson in 2003 he held
several senior policy and management positions within the
Ontario government. He co-authored, with John Shields,
Shrinking the State: Globalisation and Public Administration
Reform (1998) which offers a critique of neoliberal
restructuring of the public sector.

            Alan Tuckman
            Employment Struggles and the Commodification of Time:

            Marx and the Analysis of Working Time Flexibility

           This paper explores new working time arrangements around a
critique of the ‘commodification of time’ to illuminate the
contradictions of such new flexibilities. Two features of these
new arrangements are seen as relevant for evaluating the
Marx/Engels analysis. Firstly, it roots the examination of time
in commodification, although, as criticised in this paper, some
authors have seen this as the generality of time rather than
that within the exchange of labour power. Significantly – and
central in all working time arrangements – it is labour power
that is sold, be it for a particular period of time, rather
than the time itself. Hence, working time arrangements set
boundaries against ‘free’ time or time in which labour power is
not sold as a commodity, that ‘free’ time which was recognised
in the traditional arrangements – fought over in early
industrialism – which set premium payments against anti-social
hours within ‘overtime’. New working time arrangements tend to
blur the boundaries between ‘free’ and ‘working’ time, assuming
an availability of labour power to capital. While much of the
promotion of flexibility stresses the possibility of making
adjustment to suit social and domestic requirements it is more
usually the means for altering working time to meet the demands
of capital. The much-vaunted case of Volkswagen has led to
‘working time accounts’ becoming the established temporal
arrangement within the German car industry and increasingly
becoming the norm for other European auto producers. The name
given to these new working arrangements within the motor
industry suggests that time has indeed become further
commodified. For workers within these new time regimes, the
hours owed to their employer is displayed along with their
earnings – and deductions – on their wage slip.

            As indicated, such systems of flexible time were also apparent
to Marx in the changes instituted by industrial capital to
ameliorate the impact of the regulation imposed by the
Ten-Hour Bill. He offered the metaphor of the actor on stage
and in the wings which seems useful for understanding our
contemporary arrangements. In practice we now must distinguish
between the operational time and time in which individual
workers are engaged. Previously, premium payments – of ‘time
and a half’ and so forth – recognised time as heterogeneous,
as ‘social time’ with a value beyond exchange of labour power.
The uniformity of flexible time represents a qualitative move
towards a homogeneous measure of clock-time now stored in a
system of exchange of time for money, allowing capital to
increasingly control labour time through extending and
accumulating ‘time debt’.

            Alan Tuckman

            Alan Tuckman teaches employment relations and organisational
studies at Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent
University. As well as research on working time, where he has
contributed (along with Emma Bell) to a recent collection
edited by Whipp, Adam and Sabelis, he has published widely on
trade unions and employee representation, and on management
ideology. He is currently researching ‘Europeanisation’ across
the British, German and Czech motor industry as well as,
recently, representative mechanisms of employee voice outside
collective bargaining.


            Matthias Zick Varul
            Marx, Morality and Management: The Normative Implications of
his Labour Value Theory

            and the Contradictions of HRM

              It will be argued that, by reading Marx’s theory of value
not as an explanation of capitalist development but as
anthropology of capitalism’s moral implications, certain
ethical contradictions of HRM can be identified. The main
areas of conflict are seen in HRM’s pretence to equitable
exchange relations in the workplace, its propensity to
replace material with symbolical recognition through
corporate culture and ideology, and in its tendency to lay
claim not only on the employee’s labour power but on his or
her whole personality.

            Matthias Zick Varul

            Matthias Zick Varul is lecturer of sociology at the University
of Exeter. His research interests include social theory,
consumerism, health and illness and the sociology of work. His
most recent publication is a book on the normative background
of health consumerism Geld und Gesundheit. Konsum als
Transformation von Geld in Moral Berlin, Logos 2004.



            Ernesto Gantman

            Structural Change in Emergent Markets and the Management
Knowledge Industry:

            The Argentine Case (1989-2003)

              This essay examines the impact of the structural reform of
the Argentine economy on the country’s management knowledge
industry, in terms of the Marxian distinction between the
economic base and the superstructure of capitalist society.
By reconstructing the micro foundations of the process of
knowledge creation, I explain how certain changes at the
level of the economic base influenced the type of knowledge
generated by Argentine scholars.

            Ernesto Gantman

            Ernesto Gantman received his MS and PhD degrees from the
Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina). At present, he is a
Professor and Researcher at the Facultad de Cs Económicas,
Universidad de Buenos Aires. He also teaches at the Escuela de
Economía y Negocios Internacionales, Universidad de Belgrano
(Argentina). His current research interests are the evolution
of management knowledge and the study of underdevelopment in
Latin America with special reference to the Argentine case. He
has recently published Capitalism, Social Privilege and
Managerial Ideologies (Ashgate 2005).


            Kevin Young
            How Neoliberalism Reproduces Itself: A Marxian Theory of

              This paper explicates a Marxian theory of management that
suggests that the social relation to be managed in
capitalism is the separation of the political from the
economic. While it is commonly understood that this must be
an active process of management taken up on behalf of modern
capitalist states, this paper suggests that the market
mechanism itself also assumes this role without the active
intervention of any managerial direction. The intensive
expansion of the market facilitates a management function of
subverting the political deliberation which challenges the
political-economic separation that could otherwise be
expected in neoliberal restructuring. Both the changing
nature of consumption and the growth of the small business
sector are cited as examples of ways in which neoliberalism
reproduces itself in the presence of social contradiction
but in the absence of any actively planned strategy of
management to deal with those contradictions.

            Kevin Young

            Kevin Young is a PhD student at the London School of Economics
and Political Science, and a Steering Committee member of the
Canadian Progressive Economics Forum. A Deputy Editor of the
journal Millennium: Journal of International Studies, his
previous publications can be found in Alternate Routes: A
Journal of Critical Social Research and Oeconomicus. He
gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Social Sciences
and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and Kerstin
Priwitzer and Gabriel Seifert for their helpful comments.


            Nesta Devine

            Is Analytic Marxism Possible? A ‘Socialist’ Interpretation of
Public Choice Theory

              Much management literature depends on the philosophical
writings of F A Hayek and James M Buchanan. As such it is
recognisably not Marxist but is in fact antithetical to
Marxism. But there is a small, significant body of
literature which attempts to recruit the ideas of writers in
the field of ‘Public Choice’ (pre-eminently Buchanan) to the
service of updated Marxist thinking about management. In
this paper I argue that this endeavour, although it
illustrates the common origins of neoliberalism and Marxism,
cannot succeed without doing violence to the original and
perhaps fundamental concepts of Marxist thought.

            Nesta Devine

            Nesta Devine is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education
at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Her academic
background is in history and philosophy. She was at one time a
secondary school teacher, and became interested enough in the
politics and theory behind the reforms in school management to
undertake a PhD in the area. Her book Education and Public
Choice, A Critical Account Of The Invisible Hand In Education
was published in December 2004 by Praeger. She has also
contributed to various journals on issues relating to
education, politics, and ethics. Currently she is engaged on
research concerning the experiences of minority teachers in
New Zealand schools.

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