Nonsense in Management Studies (with Dennis Tourish)

00:08 Introduction
00:27 Dennis, perhaps you could start by telling us a little more about your background?
01:09 Joannes, what is the idea behind the topic of today’s episode?
02:44 Dennis, why did you decide to write “Management Studies in Crisis”?
04:38 How much science is there behind the research in Management Studies?
07:49 Would you say that, in the world of Management Studies, there is a scientific grounding?
10:08 What is the impact of this “meaningless” research on the Management teams?
13:30 What can be done to improve research in the field of Management Studies?
17:17 Do you agree with the importance of Negative Knowledge?
19:30 What do you think about publishing the name of the reviewer?
20:52 What should managers really focus on nowadays?
22:45 Is this a challenging time to be a manager?
25:24 Do you think companies will continue in this “happy environment” direction?
27:21 What is the future of Management Studies?


The study of management can often tread a fine line between art and science, which naturally paints a confusing picture for many company leaders. For this episode of LokadTV, we’re delighted to be joined by Dennis Tourish to discuss how much management research can be trusted and what we can learn from his book, “Management Studies in Crisis: Fraud, Deception and Meaningless Research”.

Dennis is Professor of Leadership and Organization Studies at the University of Sussex Business School, as well as being the editor of an academic journal called “Leadership”.

Joannès and Dennis elaborate on their concerns that many managers and business leaders are being pushed to be far too involved in their employees’ private lives - for example with the rise of “Chief Happiness Officers” and the growth of “spirituality leadership”. In the US, some organizations have even gone far enough as to organise “spiritual breakfasts” with the CEO.

We argue that employees have the right to feel as spiritual or unspiritual as they like and if your employees are unhappy, it’s not for you to appoint an officer but instead to get to the bottom of behaviours that could be causing unhappiness in the company and stop them.

They also go into more depth on how statistics can be manipulated, or presented in a manipulative way, and what consitutes good science. This is something that is a problem with many research journals and publications about management studies. As Dennis reminds us, academics are not rewarded for finding the truth, but for publishing articles. With Big Data, now you can find a correlation between almost anything.

To wrap things up, Dennis and Joannès discuss the challenges that managers face and what they should really focus on, as well as giving their thoughts on the future of management studies.