Manchester Critical Management Group

The Manchester Critical Management Group is a community of scholars at Alliance MBS which has played a major role in contributing to the development of the Critical Management Studies paradigm (CMS).

CMS is an increasingly influential field in the global Business School academic community, a broad area of multidisciplinary scholarship that ranges across the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and critical theory, as well as various heterodox approaches in the sub-disciplines of ‘business and management’ such as accounting and finance, marketing, and leadership. CMS recognizes and problematizes the intellectually and politically limited foundations of much of what might be considered mainstream approaches to management education and management knowledge. In an era of widespread crisis, managerial dysfunction, and organizational failure, original and critical approaches have become increasingly attractive. Orthodox thinking and practice has so often failed; the authority and relevance of ‘expert knowledge’ requires constant questioning and decentring and CMS as a field has grown rapidly as it takes on this challenge.

Partly CMS represents an intellectual questioning and deconstruction of ‘management’ as a pervasive institution that is entrenched within, and helps legitimate, various forms of authority and control. Critical management research embraces a range of paradigms, from post-structuralism, Critical Theory, neo-Marxism, moral and linguistic philosophy, and psychoanalysis, in its attempts to generate alternative conceptualizations of the ‘problems’ of management and organization.

CMS has a long history at the University of Manchester; five of the eight CMS conferences have been held in Manchester, the last in 2013 (https://www.meeting.co.uk/confercare/cms2013/proposals.html), and CMS approaches feature strongly across many of the undergraduate and postgraduate courses taught at Alliance MBS, as well as being a central intellectual foundation of the supervision of PhD students by staff involved with the Manchester Critical Management Group.