Questioning Consensus, Cultivating Conflict

Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 18-30, 2006

28 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2005 Last revised: 8 Dec 2008

Christian De Cock

University of Essex

Emma L. Jeanes

University of Exeter

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

In this essay we put into question the pre-occupation with consensus and convergence that seems to characterize the field of OMT (Organization and Management Theory). Much effort has been directed to providing a model of unification legitimating the political containment of conflictual diversity. Even potentially controversial debates (such as the "Paradigm Wars") have taken on a rather tired quality as academics tend to look for the "middle ground" or are happy to retreat into private language games. We suggest that we should move beyond "bridging" or "containment" strategies and strive for a true re-politicization of the field. This presupposes that we learn to value notions of conflict and struggle again, rather than muffling them by referring to a common "professionalism". In developing our argument we connect with the thinking of Mikhail Bakhtin, offering a challenge to both integration/consensus and fragmentation/incommensurability discourses which seem so prevalent in our field today.

Keywords: organization and management theory, paradigm, Bakhtin, Mode 1-2, politics

Suggested Citation

De Cock, Christian and Jeanes, Emma L., Questioning Consensus, Cultivating Conflict (2006). Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 18-30, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=650662 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.650662

Christian De Cock (Contact Author)

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.essex.ac.uk/ebs/staff/profile.aspx?ID=1864

Emma Jeanes

University of Exeter ( email )

Streatham Court, Room 108
Exeter EX4 4QX, Devon
United Kingdom
(01392) 264518 (Phone)
(01392) 263242 (Fax)

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