The Costumes Don’t Do it for Me:A Qualitative Study of the Translation of Management Guru Texts

McCabe, Darren and Russell, Stephanie (2017) The Costumes Don’t Do it for Me:A Qualitative Study of the Translation of Management Guru Texts. Management Learning, 48 (5). pp. 566-581. ISSN 1350-5076

Text (The_Costumes_final_May_2017)
The_Costumes_final_May_2017.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (310kB)


It has been argued that management support is important to successfully translate new management ideas into practice. Through focusing on the obstacles to the translation of a management guru text in a manufacturing organisation, we point towards a far more uncertain situation. First, we explore the paradoxical situation of engaged managers undermining the implementation of new ideas. Second, we consider how attempts to use humour to aid translation may generate a variety of unintended employee translations. Third, we examine how the objects that management enlist to support translation can thwart change. It has been argued that ‘technological’ and ‘textual’ objects exercise agency through making humans act in intended ways. Into this mix, we add ‘cultural’ objects (in our case costumes) and argue that while they exercise agency, the outcomes they produce may hinder managerial designs.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Management Learning
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Management Learning,48 (5), 2017, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2017 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Management Learning page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
13 Jul 2020 15:30
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 08:26