Building, dwelling ... thinking? Managerial knowledge in action

Lenney, Peter and Zundel, Mike and Dasalaki, Maria and Ann, Hatting (2012) Building, dwelling ... thinking? Managerial knowledge in action. In: UNSPECIFIED.

Full text not available from this repository.


The nature of managerial knowledge is problematic. While orthodox management texts advocate rational deliberation as the basis of prudent decision making, more recent accounts raise doubts about the ability and utility of organisational agents to rely solely on calculative, means-ends driven logics to define and attain particular ends. Couched in a vocabulary of building versus dwelling, some of these discussions advocate possibilities for managerial responses arising not from calculative rationality (building) but via sensitivity to the world and circumspective wisdom (dwelling). In this paper we engage with this debate through a re-reading of Heidegger’s work from which this terminology emerges and argue that oppositional stipulations of either building or dwelling are not helpful. We suggest instead a more nuanced view on ways of relating to the world (i.e. to dwell and build in unison). We illustrate such qualitative differences in dwelling-building via an empirical study of management processes in a large, UK-based supplier of branded apparel. In particular, we suggest that managerial intervention can be successful if it takes a passive, reticent form when it engages with the world (dwelling) so as to continually dissolve fixed views of ‘what is the case’, thus abetting, rather than controlling and challenging-forth alternative senses of ‘how to go on’ (build/project). We conclude that not only oppositional postulations of building and dwelling, but also questions of contemplation juxtaposed to non-deliberate forms of praxis tend to obscure rather than aide our understanding of management and, instead, emphasise the managerial role in stimulating continued conversation and affording (as well as coping with) a perpetual sense of flux and complexity (alluding to dwelling, building and ‘thinking’); contributing to a sustained avoidance of simple answers and fixed perspectives.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
26 Apr 2013 09:52
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 13:58