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Process theory and research: Exploring the dialectic tension

De Cock, C and Sharp, RJ (2007) 'Process theory and research: Exploring the dialectic tension.' Scandinavian Journal of Management, 23 (3). 233 - 250. ISSN 0956-5221

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We contest that although the notion of process is increasingly being applied to the study of organizations, these attempts are hampered by significant methodological shortcomings. We claim that the value of process theory is under-utilized because most attempts to apply process theory end up reverting to conventional non-process methods. We suggest that the cause of this reversion is primarily the challenge of making sense, of fixing the world, propelling us from process into the world of substance. To break free of these limitations we propose an approach that takes the researchers' audience alongside the subject processes rather than attempting to clinically intersect them. We illuminate this paper with our own story vignettes concerning the fortunes of an idea that passes by the name of value based management (VBM).11Whatever else divides experts on the matter, the various instantiations of the phrase 'Value Based Management' appear to indicate a view that creating value for shareholders should be regarded the primary aim of profit-motivated organizations; that actual cash flows rather than accounting profits should be used to influence management decision-making or assess management performance; and, perhaps less ubiquitously, that these cash flows should be discounted to reflect the time-value of money. Beyond this it would be difficult, if not presumptuous, to assume a precise definition of the idea given the variations and different techniques it has become associated with 'in the wild', i.e. the actual variegated empirical manifestations of VBM. It is difficult to be exact about the origins of the idea of Value Based Management, but it was popularized during the late 1980s and 1990s by books such as Alfred Rappaport's (1998) "Creating Shareholder Value" and McKinsey and Co's (1996) "Valuation, Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies". Having said that, it is recognised that the same phrase has been used to describe the management of organizations on the basis of defined principles, and that this is not the idea being explored here. These vignettes are meant to both exemplify and disrupt the theoretical narrative. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Centre for Work, Organisation and Society
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2016 10:54
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2021 10:15

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