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On the metaphysics of management

Koskela, LJ and Kagioglou, M 2006, On the metaphysics of management , in: 14th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction, 25-27 July 2006, Ponteficia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

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    Abstract

    The question about the metaphysics of management is considered especially from the point of view of the subject, acts and object of management. Management is understood holistically, in connection to production, rather than as an independent domain in itself. In terms of metaphysics, the time-honoured question about the superiority of thing (substance, matter) ontology or process ontology is addressed. The determination of metaphysical commitments is discussed. Empirical evidence on the appropriateness of alternative metaphysical assumptions inmanagement is forwarded. It is concluded that Western management thinking has been dominated by thing metaphysics. This has led to deficient conceptualizations and counterproductive methods, present in the 20th century. There have been process metaphysics based correctives, which include Japanese-originated methods and out-of-the box methods developed by Western parties. These correctives have often outperformed their substance based counterparts, but their adoption in the West has been slow. It is concluded that the Western metaphysical assumptions, especially when implicit, hinder learning, understanding and implementation of the process based correctives in the realm of management. However, even if the dominant Western metaphysics constrains our thinking, it might be possible to break out of it, through appropriate ontology training.

    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Metaphysics, management, production management, organization, change, process, substance.
    Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
    Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TS Manufactures > TS155-194 Production management. Operations management
    Subjects outside of the University Themes
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment
    Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment > Salford Centre for Research & Innovation (SCRI)
    Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the 14th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction
    Refereed: Yes
    Depositing User: LJ Koskela
    Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2010 10:08
    Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 17:18
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    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/9368

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