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The Review of In Search of Management by Tony J. Watson Essay (Book Review)

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Introduction

The management is the crucial aspect of the organization success. There are a lot of study materials and professional literature on this topic. The book In Search of Management: Culture, Chaos, and Control in Managerial Work by Tony J. Watson is devoted to the problems of the managerial work. The author is the British author and the professor at the Nottingham University Business School.

He specializes in the research on “organizations, managerial work, strategy-making, entrepreneurship, HRM and industrial sociology” (Watson 2013, n.pag.). Professor Tony J. Watson gained his BA in London in 1968, MSc in Loughborough in 1972, and PhD in Nottingham in 1976 (Business school n.pag.).

The author published a number of reputable works on management and strategy development. His books cover the topics of his research interests including “the organization theory and the sociology of work; managerial, entrepreneurial, strategic and human resourcing behavior in organizations; organizational culture; and ethnography” (Business school n.pag.).

The works by Professor Watson are highly appreciated by the economists and managers. They are used as the study materials at the business schools as well. Tony J. Watson is the ongoing member of a number of the memberships and fellowships.

In particular, he is a member of the Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CPID), the member of the editorial boards of Human Relations, Journal of Management Studies, and Personal Review (Business school n.pag.). He is also an ongoing member of the British Academy of Management (Business school n.pag.).

Prof. Watson says that he is “especially enthusiastic about narrative forms of research reporting as means of teaching and providing insights to a range of audiences about the complexities, contradictions, pains and delights of organizational and business life” (Business school n.pag.).

In the book In Search of Management: Culture, Chaos, and Control in Managerial Work, Tony J. Watson uncovers the problems of the managerial work from the standpoint of the attitude of the middle managers to their responsibilities and the company, for which they work.

The Key Points of Criticism

In Search of Management presents the interesting view on the organization’s management as the author analyses the different aspects of the managerial work taking into consideration the responses of the middle class managers regarding their job. It can be stated that the book is unique as the majority of other authors have not considered the problem in this context.

In should be noted that the most part of the research on management is based on the quantitative estimation of its quality and efficiency. The central theme of the book In Search of Management is the “discovery of what management is look like” (Watson 2001, n.pag.).

The main goal of the author was to create the book, which would be helpful for the broad range of users. It was a challenging task taking into account the fact that people tended to draw a distinction between the “academic” books and the “practical” manuals.

It may be no accident that the author decides to present his dialogue with his management fellow. He tries to emphasize that there is a widespread opinion in the managerial community that the management in theory and the management in practice are two rather different concepts and that the academics do not capture the problems of real managerial work in their research quite often.

Watson says that he tries to erase this distinction between the academic and practical management in his book In Search of Management. The author argues that “the managers themselves, however much they tend to scorn the very idea of theory, are inevitably theorists of a sort” (Watson 2001, p. 2).

In my view, the author has achieved his goal. He masterly applies the theoretical conceptions to the practical issues arguing the strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s management. In addition, Watson’s book is not overloaded with the terminology and, thus, is appropriate for the readers of the wide range.

The book is written in the form of a story. The comprehensive language and the structure of the book support its universality. Rosemary Stewart (1994) states in her book review published in The Independent that the book can be described as the “diary of a professor at work” (Stewart 1994).

In Search of Management encompasses the realities of the world of management. Stewart (1994) claims that the book “is about people and its purpose is to help organizations survive” (Stewart 1994, n.pag.). In my view, these words reflect the essence of the book and its value. The author puts the emphasis on the role of people in organization.

That is why he tries to consider the managerial work from the standpoint of the process of communication and collaboration with people. Watson states that the efficiency of management is directly related to how well people inside the organization work together.

The concept of the “team” plays a vital role in his book. Watson tries to prove the idea that the long-term success of the organization is determined by the effectiveness of the team work.

In his book, Watson analyses the reasons for failure of the British manufacturing company’s strategy. Although the employees of the company were rather competent in their work, the company could not progress further and was not able to compete in the market successfully.

It seemed that the management lost the direction in the way of its strategy realization. The managers claimed that everyone in the organization had their task and everyone did it well but it did not helped.

The author of the book argued that the problem of this company boiled down to the fact that its managers paid too much attention to the philosophical aspect of management. As a result, employees were frequently told about the values and goals of the organization.

However, what the company lacked was the sufficient attention to the technical aspect of their work. The commitment of the employees was not enough to improve the performance.

In Search of Management is very interesting book, which is worthy to read for both the academics and practitioners. Willmott (1995) describes the book as “an insightful, eloquent and entertaining account of the complexity, chaos and ambivalence that is so carefully expurgated from the majority of academic textbooks, guru handbooks and scholarly monographs” (Willmott 1995, n.pag.).

It should be said that the first edition of In Search of Management was published in 1994. However, the ideas presented by the author remain urgent nowadays. Prof. Watson says that it is not surprising that his book is still popular as the factors influencing the managerial work remain the same.

He states that, although the significant changes have occurred in the business world since the time of the first publishing of his book, the nature of the problems, which the managers should solve, have not been changed. Dr. David Potter claims that In Search of Management remains up-to-date as “the ideas of Watson still sound very practical” (Potter 2010, n.pag.).

Conclusion

In order to sum up all above mentioned, it should be said that the book In Search of Management: Culture, Chaos, and Control in Managerial Work by Tony J. Watson represents the important material for study and provides the background for further research. The author touches upon the urgent problems of the managerial work. The central theme of the book is the search of the essence of management.

The analysis presented in the work is based on the interviews with the managers of the company. The author tries to explain why the commitment of employees may be not enough to achieve the goals of the company.

In spite of the fact that the first edition of the book was published 19 years ago, it remains relevant today. Overall, the book In Search of Management is the interesting work, which I recommend to read everyone, who is interested in management.

References

Business school. Professor Tony Watson. Web.

Potter, D. 2010, My Cultural Reflections; Tone Watson “In Search of management”. Web.

Stewart, R 1994, ‘’, The Independent. Web.

Watson, T. 2001, In Search of Management: Culture, Chaos, and Control in Managerial Work, Thomson Learning, London.

Watson, T. 2013, Tony Watson. Nottingham Trent University. Web.

Willmott, H. 1995, In Search of Management: Culture, Chaos, and Control in Managerial Work. Web.

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IvyPanda. "The Review of In Search of Management by Tony J. Watson." December 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-review-of-in-search-of-management-by-tony-j-watson-book-review/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Review of In Search of Management by Tony J. Watson." December 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-review-of-in-search-of-management-by-tony-j-watson-book-review/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Review of In Search of Management by Tony J. Watson'. 12 December.

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