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‘This Is the End’?: An Ethnographic Study of Management Control and a New Management Initiative

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/06/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Work, Employment and Society
Issue number3
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)503-521
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date8/07/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Over recent decades, critical scholars have quite rightly warned of the control implications of new management initiatives. There is a danger, however, of treating control in a ‘distal’ way or as an ‘end’. Through drawing on proximal theorising, we make explicit what is often implicit in such accounts, which is that control is best understood as unfinished, in process, for it is inherently contingent and unpredictable. Viewed in this way, control becomes elusive as it always has to be achieved. The article draws on ethnographic research conducted in a back office of a manufacturing organisation to illustrate this understanding of management control. It highlights tensions between staff and management and between multiple layers of management that can thwart control.