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  • 1.
    Butler, Nick
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
    Fantasies of strategy: Žižek, discourse and enjoyment2018In: Critical Perspectives on Accounting, ISSN 1045-2354, E-ISSN 1095-9955, Vol. 53, p. 79-88Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper draws on the work of Lacanian philosopher Slavoj Žižek to explore the ideological fantasies of strategy. Specifically, the paper argues that the academic field of strategy-as-practice (SAP) quilts a set of organizational activities and practices around the master signifier of 'strategy'. This means that SAP theory circles around a void that its proponents seek to fill through an endless search for the objet petit a, the paradoxical object-cause of desire. The paper demonstrates this by showing how the SAP literature conceptualizes the practice of strategy in a circular and self-referential way, i.e. as an effect that respectively posits its own cause. The illusion is that the practice of strategy appears to be present from the very beginning in the SAP literature, when it has been constituted post factum. Ultimately, the paper seeks traverse the fantasy of strategy and reveal the surplus enjoyment at the heart of SAP theory. The paper concludes by exploring alternative ways of understanding the practice of strategy from the perspective of the transgressive 'act' (passage a l'acte).

  • 2.
    Butler, Nick
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
    Functional Stupidity: A Critique2016In: Ephemera : Theory and Politics in Organization, ISSN 2052-1499, E-ISSN 1473-2866, Vol. 16, no 2, p. 115-123Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Butler, Nick
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
    Publish and perish: Clark, T., M. Wright and D.J. Ketchen, Jr. (eds.) (2016) How to get published in the best management journals. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham and Northampton, Mass.2018In: Ephemera : Theory and Politics in Organization, ISSN 2052-1499, E-ISSN 1473-2866, Vol. 18, no 2, p. 411-416Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Butler, Nick
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
    Delaney, Helen
    Sliwa, Martyna
    The labour of academia2017In: Ephemera : Theory and Politics in Organization, ISSN 2052-1499, E-ISSN 1473-2866, Vol. 17, no 3, p. 467-480Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Butler, Nick
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
    Delaney, Helen
    Spoelstra, Sverre
    Risky business: Reflections on critical performativity in practice2018In: Organization, ISSN 1350-5084, E-ISSN 1461-7323, Vol. 25, no 3, p. 428-445Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Critical scholars in the business school are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of their research beyond the confines of academia. This has been articulated most prominently around the concept of critical performativity'. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with critical leadership scholars, this article explores how academics engage with practitioners at the same time as they seek to maintain a critical ethos in relation to their external activities. While proponents of critical performativity tend to paint a frictionless picture of practitioner engagementwhich can take the form of consulting, coaching, and leadership developmentwe show how critical scholars may end up compromising their academic values in corporate settings due to practitioner demands and other institutional pressures. Taken together, these pressures mean that critical scholars often need to negotiate a series of (sometimes insoluble) dilemmas in practitioner contexts. We argue that the concept of critical performativity is unable to contend meaningfully with these tensions because it replicates the myth of the heroic-transformational academic' who is single-handedly able to stimulate critical reflection among practitioners and provoke radical change in organizations. We conclude with a call for further reflection on the range of ethical dilemmas that can arise during academic-practitioner engagement.

  • 6.
    Butler, Nick
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
    Delaney, Helen
    Spoelstra, Sverre
    The Gray Zone: Questionable Research Practices in the Business School2017In: Academy of Management Learning & Education, ISSN 1537-260X, E-ISSN 1944-9585, Vol. 16, no 1, p. 94-109Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent years, the awareness of academic misconduct has increased due to high-profile scandals involving prominent researchers and a spike in journal retractions. But such examples of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism (FFP) serve to obscure the less flagrant, more subtle cases of possible misconduct: what some have called questionable research practices (QRPs). Where FFP is seen as inherently negative, QRPs fall into an ethical gray zone between permissible and impermissible. We draw on semistructured interviews with business school scholars to explore the occurrence of QRPs. Prevalent QRPs include playing with numbers, playing with models, and playing with hypotheses. Scholars explain the existence of QRPs in three ways: the inadequate training of researchers, the pressures and incentives to publish in certain outlets, and the demands and expectations of journal editors and reviewers. We argue that a paradox is at work here: To live up to the positivist image of pure science that appears in academic journals, researchers may find themselves-ironically-transgressing this very ideal. Ultimately, this challenges the individualistic account of academic misconduct by drawing attention to the role played by institutional actors, such as academic journals, in encouraging forms of QRPs.

  • 7.
    Butler, Nick
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
    Russell, Dimitrinka Stoyanova
    No funny business: Precarious work and emotional labour in stand-up comedy2018In: Human Relations, ISSN 0018-7267, E-ISSN 1741-282X, Vol. 71, no 12, p. 1666-1686Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Freelance creative work is a labour of love where opportunities for self-expression are combined with exploitative working conditions. This article explores this dynamic by showing how a group of freelance creative labourers navigate employment while coping with the pressures associated with economic precarity. Drawing on semi-structured interviews, we argue that full-time stand-up comedians engage in 'pecuniary' forms of emotion management in an occupational field where social networks and professional relationships play a prominent role. First, comedians project an image of positivity to demonstrate a willingness to work for little or no pay in order to curry favour with comedy club promoters. Second, comedians suppress feelings of anxiety and frustration that arise from financial insecurity in order to keep their relationships with promoters on an even keel - even when the rate of pay and promptness of remuneration fall below acceptable standards. Our study thus has implications for other creative sectors in which precarity is the norm, since it suggests that emotional labour is a resource not only for engaging with customers and clients but also for engaging with multiple employers, negotiating pay and dealing with conditions of insecurity in freelance settings - often with unintended, paradoxical, results.

  • 8. Spoelstra, Sverre
    et al.
    Butler, Nick
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
    Delaney, Helen
    Never let an academic crisis go to waste: Leadership Studies in the wake of journal retractions2016In: Leadership, ISSN 1742-7150, E-ISSN 1742-7169, Vol. 12, no 4, p. 383-397Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2014, leadership studies saw the retraction of a number of journal articles written by prominent researchers who are closely associated with popular concepts such as transformational leadership, authentic leadership, ethical leadership and spiritual leadership. In response, The Leadership Quarterly published a lengthy editorial that presented these retractions as a sign of health in a mature scientific field. For the editors of The Leadership Quarterly, there is no crisis in leadership studies. In this paper, we suggest that the editorial is a missed opportunity to reflect on positivist leadership studies. In our view, leadership ought to be in crisis because this would stimulate the community to question its guiding assumptions and reconsider its methods and objectives. We therefore hope to open up a critical discussion about the means and ends of mainstream leadership studies - not least of all its scientific pretensions.

1 - 8 of 8
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