The representation of effectiveness in management : an investigation into knowledge, meaning, and discourse
The thesis investigates the representation of knowledge and meaning in management, with special reference to 'effectiveness' in library and information services. It is argued that management is a socially constructed and negotiated reality in which the meaning of management is the management of meaning. Knowledge paradigms, ideologies, and values form key components of this reality, and operate in a state of change, particularly that arising between 'service' and 'entrepreneurial' models of library management over the last decade. Issues of consensus, hegemony, organisational culture, and learning are investigated with reference to practitioner ('expert') and student ('novice') managers, and to the dialectic between traditional managers ('craftsman managers') and adaptive generalistic managers ('gamesman managers'). The research methodology is based on ethnographic, ideographic, grounded theory, and semio-narrative principles. These are selected as being appropriate and effective interpretative ways of obtaining an understanding of what managers know and know they know, and how they reflect an how they act. It utilises a range of test instruments (including consensus table, scalogram and narrative structure analysis) to elicit knowledge and meaning from representative groups of respondent managers. The central component of this approach is a referential hierarchy. This consists of four major forms of discourse (concepts, propositions, scripts, and stories), in terms of which it is possible for researchers to elicit, and then comprehensively organise and analyse, the main ways in which managers express knowledge and meaning. A model is constructed in which six dimensions of knowledge and meaning receive effective expression through such discourse : the experiential, the teleological, the axiological, the deontic, the epistemic, and the praxiological (acronymically, the PETADE model). it is argued that this approach brings together work hitherto dispersed over a wide variety of disciplines and that it provides an important and useful method of understanding and eliciting the representation of knowledge and meaning in the domain of management.