The nature of management work
The thesis contributes to an understanding of the nature of Managerial work, confronting the work in its natural setting. It offers an empirically grounded description of the social organisation of managerial work; it explores the taken for granted features of managers'work that allows members to recognise and reproduce their normal everyday activities amid the variability and complexity that comprises their days work. The study finds managerial work to be a primarily verbal activity; accessible through a study of interaction. Resources of Conversation Analysis are utilised to explore how the managers use talk to accomplish their activities and to expose and test their understanding. An ethnographically informed approach reveals that the social organisation of the work is inextricable from local, referential matters. The thesis is presented in two parts. Part I explorest he 'insitu' accomplishment of a number of activities within selected instances of managerial work; a memo,a discussion of future work plans and a strategic planning meeting. It finds and demonstrates how such work as negotiating a position, identifying a problem reaching agreement is not just the outcome of a sequential organisation but of a retrospective-prospective design. Phenomena such as 'planning' and 'organising' are appropriated at the interactional level. They are found to be achieved in the insitu accomplishment of various conversational features; agreement and modification amongst others, through an understanding of local contingencies such as time scales for projects, the personalities involved, and by practices of description and explanation. Part 2 takes up an interest, begun in Part 1, with occasions when the managers offer explanations of their work. The ability to "talk about management" is found to be a competenc essential to the accomplishment of a number of managerial activities such as working up plans, making sensible a proposal. A number of occasions where particular managers offer verbal 'tours' of their work are explored. Not only doest his reveal something of how accounts get done, but it brings into the public domain some of the 'commonsense understandings' that the managers orientate in shaping up a telling of their work. Attention to these 'espoused logics' 'lines of regard' is important in terms of developing an adequate theory of the organisation of managerial work. It could be on the basis of these' practical theories' that the managers work proceeds that particular decisions get taken, plans are agreed etc.