Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Understanding the work of top managers : a shadowing study of Canadian healthcare CEOs
Author: Johnson, Bart Morley
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis investigates three research questions about the nature of managerial work: (1) What do we know about the nature of managerial work?; (2) To what extent is the work of top managers in the public and private sectors different?; and (3) What are the ethical implications of using the shadowing method to study top managers? These three research questions are presented in three research papers. The first paper titled Historical developments in research on managerial work: A critical overview is a comprehensive literature review, which outlines how research on managing has evolved theoretically, methodologically, and empirically since inception. Identifying a number of gaps in the literature, this paper suggests that much could be gained if contemporary notions of practice are brought into the study of managerial work and increased attention were paid to the sociomaterial, situated, and gendered nature of managerial work. The second paper in this thesis, Is managing in the public and private sectors really 'different'? A comparative study of managerial work activities is based on the results of an observational study in which four Canadian healthcare CEOs were shadowed for a period of 12 weeks (488 hours). Using a set of structured categories set out by Mintzberg (1973) this paper examines the extent to which managerial work is similar and different in the public and private sectors by comparing results to an investigation conducted in the private sector. Through an analysis of work type, hours, location, activities, and contact patterns, this paper finds that there are relatively few differences between the work activities of public and private managers at the top manager level. Implications for future research, managerial practice, recruitment, education, and training are theorized. The third paper in this thesis, Ethical issues and dilemmas in shadowing research: Lessons from the field of managerial work, explores ethical situations that were encountered in this study. Informing research ethics and methodology literature, this paper outlines and critically evaluates the ethical process followed in this study of top managers. Dividing the ethics process into two phases, those addressed by ethics committees (procedural ethics) and those that revealed themselves in the field (ethics in practice), this paper illustrates that while useful, procedural ethics committees are unable to establish ethical practice in and of themselves. In response, this paper poses a number of suggestions as to how ethical practice can be attained through reflexivity and contingency planning. As a collection of three independent, yet interrelated papers on the nature of managerial work, this thesis contributes to management theory, management practice, and the methodological study of management by: (1) Providing researchers with a new plateau from which managerial work can be studied and theorized; (2) Presenting fresh empirical data and conceptualizations on what top managers do in practice; and (3) Offering insights as to how managerial work can be ethically and practically investigated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Warwick Business School
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management ; R Medicine (General)