Managing: The M in E=MC3

The choice of the word ‘managing’ for this blog might appear to be a poor one because enterprising behaviour and entrepreneurship is usually associated with excitement, verve and vigour.   Of course you know managers are dull-leaders are vivacious, managing is routine-leading is vibrant and energetic. There’s more. Managers are ordinary and common-leaders are special and rare: managers have plans-leaders have visions. And we can go on (and on) in this vain distinguishing between managing and leading. Managers and managing are the antithesis of leaders and leading. But one is always a reference point for defining the other. When it comes to entrepreneurs the superlatives fly unrestrained. They are leaders of a very special kind who operate, at least initially, in a very particular context, usually that of the new start business where they enjoy success and as a result of that result, gain the accolade of entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs succeed because they are extraordinarily gifted, talented, uncommonly creative and innovative. They are precious. They are pioneers. They are rebels with a cause, which is usually to make a lot of money. They stand out, they are different, they are self-centred and probably selfish. They even appear to learn in a different way to everyone else: they do so entrepreneurially (search for entrepreneurial learning).  At least, this impression is very easy to gain when reading government policy for small business, promotional literature for courses in enterprise or entrepreneurship, and many, if not most, texts, be they for consumption by scholars or practitioners. However, although the caricature of business education insinuated above is being gradually transformed by more critical scholarship, the suggestion here is that it simply not radical enough. What is required is nothing less than a paradigmatic change, a change in the theoretical framework of enterprise studies.

Why seek a model for a new paradigmatic framework in managing? Because managing is what needs to be done to achieve good. Whether one is labelled a manager, a leader, an entrepreneur, or baker, soldier or candlestick maker, we all manage. Managing, in a very real sense, is living with others.  Managing is living in co-ordination with others. Everyone manages, all the time. Managing keeps us together.  Managing is also what most people will think it is: a process through which people, tools, and raw materials, are brought together and their application co-ordinated toward a goal. It is, however, rarely appreciated as a creating or building process through which meaning is also created, transformed, and destroyed. It is, also, an emotioning process, a languaging process, and a conversing process the outcomes of which are inherently unpredictable. It is these and other interesting aspects of managing that will be explored in these pages.

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