An Alternative Liminal Journey of a Head of Department: The Unfolding Hysteric Tensions, Questions & Lessons Learnt

David Raymond Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper explores the extent to which a manager can paradoxically develop a contestation to managerialist practices. By taking an autoethnographic approach, as a departmental head of a U.K. business school myself, I reflect upon the cultural, political, and individual tensions that emerged over a year from my attempt to develop a liminal space or place for my colleagues. This was initially framed as research development, called the “Shoreside Sessions,” organized around a disconnected social and physical space. The intention was to understand whether this would lead to a respite from managerialism or any contestation to managerialist practices. Looking through a Lacanian conceptual lens, the research findings offer a tempered hope that middle management, which has been demonized by much of the critical management studies literature, could play a partial but pivotal role in providing a hysteric, questioning space for contestation to emerge. Such emergence is limited in a temporal sense, due to the growing conflicting managerialist, institutional agendas that department heads are increasingly expected to deliver. The paper’s other main contribution lies in the role played by Lacanian discourses and psychic registers, which will help academic managers with the process of reflexivity around intent and impact of liminal spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-292
Number of pages19
JournalAcademy of Management Learning and Education
Volume22
Issue number2
Early online date26 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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