The Leading Journal in the Field: Destabilizing Authority in the Social Sciences of Management

Peter Armstrong & Geoff Lightfoot (eds)

‘I am often told, “Don’t waste your time reading books, you’d be better off reading the leading journals in your field”. Unfortunately, the authors of this book have closely read some of those articles: examining arguments, with simple principles and words, plus a touch of irony, – and a shared belief in ideas and debates. The suspicions that we all have in a part of our heads appear in its ugly nakedness: what is this social game that authors in leading management journals play? What grants them their truth effects? This is a book that one should read the day one enters the academic field, and then regularly thereafter so as not to forget.’ Professor Jean-Luc Moriceau, Telecom Business School (France)


The standards of scholarship prevailing in the social sciences of management are indicative of an atrophy of the critical function. This results in a kind of tribalized authoritarianism, a dispersed oligarchy of the gatekeepers in which the congeniality of ideas and findings with their own have replaced judgments based on the quality of argument and evidence. The authors in this volume turn to the practice of practical criticism to destabilize authority in the social sciences of management, and to assert that it must be possible for criticism of scholarly outputs – particularly those of established authority-figures – to be heard and debated.

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