Conference Outlines / Call for Papers


Management thinking and management practice are largely influenced by traditional economic approaches that seek to conceptualize the economy positivistically and functionalistically according to rational-objectivist principles. For a longer time and in light of present crises, there has been no lack of calls for fundamental reformations of the economics and management theory, to conceive them anew as part of the social sciences and humanities. Although initial attempts for such reorientation and reconceptualization are evident, they are still in their infancy and in need for further advancement and realisation.

With the establishment of fields such as critical management studies (cf. Spicer, Alvesson, and Kärreman 2009) or the cultural economy (cf. Grossberg 2010) in academia, new ways of thinking and approaches have developed that supplement and often go against mainstream management theory and practice. What these approaches have in common is that they all are trying, in very different ways, to open up management for cultural studies, the social sciences and the humanities and to promote, in a broad sense, an independent “cultural turn” both for corporate and management theory as well as for management practice.

The conference on “ReThinking Management 2014: The Impact of Cultural Turns” begins with these orientations and pursues the goal of initiating a systematic dialog between current core concepts of the social sciences, humanities and management theory and practice. Here, in the spirit of Bachmann-Medick (2010), we believe that “cultural turns” are to be conceived as a plurality today. Following the general orientation of the humanities and social sciences towards culturally relevant issues, the plural “cultural turns” represent current moves, or new orientations that cut across and go beyond the cultural sciences. Topics and concepts such as performance, materiality, embodiment, space, mediality, narration, and sense-making as well as translation, interculturality and transculturality, have moved more and more into the forefront in the last few decades.

“ReThinking Management 2014: The Impact of Cultural Turns” pursues the main idea that management theory is not to be understood as a sub-discipline of economic sciences, but rather as an inter- and trans-disciplinary field with a decidedly cultural perspective. In fact, the topics and concepts listed above, along with related issues, questions and methods, play an increasingly important role. Their relevance, potential, and influence both in management theory as well as in practice are the central foci of this conference.

With this call, we want to invite researchers and practitioners from various disciplines and fields who share the outlined understanding. They are called to present their ideas, models, theories or empirical findings or insights of different practices with regard to the topic of “ReThinking Management”. In particular, we are looking for contributions that

  • understand the cultural perspective and the cultural turns as a bridge between management theory and practice,
  • outline possibilities and experiences or cases of re-doing practices of management,
  • open up boundaries between different (sub-)disciplines with the goal of genuine inter-and trans-disciplinary practices,
  • replace the monolithic, methodological orientations with a pluralism of methods and an integral methodology,
  • pursue the goal of overcoming traditional ways of thinking with their classical subject/object and other dichotomies and develop an understanding of management practice that is radically contextual and reflected through a cultural post-representational and critical perspective,
  • discuss the role of responsibilities, applied ethics and sustainability for a culturally reflected re-thought understanding and practice of management.

Accordingly, research and practice contributions that are explicitly provocative, speculative, critical, and artistic are just as welcome as more theoretical and empirical proposals. Using an open format, the emphases and final contents of this conference and its different streams will be emerging, depending on the topics and specific contributions submitted for this open call and an ongoing preparatory online discussion on our website.

Please note: The deadline for submission of abstracts has passed. Admission is, therefore, no longer possible. We are looking forward to welcoming you as a participant, though. For registration, please kindly use our corresponding registration form. Thank you!