Welcome to RTM2014

ReThinking Management 2014: The Impact of Cultural Turns
16 – 17 October 2014
Karlshochschule International University, Karlsruhe, Germany

“Round and round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows …”

Now, this must seem a bit odd already. The welcome words of an academic “management” conference starting with a quote from a late 90s pop song. “ReThinking Management 2014: The Impact of Cultural Turns”, however, is exactly about that. It is about the twists and “turns” that influence management thinking and acting in a globalized, complex world that is growing together. With these turns we invite you to re-consider, to have second and thirds thoughts about what a culturally reflected management means.

Accordingly, the anniversary annual conference of Karlshochschule International University, our fifth in a row, pursues the goal of initiating a systematic dialog between current core concepts of 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. After the “cultural turn” – the general orientation of the humanities and social sciences towards a cultural perspective – , we are facing today a simultaneity of multiple “cultural turns”, representing different core concepts, topics and orientations which cut across and go beyond conventional forms of reasoning and acting . Following Spicer et al. (2011), this crossing and creative re-thinking and re-doing of management require critical and pragmatic perspectives on performativity. With these orientations, we welcome you to join us for exploring new forms and transformations of what management is and can be.

The Karls conference experience has always been of an exceptional nature, as speakers and participants of prior conferences confirm:


“Join a group of high level academics through a fashionable and full-of-surprises programme!”
– Fernando Peña López, University of A Coruña, Spain


“A vibrant space where dialogues are formed over the differences of disciplines, cultures and languages, not the easy way, but going through the difficulty of it!”
Sourav Kargupta, Jadavpur University, India


“Challenging and enlightening and makes you feel like you have been part of something worthwhile.”
– Steve Miles, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK


“My conference experience was deeply enriching and allowed me to rethink the potential trajectories of my own work, but also the possibilities for the development of studies within United States academic institutions as well.” 
Daniel Reynolds, Grinnell College, USA


“Pushing boundaries!”
– Melodena Stevens Balakrishnan, University of Wollongong, UAE


“This was a conference to remember.”
– Ze’ev Shavit, Western Galilee College, Israel


This spirit is at the center of this year’s conference as well:

Low cost for participation, support of young academics through conference grants, personal communication and contact on eye-level, interactive discussion and involvement of the practitioners’ and scientific community to co-create the outlines and contents of the conference through providing input before-hand via social networking, and little secrets and surprises in the program and social events that are to be revealed but in the last minute. Furthermore, we will try to stimulate and fasciliate reflexive dialogues and workshops that incorporate creative, critical and cross-disciplinary insights and discussions. Finally, the conference will be documented on-line and a selection of contributions will be published in our book series, Management-Culture-Interpretation as well as in a planned special issue.

With these welcoming words, we very much look forward to meeting you here at the ReThinking Management 2014 conference in Karlsruhe!

Your conference co-chairs Prof. Dr. Wendelin Küpers, Prof. Dr. Stephan Sonnenburg, Prof. Dr. Martin Zierold, your head of project David Sixt and the RTM2014 Team @ Karlshochschule International University



Bachmann-Medick, D. (2009): Cultural Turns. Neuorientierungen in den Kulturwissenschaften, Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt.

Spicer, A., Alvesson, M. and Kärreman, D. (2009). Critical performativity: The unfinished business of critical management studies. Human Relations, 62 (4): 537-560.