Labour process theory and critical management studies

Thompson, P.; Alvesson, M. and Bridgman, T and Willmott, H, eds. (2009) Labour process theory and critical management studies. In: The Oxford Handbook of Critical Management Studies. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 100-122. ISBN ISBN-13: 978-0-19-923771-5 (

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Labour Process Theory (LPT) is conventionally and rightly listed as one of the analytical resources for Critical Management Studies (CMS). Yet, the relationships between the two have been, in the words of a classic of the former, a contested terrain. This is hardly surprising. Even if we set aside the inevitable multiplicity of perspectives, there is a tension in potential objects of analysis. Before CMS burst on to the scene, LPT was being criticised at its peak of influence in the 1980s for paying too much attention to management and too little to capital(ism) and labour. This was sometimes attributed to the location of many of the protagonists (in the UK at least) in business schools, but was, more likely a reflection of wider theoretical and ideological divides.