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Contrary prescriptions: Recognizing good practice tensions in management

Beech, P.N.H. and Huxham, C. (2003) Contrary prescriptions: Recognizing good practice tensions in management. Organization Studies, 24 (1). pp. 67-91. ISSN 0170-8406

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Abstract

This paper is concerned with rethinking the notion of 'good management practice'. It explicates a way of framing management theory in terms of tensions between apparently contradictory pieces of good practice advice. The relevance of this, as a practical conceptualization that could usefully inform managers about the kinds of considerations they might take account of in both their day to day and longer term management thinking, is explored. The emerging theoretical framework is elaborated in terms of some characteristics of, and language about, tensions together with possible levels of use of the concept to inform practice. It is suggested that the use of the approach necessarily implies a view of the user as a reflective practitioner.