I recommend this textbook for teachers and students alike and will be using it as an aid to learning to thinking differently on my own module. I was engaged by the authors’ conversational style and stimulated to reflect on my assumptions, which is the hallmark of critical reflection. This small book is replete with an unusually large number of incisive and important ideas, which is a testament to authors’ knowledge, identity work and sociological imagination. In short, they make a convincing case for why ‘there is nothing as practical as a good theory’ (Lewin, 1943: 118). In doing so, they show how theory can be used to unsettle taken for granted assumptions (Foucault, 1976) and highlight why we should reconsider canonical theories that have been abstracted from context - alerting us to the dangers of transposing ideas from one field (e.g. Lewin’s experimental psychology) to another (e.g. change management) without critically reflecting on the context in which theories are enacted. In my experience, we need to confront students with alternative theories, counter-facts and nuanced points of contention, which challenge their assumptions, and in so doing, “inculcate the urge to think differently”. Bridgman and Cummings offer up a ‘treasury of devices, techniques, ideas… and so on, that cannot exactly be reactivated but at least constitute, or help to constitute, a certain point of view which can be very useful as a tool for analysing what's going on now and to change it’ (Foucault, 1997: 261). In doing so, their text challenges conventional representations of theory, and with them my assumptions, by engaging me in identity work that has furthered my understanding of management praxis.
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Oxford Brookes Business School
Year of publication: 2022Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-01-06