© 2017

Rethinking Management

Confronting the Roots and Consequences of Current Theory and Practice


  • Proposes a new paradigm of management designed to support the aspirations of organizations while meeting societies’ greatest needs

  • Examines the consequences of management behavior in relation to the existing and alternative paradigms

  • Addresses the evolving requirements of 21st century organizations and the realities of managing for collaboration and high levels of achievement

  • Defines a process and illuminates a pathway to effective change and growth


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. The Roots and Consequences of Organizational and Management Dysfunction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-5
    2. Neil Douglas, Terry Wykowski
      Pages 7-25
    3. Neil Douglas, Terry Wykowski
      Pages 27-60
    4. Neil Douglas, Terry Wykowski
      Pages 61-88
  3. Rethinking Management: An Alternative View

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 89-90
    2. Neil Douglas, Terry Wykowski
      Pages 91-131
    3. Neil Douglas, Terry Wykowski
      Pages 133-169
    4. Neil Douglas, Terry Wykowski
      Pages 171-194
    5. Neil Douglas, Terry Wykowski
      Pages 195-218
    6. Neil Douglas, Terry Wykowski
      Pages 219-257
    7. Neil Douglas, Terry Wykowski
      Pages 259-262
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 263-274

About this book


This book challenges the roots and elements of the existing dominant paradigm of management, which can legitimize artless practices and result in dysfunction, and proposes an alternative based on a different understanding of human nature and social and economic life. This paradigm is designed to bring about the conception of organizations as wholes rather than assemblies of disembodied fragments, with managers as facilitators of the work of others and shapers of culture, with a clear sense of purpose and a moral compass. Such a paradigm would result in a practice of management that is more competent, more purposeful, and more ethical, based on a more accurate and complete comprehension of reality. 

This book sets forth a more optimistic understanding of human nature and collective life, and the hope that we can be and do better.  It is a major contribution to the field of management and will benefit academics, managers, and consultants working in the fields of organizational development and strategic change.


Teamwork Leadership Enterprise Management Strategic Management Organizational Culture Ethics Organizational Behavior Behavioral economics organizational dysfunction

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Consulting GroupHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Oxford Consulting GroupHoustonUSA

About the authors

Neil Douglas and Terry Wykowski are principals of the Oxford Consulting Group in Houston, Texas.  They are authors of From Belief to Knowledge: Achieving and Sustaining an Adaptive Culture in Organizations and Beyond Reductionism: Gateways for Learning and Change.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Chemical Manufacturing
Consumer Packaged Goods
Materials & Steel
Finance, Business & Banking


“This ambitious book sets out to challenge the dominant model of management that has evolved over the past century and makes a cogent case for a new paradigm of management, embracing new principles to guide a more purposeful, innovative and empowering organisational environment to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  Drawing widely on management theory and practice as well as foundational disciplines, the authors create a new framework for action that will inspire all who seek to lead or be a part of a transformed, more human and ethical endeavour – an organisation capable of realizing the potential of individuals and being adaptive, innovative, fit for purpose and high performing.  A thought provoking must read for management teachers and practitioners alike.”   (Dame Lynne Brindley, Master, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, Former Chief Executive, British Library)

 “In their latest book, Neil Douglas and Terry Wykowski provide a compelling analysis of the factors and forces that lead to management failure.  The roots of dysfunction are varied but benefit from clinical dissection to identify common and repeated themes.  A different and improved approach – a new paradigm – is proposed based upon behavioral theory and more clearly defined management purpose.  All interested in the theory of leadership and improved management will find this analysis fascinating and useful.” (Andrew Hamilton, President, New York University)

“I learned a great deal about the anthropology of management through Douglas and Wykowsi’s new book, Rethinking Management.  It was intriguing to see culture, symbols, language and patterns of behavior expressed in the two management paradigms presented. The arguments for a new paradigm were compelling and soundly based on research in multiple disciplines and pulled together brilliantly!” (David Julian Hodges, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, Hunter College,City University of New York)

“Rethinking Management: Confronting the Roots and Consequences of Current Theory and Practice explores the cultural undercurrents and entrenched practices which contribute to mediocrity and dysfunction within modern organizations.  In confronting these failures the book presents an alternative paradigm, which encourages radical change in corporate structure and thinking and replaces the outdated model of an omnipotent management and an acquiescent workforce.  The authors have forensically dissected conventional management structure (theory and practice) to expose its weaknesses and flaws, and then used their considerable expertise to construct a model which is at the same time more effective, flexible and better suited to modern challenges.” (Marc Bullock, M.D., Ph.D., Southampton University Hospital, NHS Trust, Fulbright Fellow in Cancer Research)