Critical Management Studies Conference 2017

Please see the following announcement about a potential conference of interest:

Critical Management Studies Conference 2017
July 3 – 5, Liverpool, England 

Stream: Heroes and heroism

Stream chairs: Edward Granter & Leo McCann, University of Manchester, Des Williamson, University of Surrey.

‘Heroes do not receive material rewards for their hardships. Heroes must be willing to downplay their own exceptional abilities. Heroes abide by norms of anonymity; they must avoid being recognized as heroes’ (Adapted from Lois, 1999: 123)

This call for papers seeks contributions from a range of disciplines, which interrogate the nature of heroes and heroism in organizations and society. Recognising, after Lois, that ‘heroes’ often avoid identification, and that the nature of heroism is heavily mediated by emotional, organizational and cultural dimensions, how then can we define it – what makes work and workers heroic? Who, for Critical Management scholars and more widely, are our heroes? Do we have any? Can we have any? Why, if at all, do organizations possess or require heroes?

There are organizations that seem to be culturally associated with heroism such as the military, medicine and emergency services, and we welcome contributions based on research in these areas and related forms of ‘extreme work’ (Granter et al 2015). These could speak to issues of leadership – the leader as ‘saviour’ (Fisher and Phillips 2015: 36), for example, but might also reflect on organizational dimensions of heroism from the perspective of the everyday ranks of middle and frontline workers (Hyde et al. 2016).

Associations of work and the heroic go well beyond ‘cops, teachers, and counsellors’ (Maynard-Moody and Musheno 2003) and we are also interested in the normalization of heroism in working life in the era of precarity. Have heroic notions of striving, passion, and beating the crunch come to serve as ‘neo normative control mechanisms’ (Pettica Harris et al 2015: 573)?

The notion of the anti-hero is also relevant and we welcome papers which speak to the notion of the heroic and ‘alternative organizations’ (Parker, 2012). Since popular management books offer guidance from the mafia, for example (Ferrante 2015), contributions may seek to interrogate the anti-heroes, the dark side of heroism, or even organizational villains.

We are interested in the notion of hero figures in our own discipline. Theoretical and discursive papers are also welcome and themes might include notions or risk or sacrifice in research, or the idea of praxis; work which sets out not just to describe the world, but to change it.

Submission Details:

The deadline for submission of papers/abstracts to steam conveners is 31st January 2017.

Final decision on acceptance of abstracts to individual streams will be communicated by the stream conveners to the authors latest by 28th February 2017.

Abstracts should be between 500-1000 words in length, A4 paper, single spaced, 12 point font.

Your abstract should include:

  • Title
  • The nature of the paper and its core question
  • A brief outline of the argument
  • How the paper will contribute to the theme

Further information can be found here:

To submit your paper or for an informal discussion, please contact:


Ferrante, L. (2015) Mob Rules: What the Mafia Can Teach the Legitimate Businessman. London: Penguin.

Fisher A. and Phillips J. (2015) ‘Quo Vadis: A new direction for police leadership through community engagement’ in Wankhade, P. and Weir, D. Police Services; Leadership and Management Perspectives. London: Springer, pp. 29-44.

Granter, E. McCann, L. and Boyle, M. (2015) ‘Extreme Work / Normal Work: Intensification, Storytelling and Hypermediation in the (Re)construction of ‘the New Normal’, Organization, 22, (4): 443-456.

Hyde, P. Granter, E. Hassard J. and McCann, L. (2016) Deconstructing the Welfare State. London: Routledge.

Lois, J. (1999) ‘Socialization to Heroism: Individualism and Collectivism in a Voluntary Search and Rescue Group’. Social Psychology Quarterly, 62(2): 117-135.

Maynard-Moody, S. and Musheno, M. (2003) Cops, teachers, counselors. University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor.

Parker, M (2012) Alternative Business: Outlaws, Crime and Culture. London: Routledge.

Peticca-Harris, A., Weststar, J. and McKenna, S. (2015) ‘The perils of project-based work:

Attempting resistance to extreme work practices in video game development’. Organization

22(4): 570–587.

Tangherlini, T.L. (2000) ‘Heroes and Lies: Storytelling among Paramedics’. Folklore, 111: 43-66.

Wankhade, P. and Weir, D. (2015) Police Services; Leadership and Management Perspectives. London: Springer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.