Academic journal article Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management

Editorial

Academic journal article Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management

Editorial

Article excerpt

With this issue of JANZAM, I come to the end of my three-year term as Editor. Power appears to be the emergent theme in this issue, and it is an appropriate point on which to reflect on my time in the job.

Power is central to the papers by Nuzhat Lotia and Railton Hill: respectively its influence on learning in collaborations, and in the relationship between advertisers and the creative agencies they employ. Power lurks in the shadows behind the managers leading an outsourcing project in the case study by James Hunter and Ray Cooksey: wielded to drive the project through; and blinding those who use it to the processes they seek to improve.

This study also reveals the role played by abstract ideas - 'outsourcing' - in justifying the actions of those in power. The same can be said of the HR practices aimed at establishing 'the new employment relationship', as Vicky Browning and Fiona Edgar discover in their study of South African and New Zealand employees' responses to these new orthodoxies. We academics who produce and purvey these ideas exert our power from the cover of even deeper shadows, giving tools to those with the power to act, but very, very seldom being present to observe their effect. Kate Kearins, Belinda Luke and Patricia Coiner bring light to these murky processes of influence in their study of the criteria implicit in recent Entrepreneurship Awards, criteria that celebrate some aspects of these very complex people, but are blind to the rest - in particular, they argue, the ethical content of entrepreneurial action. To similar effect. Ken Parry's study reveals the importance that social processes assume in effective leadership, over and above the long-promulgated norms of transactional and transformational practice.

What then of the power of editors? Before I took on this job, I saw these people as frustrating impediments to the free expression of ideas - in particular, my own. That reality has surely not gone away. But I have learned over the last three years to see the canonical institution of the journal as an intensely social process: no longer a physical thing printed on paper, nor a grown-up version of examination hell, but a collection of people working away at the logic of their observations and their ideas.

Prime among these are of course the researchers and the papers that they write. …

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