Against the tendency to ground depictions of management professionalization in the analysis of professional media, this article argues that such literature represents the end of the institutionalization process rather than its beginning. Based on a systematic analysis of one general (non-professional) daily newspaper in Israel, I suggest that the mass media constitute a vehicle through which professional ideas are crystallized, disseminated, and become "taken for granted" prior to the emergence of management as an autonomous field. I show how a particular managerial concept, that of productivity, emerges in the popular media and travels into the managerial field evoking a process of institutionalization. Thus, it enables managers to establish and legitimize their distinct professional identity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation administered by the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities (PI Yehouda Shenhav). I would like to thank Yehouda Shenhav for his thoughtful and insightful guidance and his numerous comments and suggestions in the course of the research and writing processes, Alexandra Kalev for her assistance in designing this research project and Nadav Gabay, Shirley Howser, Shoham Melamed, Regev Natanson and Tamir Erez for their assistance in data collection and processing. I would also like to thank the participants of the conference on “The Role of the Media in the Consumption of Management Ideas in Europe” held in Barcelona in December, 2000, and the special issue editors for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.
The coding instrument for this study, funded by the Israel Science Foundation, was developed by the researchers in collaboration with the coders. I first developed a list of concepts relevant to the technocratic interpretation of the idea of productivity and productivization. Among these concepts were labor productivity, efficiency, production, output, norms and premiums. Six graduate students, familiar with the literature on the professional discourse of productivity and “productivity crazes”, were trained for this study to become coders.
- Discourse analysis
- Social problems