Epistemology of Management (in English)

llsma2001  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Epistemology of Management (in English)
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
5 credits
30.0 h
de Nanteuil Matthieu;
Main themes
This course should allow the students to access to a critical theory of knowledge applied to management and, in a wider sense, to all disciplines that belong to management studies. Such a goal is at the same time theoretical and practical: firstly, it should help students understand how a "management science" has been progressively invented, what are the challenges and limitations of such a project; secondly, it will introduce the participants to the main debates in the epistemological field, mixing fundamental and applied epistemologies; thirdly, it will give them reflexive roots to fulfill their research in management studies.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 Having regard to the LO of the programme X, this activity contributes to the development and acquisition of the following LO:
  1. Corporate citizenship
  2. Knowledge and reasoning
  3. A scientific and systematic approach
At the end of this course, the student will be able to access to a critical theory of knowledge applied to management and, in a wider sense, to all disciplines that belong to management studies. Such a critical theory will require a high level of competence, so that the students may
  1. understand how a management science has been invented, what are the challenges and limits of such a project;
  2. identify the epistemological frames which support the practice of management in contemporary organizations;
  3. give them the reflexive and critical roots to fulfill their PhD. thesis in management studies.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
After an introductive session dedicated to the foundations of epistemology and the emergence of management as a 'science', the course will explore the main branches in fundamental epistemology: 1.
  1. opper, Kuhn, Lakatos);
  2. Systemism, structuralism and post-structuralism (Luhmann, Bourdieu and Foucault);
  3. Phenomenology and hermeneutics (Weber, Merleau-Ponty, Schütz, Goffman, Giddens);
  4. Radical constructivism (Bloor, Latour, Garfinkel, others). It will then be dedicated to the presentations of current works in epistemology applied to management. Getting inspiration from the Critical Management Studies (CMS) movement, it will finally conclude on the notion of "critics" applied to management.
Teaching methods
This course will be an opportunity to initiative a genuine dialog between the teacher and students. Therefore, it will mix theoretical sessions (by the teacher) and presentations of scientific articles (by the students), and should stimulate collective discussions on main challenges in epistemology applied to research on management.
Evaluation methods
Continuous evaluation
  • Date: To be specified later
  • Type of evaluation: Group Work
  • Comments:
  1. oral presentation of a text of fundamental epistemology (1st part of the course)
  2. oral presentation of a text of fundamental epistemology (2nd part of the course)
  3. Last Course : Written work integrating the analysis of two texts presented and the contribution of these texts to the dissertations and/or doctoral theses of the members of the group.
Evaluation week
  • Oral: No
  • Written: No
  • Unavailability or comments: No
Examination session
  • Oral: No
  • Written: No
  • Unavailability or comments: In case of failed at the first session, the students concerned must represent the final group work.
In addition to the syllabus (Parts I & II, both compulsories), compulsory books are:
  • Understanding Management Research, by Phil Johnson and Joanne Duberley (London: Sage, 2000);
  • B. Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (London: Routledge, 2013 [1946]).
  • Pespectives critiques en management. Pour une gestion citoyenne, by Laurent Taskin & Matthieu de Nanteuil (eds) (Bruxelles: De Boeck, 2001).
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Management