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Appointment: Professor Martin Parker, BA, MA, PhD

Professor Martin Parker, 41, has been appointed Professor of Organisation and Director of Research in the Management Centre at the University of Leicester as from September 1, 2003, having previously been Professor of Social and Organisation Theory at the University of Keele. [Photo: Professor Martin Parker]

He began his formal employment in Butlins selling hot dogs, later moving on to teach in further education and then holding posts at the Universities of Staffordshire (in sociology) and Keele (in management). His first degree was in anthropology (Sussex 1984), and his MA and PhD in sociology (London 1988, Staffordshire 1995). 

He writes about a variety of areas, but they could be summarised as being concerned with the links between organisation and culture, and the ethics and politics of management. Connecting these bits and pieces is an engagement with contemporary forms of social theory.

Martin has written about elements of contemporary culture - film, McDonald’s, conspiracy theory, urban landscape, the body, science fiction, anti-corporate protest and so on. These works explore the idea that organising is a cultural matter, and culture a form of organisation. 

His first proper book, Organisational Culture and Identity, looked at understandings of culture in organisations. It framed conceptions of culture as problems of identity and identification and argued that belonging to an organisation is a claim about identity, but one that is contested and fragmented in a variety of ways.

His other writing is primarily concerned with the issues raised by forms of social theory for matters of judgement. By this he means a diverse family of ideas which attempt to move beyond narrowly ‘humanist’ and ‘scientific’ assumptions about what human beings are like and how we can come to know about them. This has resulted in publications on ethical philosophy and business ethics, as well as citizenship, concepts of community, and change in contemporary higher education. 

Some of these themes are drawn together in his latest book that considers the various ways in which contemporary managerialism is currently being articulated as a problem. Against Management considers business ethics, critical management studies, contemporary films and anti-corporate protest as examples of a change in the culture of representation of management and the corporation. The book concludes by suggesting that there are many ways of organising, but that a historically specific managerial model has become hegemonic.

Over the next few years Professor Parker plans to work on a number of related topics. One is to further develop his interest in non-standard and utopian methods of organising and work towards producing a larger ‘sourcebook’ of ideas from co-operatives, feminist and green collectives, utopian organisations and so on. Other projects include a textbook on critical business ethics; and research into the implications of corporate universities for the future of state universities.

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Last updated: 10 November 2002 14:30
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