“Where are the new management theories?” an acute observer of management trends asked me at a gathering of executives, academics, and journalists focused on the future of work. It was a few months ago, and no one expected the future to arrive as quickly as it has, or in the way that it has. I had heard that question before — it’s a staple of those gatherings — but I’ve been thinking about it a lot since work as we knew it has ground to a halt. Theories bind analysis and action and, especially in times of change, when the future becomes unpredictable and anxiety is running high, managers need theories to provide clarity and reassurance.
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