A book that was just recently translated into Italian tackles the topic of management within modern manufacturing organisations in a different and unorthodox way


A company is built with people. And therefore with their ideas, which are not simply those of the entrepreneur but also of those who, beside him and around him, build and make the manufacturing organisation thrive. So it is not just down to the machines. If one accepts this concept, one also needs to realise that the essence of management  in fact lies in the ability to relate to others.

“Il management. Approcci, culture, etica” (Management. Approaches, cultures, ethics) by Ann L. Cunliffe in fact starts with this very same series of considerations.  “Management is a relational, reflective and ethical activity. It is not simply what is done, but it is essentially who we are and how we relate to others”, explains the author at the beginning of her book. She teaches Organisation at Bradford University based on her lengthy experience in company management  and organisation.

In fact the book has two pillars: it focuses on the responsibilities of managers and on their position within the company. For Cunliffe, it is necessary to review the theories and the practical side of management by comparing them with different aspects of social activity which have hitherto been excluded from studies and from management practices.

The book then simply covers these topics over less than two hundred pages. Cunliffe begins by reasoning about management and “managerialism” and then addresses the topics tied to communication of managers , their language and the figure of relationship managers. The way to distinguish this part of the book is summed up in the contents of the chapter sub-heading: “Non è quello che ho detto…” (That’s not what I said). Subsequently the volume poses the question: who are managers? Followed by the question of who the people who work as managers really are, attempting to understand their nature, their weaknesses and their strengths. Cunliffe, following the theory based on people and therefore on relationships, poses the problem of “managing culture” and therefore “managing heart, mind and soul” and then in the last chapter covers the topic dedicated to managing ethical and “proper” organisations.

Useful although in part complex and convoluted is the Foreword in the Italian edition of the book (“Orografie organizzative e approccio critico al management” – Organisational orographies and critical approach to management) by Giuseppe Scaratti whose aim is to position Cunliffe’s work within studies on management.

In any case, the literary effort of Cunliffe, who is also a contract professor at Cattolica University, is worth reading attentively, and perhaps re-reading after comparing the “practice” of management  with what she has written in her book.


Il management. Approcci, culture, etica (Management. Approaches, cultures, ethics)

Ann L. Cunliffe

Raffaello Cortina Editore, 2017