Much has been written about the emergence of a new management paradigm in recent years. However, it is perhaps better to think of the current changes in organizations as entailing a new perspective on managing rather than a new paradigm outright. This article develops the notion of an "action perspective," an emerging managerial outlook that focuses on "bottom-up" organizational action rather than "top-down" rational designs. Drawing on their study of a unit of the industrial automation company Allen-Bradley, the authors discuss the meaning of an action perspective for four broad areas of management: structure, strategy, systems, and human resources. Thinking in terms of an action perspective can help managers avoid the traps of an over-attention to design when implementing new ideas. Managers must carefully distinguish between using designs as pragmatic tools for organizational action versus using them as ends in themselves.
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