Release | Special Issue | The Great Reset of management and organization theory

Virtual Special Issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Management on

The Great Reset of management and Organization Theory

Edited by Steffen Roth, Wojciech Czakon, Wolfgang Amann, and Léo-Paul Dana


Steffen Roth, Wojciech Czakon, Wolfgang Amann, and Léo-Paul Dana: From organised scepticism to research mission management? Introduction to the Great Reset of management and organization theory.

Abstract: This introduces the reader to the Great Reset of management and organization theory. Concepts are discussed and six cases are presented, provoking thought, debate, and dialogue for or against a Great Reset of management and organization theory. We conclude that management and organisation theorists might rather study than advocate or co-perform resets great or small that aim at privileging this development goal or that minority over others.


Albrecht Fritzsche: The pragmatic roots of scientific insight: a culturalist approach to management theory in the view of grand challenges.

Abstract: Grand challenges, as they are currently discussed in management research, refer to societal problems that affect human affairs comprehensively. Tackling grand challenges must therefore be considered first and foremost as an overarching cultural effort. To understand how management theory fits into this effort, the article drafts a new epistemic approach to theory development. The approach is based on the school of Methodical Culturalism in the philosophy of science. It turns the attention to the pragmatic roots of scientific insight in daily life. From the review of extant literature associated with Methodical Culturalism, the article extracts a list of questions to investigate how these pragmatic roots take effect in theory development. Using selected examples, the article gives a brief illustration of the change in perspective that results from the culturalist approach. It argues that management theory can be more closely related to grand challenges when the personal affectedness of scholars as human beings is better taken into account.

Kristof Van Assche, Robert Greenwood, and Monica Gruezmacher: The local paradox in grand policy schemes. Lessons from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Abstract: We turn to the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador and its continuous reorganization of governance, its series of shocks, ambitions of reinvention and development to analyze the risks associated with Great Reset-style ambitions. We coin the concept of the local paradox: grand schemes need input from and implementation at a local level and this requires local governance to be autonomous, legitimate and to have the institutional and cognitive capacities, as well as the resources, to fulfill these roles. On the other hand, these requirements can entirely derail top-down ambitions. Currently, existing local governance might not be interested in transformation into more empowered political entities capable of contributing to greater collective goals. We suggest ways out of this conundrum, arguing for a strict avoidance of ideological tropes and false oppositions.

Ermanno C. Tortia: Employment protection regimes and dismissal of members in worker cooperatives.

Abstract: In connection with the “Great Reset” literature in management and organizational theory, this article discusses human resource sustainability, employment stability, and layoffs in worker cooperatives, a unique organizational form in which employees are members holding residual control rights. Theoretical and empirical contributions show that worker control stabilizes employment better than investor ownership, opening the door to stronger employment protection. The paper leverages key theoretical insights from evolutionary economics and systems theory to discuss the benefits and critical elements associated with limiting member layoffs in worker cooperatives. While strong employment protection can lead to short-term inefficiencies and underperformance due to labour hoarding, imperfections in governance and control mechanisms, it can foster better accumulation and retention of firm-specific human capital and dynamic capabilities, thereby supporting long-term performance.

Klaus Brønd LaursenLars Esbjerg, and Nikolaj Kure: Ctrl Alt Delete in the name of COVID 19. When a reset leads to misrecognition.

Abstract: When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world in March 2020, it impacted all areas of society. Most conspicuous were the lockdowns that were quickly imposed in many countries along with other restrictions. These interventions into the everyday life of ordinary citizens were, perhaps not surprisingly, often met with resistance by citizens and businesses that felt their rights were being trampled on by governments. In this paper, we analyse reactions towards the far-reaching measures taken by the Danish government to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the fur industry and thereby prevent the development of new mutations of the virus: to cull all minks and temporarily ban mink production in Denmark. We argue that by studying this case, valuable lessons can be learned regarding how a business community reacts when faced with a great reset. Taking the current climate crisis into consideration, it must be expected that emission-heavy industries, like agriculture, will be faced with calls to radically change their mode of production in the near future. In this sense, we propose to view the Danish mink case as an early example of what a great reset could look like, how it is perceived by those who experience it first-hand, and how feelings of resentment and resistance can develop following a logic of (mis)recognition.

Constantine Iliopoulos and Vladislav Valentinov: Cooperative governance under increasing member diversity: Towards a new theoretical framework.

Abstract: In advancing the notion of stakeholder capitalism, the great reset of management and organization theory must address governance implications of stakeholder heterogeneity. The paper contributes to this task by focusing on the governance of agricultural cooperatives whose members often have heterogeneous preferences. The key novel idea is to conceptualize cooperative governance in the light of the proposed distinction between the core and peripheral activities of cooperatives. While core activities are based on members’ truly common interests, peripheral activities include all else. This approach allows tracing governance challenges of agricultural cooperatives back to the inflation of peripheral activities. Based on this approach, cooperative managers and members are advised to minimize these activities and to draw clear boundaries between core and periphery.

Nicolai J. Foss, Peter G. Klein, and Samuele Murtinu: The economy doesn’t need a reset, and neither does management theory.

Abstract: Policymakers, commentators, and academics have called for a Great Reset, a deep-seated overhaul of the organization of the global economy. Some suggest that management theory needs a reset of its own. We argue that Great Reset proponents fail to appreciate the power of markets to bring about desirable social outcomes and are overly sanguine about what governments can do to alleviate alleged market failures. These views also drive the increasing enthusiasm for stakeholder governance, an increased government role in innovation, and the call for new metrics for assessing outcomes, all part of the Great Reset narrative. And yet, concentrating more decision power in the hands of governments, implementing diffuse metrics, and diluting effective ownership can hamper the functioning of markets, encourage crony capitalism, and reduce the resources that are available for dealing with grand challenges. Existing management theory provides powerful tools for understanding the benefits and costs of alternative institutional arrangements; abandoning these tools will push management theory to the sideline in policy debates.

Rejoinder: Steffen Roth: Reset and restoration. The looming conservative turn of management theory: An extension of Foss et al. Published in Volume 39, Number 3 of the Scandinavian Journal of Management .

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