Keynote Speaker: Roy Jacques, Ph.D.

Roy Jacques

Dr. Jacques is an independent management theorist, teacher, coach, consultant and former small business owner presently living in Phoenix, Arizona. He has taught at several American and New Zealand universities, most recently as Professor of Management and Business Strategy at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand. His graduate degrees are from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Roy has devoted his career to studying and teaching the effective management of what he terms ‘knowledge-intensive work’, meaning work situations where it is not adequate to simply command employees to do the job — situations where employee discretion, judgment and good will are also necessary for achieving an effective organizational result. This has included occupations as diverse as biotechnology researchers, nurses and café staff.

Since ‘knowledge work’ (a most inadequately theorized construct) has been trumpeted as marking a revolution in the meanings of work and managing, the central theoretical object of Dr. Jacques’ research has been the social construction of subjectivity over time. This foregrounds two phenomena, history and identity. Due to the centrality of identity, much of Dr. Jacques’ work has focused on gender and diversity, including a chapter in the forthcoming Prasad & Prasad Routledge Companion to Critical Management Studies which traces the neutering of radical potential in the signifier ‘diversity’ within mainstream US academic discourse. Roy was the first chair of the Gender & Diversity division of the Academy of Management after it broadened its mission from Women in Management.

This same interest in the construction of subjectivity led Dr. Jacques to research the history of the ‘management’ as a temporally and culturally bounded way of producing and controlling a work subject — the ‘employee’. This research was published in 1996 by Sage, London, as Manufacturing the Employee: Management knowledge from the 19th to 21st centuries. That this low-circulation academic tome remains in print eighteen years later speaks to the enduring interest the work has stimulated. Gary Hamel has praised this book as, “one of the most thoughtful business books I have ever read.”

Dr. Jacques was a founding co-editor of the journal Management & Organizational History. His contribution to the inaugural issue (“History, historiography and organizational studies: The challenge and the potential”) is a critical reflection on historical research, methodology and its relevance (or not) to organizational studies. Roy’s present primary interest is mentoring and developing new 1st and 2nd line managers, based on principles presented in the book The Sergeant Major Syndrome, which he co-authored.

Keynote Topic:

It is fitting that we come to Halifax to discuss community; Halifax, the heart of the North American Maritimes, where the fish were inexhaustible for millennia; but also where our faith in ‘management’, ‘science’ and a narrowly-conceived version of rationality, combined with our innocence about the sociopathic cruelties of absentee ownership in a capitalist society have resulted in the destruction of the most inexhaustible fishery on the planet and the devastation of the foundations of communities from Rhode Island to Cape Breton to the West of England. In the cod we see our own future. We value community or we would not be here. How do we give the field mouse of community a fair chance against the plunging hawk of absentee capitalism? We have hard questions to face. That we do not have easy answers should not deter us from accepting that we are not facing questions of convenience, or mere profit, but of survival — and we shall be as cods.