Management and Anarchism

Autumn 2015

Konstantin Stoborod and Thomas Swann (eds), ‘Management, business, anarchism’ special issue of ephemera – theory & politics in organization
November 2014, volume 14, number 4; pp591-1079; ISBN 978-1-906948-25-2 (available free online)

ephemera’s November 2014 special issue links anarchism to organisations and manage- ment, with twenty-two articles from thirty-five authors, on themes such as: anarchism as a theory of organisations; key ideas of anarchism and Critical Management Studies (CMS); the roots of anarchist organisations; anarchist praxis; and radical imagina- tion. Management signifies virtually everything anarchism rejects, and as Swann and Stoborod’s editorial highlights, ‘the inclusion of anarchism and management in the same sentence would normally connote a rejection’ (p591). Indeed, Taylor’s (un-) Scientific Management (1911) described workers as ‘trained gorillas’,1 while Fayol’s (1916) invention of managerial activities such as forecasting, planning, organising, commanding, delegating, and controlling2 cemented management’s anti-anarchist stance. Management originated with the use of whips and sticks to domesticate workers in the brutal factory discipline of Dickensian Satanic Mills.3 In many cases, though not all, this has been reformulated into ‘human resources’ with its performance management and Key Performance Indicators. To hide these historical facts, ephemera euphemises the ideology-laden ‘management’ with ‘organisation’. 


  1. This was typical of managerial language long before management mutated into Managerialism. Quoted in T. Klikauer, Managerialism – Critique of an Ideology, (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2013), p51. See also: F.W. Taylor, The Principle of Scientific Management, (New York: Norton Press, 1911) and

  2. H. Fayol, Industrial and General Administration, (London: SirI. Pitman & Sons, ltd. 1916 (1930)). 


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AS Vol 23 No. 2