Managerialism and Nihilism

Gerard McElwee, David Currie, Peter Somerville


This reflection adopts a critical approach to critique the ‘Excellence Literature’ in management, taking a Nietzschean perspective on nihilism Nihilism is often seen as a negative state, and the work of White (1990) suggests that there are different forms of nihilism which we argue have consequences for the nature of management. Two case studies and an illustration of issues encountered in the authors’ direct experience serve to illustrate these forms.


We are also concerned in our roles as ‘management educators’ as to the implications for our classroom practice, where we seek to engage in what has been described as ‘critical management development’. Thus, the paper concludes by questioning why approaches such as the ‘Excellence’ literature are still so prominent in MBA programmes.


Managerialism; Nietzsche; Organisational Culture

Full Text: