Critical Management Studies - Case Study

Critical management studies and analysis of theories given by Marx and Habermas

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Critical Management Studies - Case Study

Introduction Of Critical Management Studies

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Critical management studies simply refer to a loose but extended grouping of empirically informed critical reviews of business and corporation management grounded earlier in a critical hypothesis perspective (Kothari, 2016). Nowadays, it encompasses a vast range of views that are captious of conventional philosophies of management and business schools used to generate these theories. The present report is based on a case study. It also contains relevant information about critical management studies; in this project, various theories like Marxist theory, Habermas concepts regarding ideal of speech, etc. Apart from this, some information is also added to the provided case study.

Case Study on Critical Management Studies

According to the given case study, the exploitation of workers from the IT sector has been increasing daily. Video game designers or software developers are being hired and are forced to do long working hours. A large amount of work is taken from them without proper pay. This creates rhetorical effects and makes the working environment stressful as overtime work is examined, and there is no assurance of any compensation. This phenomenon is named the Death March. This is the reason for both workers and capital mobility. Investigator has focused on (de)regulation of working time only. Still, this evaluation opens up a way to theoretically or the (de) regulation of work more narrowly in a growing workforce of new professionals in the working sector. Video game developers and software designers are not portions of a big pool of exchangeable labour either as a neo-Marxist model will suggest; on the other hand, they comprise a strategic asset for their managers, a captious success factor, especially so in terms of the absence of skilled workforce (Lunney, 2013).

This case report is designed by interviewing around 88 extensive employees including project managers, computer analysts, testing engineers, managers and so on. In both cases, the researcher said that managerial staff and senior managers are not viewed as subject to the provisions regarding payment of extra time working hours. The samples consist of an equal number of males and females, neglecting the organisation's low proportion of female employees. In the context of educational qualification, approximately 98 % of video game designers have done many forms of post-secondary education. In comparison, 60 % are university holders, and around 26 % own a technical diploma. This has been investigated that software developers are commonly put in overtime at their homes at night or at weekends. After taking interviews of 46 % of females and 83 % of males, researchers found that approx 49 % of respondents worked extra 40 hours in a week and 13.6 % workaround over 50 hours within seven days (Grey and et al., 2016). Thus, it can be said that women are less likely to work extra hours than their male associates as they also have to complete their duties regarding children and domestic work.

The researcher also explained the issues of crunch time and has done work on associated burnout. In practice, overtime is more the regulation than the exception, as per the Online quality of Life International Survey of the International Game Developers Association, a survey of 994 members, amounting to around 10 % of the company's overall membership. Coming to a legal framework, the Act of Respecting Labour Standards clearly stated that a manager who asks their employees to work overtime has to provide wages at a premium rate. If any employer does not want to pay for overtime, they should not provide extra work to their workforce. But it has been examined that most IT companies are not following this rule made by the government.

Reputation plays a major role in the Information technology sector. It is essential to understand the working of enterprises that work on project-based. Reputation plays a big role and largely affect the decision. The design of every product gives rise to a contract which later becomes a project and is managed as per the set principles. Major elements of a project are its scope, budget and deadlines. In the case of video games, competitions are always international as this location does not play a significant role. Failures are high and very common in video games. That's why companies invest more in risk analysis (Guest, 2011). Due to copycat rivals, illegally increased distribution of products, the IT sector faces several challenges. Many commercial games are there which are not producing any kind of profit. Game publishers acquire IP rights to games under which designers get compensation against royalties based on sales. Publishers fund games, and this take number of years to develop.

Further, publishers do all efforts to manage the risk with the help of producers to monitor the success. The strategy of HRM (Human resource management) must be combined with the business model as this help in increasing the return on investment. Management of projects as per the set standards and project-based working offer an adequate HRM approach.

Suppose an enterprise wants to offer innovative and better quality products to its customers, it requires a lot of improvements. One of the major challenges which managers face is that they control the business operations and at the same time maintain a culture of innovation and creativity. One of the main advantages of project-based working is that it helps managers manage and perform flexible roles that help them manage changes and get control of overall business operations. Uncertainty is one of the major issues that always lies with project management. As per the core theory, the project-based organisation is replaced by relentless challenges of continuous innovation.

The project life cycle is another cornerstone of project management in which the production of a product is broken down into smaller operations. This helps the manager identify the resources and budgets required to complete the project. In practical life, both software and video game developers carry out the activities of entrepreneurs. To avoid and remove bureaucracy, basic managerial functions such as research and development, human resources, finance and production requirements are coordinated (Foss and Knudsen, 2013). Project managers manage every aspect related to the project, such as HRM and at the same time formulate effective policies and encourage individuals to work with a given period. This mustn't be misunderstood. Overall, project-based enterprises do not only allow control to team members but also gives control to clients. This is the main reason why project-based enterprises are popular and beyond the IT industry's limits. Due to this, there is an increase in the members of the management profession.


Marxist theory to CMS

The Marxist theory works in the sector of philosophy that is powerfully influenced by Karl Marx's materialist approach to theory. Most of the history and prehistory of critical management studies is concerned with reckoning out the manifests of the text signed with the name of Marx. This history can be broadly summarised in three moments (Elwood, 2017). The first moment is one of the regulations that, after some time, became famous as labour process theory and what is regarded as the forerunner to CMS. He said that the value of things has to be measured in the context of labour that went into their manufacture. But historical economics do not do the same as they calculate the value of whatever is earned after selling products or services in the marketplace. Marx was incorrect in putting so much importance on developing an economic theory based on labour as the unit of measurement. It is tough to describe several things this way, like the prices a person pay for things, and it is not essential for his critical review of capitalism. Thus, a great period has been wasted debating in this belief only. 

The second moment is one of caesura, in which more of what is being granted in a Marxist analysis of organisation and management is tangled overboard. In specific, this happens through a conceptuality of the comparative independence of management vis-a-vis capital. Here the calculation of the employer and its position within the venture is viewed concerning a structural evaluation of the functioning of management within capitalistic relations of production. On the other hand, the third moment correctly comprises a return to Marx, in many ways despite the first two moments (Cardoso. Meireles and Ferreira Peralta, 2012). Scholars try to rejuvenate a special early 20th-century version of Paleo-Marxism is possibly much more prominent, but also the less innovation-based, move to think a Marxist future for CMS. This moment also objected to the theory of the labour process. It challenged it to once more execute a turn to the invisible abode of production, this time in the social, industrial plant. Most of the analysis of management and associated functioning like accounting is once more thought of as part of a capitalist capture machine. Some of the key criticisms of this theory are listed below:

  • Too much importance is provided to the economic factor in describing social order and modifications.
  • Marx's theory of value states that the value of production is considered the amount of labour in it. Employees create that value but are getting it all in their salary or payments. On the other hand, private enterprises sell the goods for more revenue than they pay to their workers and hence gain part of the value made by them (Child, 2012). Therefore, to Marx, the main fault in capitalism is this unfairness or injustice that is also said as theft and exploitation done in the mode of manufacturing.

Habermas theory

Jurgen Habermas is a German philosopher of critical theory. A theoretical model of Habermas is dedicated to revealing the possibility of reason. Currently, Jurgen Habermas get ranks as one of the most powerful philosophers in the world. 

  • Habermas's theory of politics, morality and law: Habermas's interest in rationality and political theory comes from deliberative democracy. Under this, Habermas does struggle to show his idealised discourse theory. He concludes his conception of practical disclosure in disclosure principle. Each discourse consists of specification content for the issue. He has been concerned with two major specifications that are legal, political and moral discourse. During differentiating between these two, he also tackles the problem of the relationship between morality and law.

Under the disclosure theory of morality, Habermas considers the element the morality as a matter of moral obligations, the positive obligations that ensure interactions among individuals. Further, he also made discourse ethics by considering social anthropology and empirical foothold. As per the point views of Habermas, moral maturation consists of the growing ability to merge the interpersonal perspectives given with the personal pronouns (Cacciabue, 2013).

The main aim of Habermas's democratic theory was to provide a normative account for the law. Further, the demand for the legitimation of law varies with functional realignment.

  • Theory of communicative action: Habermas developed a two-level social theory of two-level that consists of the analysis of communicative rationality. Based on this theory, he hopes to examine the losses and gains of modernisation to overcome a one-sided version of rationalisation. Critical theories make two assumptions is that there is one preferred mode of expiations, and there is one goal of social criticism. This theory's correctness and incorrectness are largely dependent on its rejection and acceptance. Habermas's attitude towards these different modes is uncertain, but he has given good reasons to accept the pluralist approach. He accepts that all theories and modes of inquiry have legitimacy.
  • Habermas's discourse theory: The theory of communicative action relies on the idea that social order largely depends on the capacity of individuals to recognise the validity of various claims on which social cooperation depends. Haberman highlights cognitive and rational character to recognise the validity of claims (Habermas theory, 2017). He proposes a multidimensional conception that expresses itself in various forms of validity and just truth claims and the empirical world.

The discourse theory of Habermas assumes that specific types of validity claim only a single aim to justify, and that's why this theory is known as pragmatic analysis of argumentation. From a logical point of view, individuals are concerned with arguments as services, and products that support conclusions. The strength of these arguments largely depends on how an individual considers all the relevant information. The term called logical consider not only formal logic but also consider informal logic. These strengths depend on the meaning of terms and information that complete formalisation. Some discourses depend on various types: a moral, most obvious, and ethical party. 

Habermas concluded that an ideal speech situation is when rules govern the communication between individuals. In this, participants would be able to examine each other's statements based on reason and proof that exists in a situation consisting of psychological and physical coercion (Alvesson and Willmott, 2012). All individuals would be encouraged solely by the desire to obtain a rational outcome. 

The condition of ideal speech came in the 1970s by various theorists who relativised the concept and proved that an ideal speech situation could not be proven correct completely.

(Source: Habermas theory, 2017)


  • As per the ideal speech given by Habermas, an individual needs to analyse every factor to understand better the statement given by others.
  • Various elements, which consist of the environment, should be considered by an individual to understand the knowledge better.
  • Everyone should have a right to ask questions.
  • Every person must work ethically and legally.
  • The communication should be clear and proper.
  • Everyone must have space to express their needs, desires, and attitudes without hesitation.
  • The receiver should examine the situation from every aspect and angle to analyse the validity of the collected data.
  • Every individual competent with the subject or who has full knowledge about the topic can participate in the discussion.


From the above-based report, it can be summarised that critical management study is nothing but the method of understanding theoretical concepts regarding management, businesses and firms. This is done on the grounds of critical theory perspective. So, every contemporary or modern organisation needs to use this methodology appropriately and apply it in their business. In this way, they can understand the current situation of the IT sector workers and attempt to minimise the unfairness that is being done to them. They should provide proper wages to their workforce in the case of overtime working hours. In addition to this, a specific summary of the given case study has been provided whereby the exploitation of software developers and video game designers has been explained. At the same time, various theories have been discussed in detail, such as Marx's theory and Habermas's ideal of speech.


Books and journals

Alvesson, M. and Willmott, H., 2012. Making sense of management: A critical introduction. Sage.

Cacciabue, P. C., 2013. Guide to applying human factors methods: Human error and accident management in safety-critical systems. Springer Science & Business Media.

Cardoso, L., Meireles, A. and Ferreira Peralta, C., 2012. Knowledge management and its critical factors in social economy organisations. Journal of knowledge management. 16(2). pp.267-284.

Child, J., 2012. British Management Thought (Routledge Revivals): A Critical Analysis. Routledge.

Elwood, M., 2017. Critical appraisal of epidemiological studies and clinical trials. Oxford University Press.

Foss, N. J. and Knudsen, C. eds., 2013. Towards a competence theory of the firm (Vol. 2). Routledge.

Grey, C. and et al., 2016. Critical management studies: Global voices, local accents. Routledge.

Guest, D. E., 2011. Human resource management and performance: still searching for some answers. Human resource management journal.  21(1). pp.3-13.

Kothari, U. ed., 2016. A radical history of development studies: Individuals, institutions and ideologies. Zed Books Ltd.

Lunney, M. ed., 2013. Critical thinking to achieve positive health outcomes: nursing case studies and analyses. John Wiley & Sons.

Morrison, M. L., Marcot, B. and Mannan, W., 2012. Wildlife-habitat relationships: concepts and applications. Island Press.

Morton, P. G. and et al., 2017. Critical care nursing: a holistic approach. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Myers, M. D., 2013. Qualitative research in business and management. Sage.

Urden, L. D., Stacy, K. M. and Lough, M. E., 2017. Critical Care Nursing-E-Book: Diagnosis and Management. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Vaccaro, I. G. and et. al., 2012. Management innovation and leadership: The moderating role of organisational size. Journal of Management Studies. 49(1). pp.28-51.

Wamukota, A. W., Cinner, J. E. and McClanahan, T. R., 2012. Co-management of coral reef fisheries: a critical evaluation of the literature. Marine Policy. 36(2). pp.481-488.


Habermas theory. 2017. [Online]. Available through: <>.

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