Grandiosity in contemporary management and education

Mats Alvesson, Yiannis Gabriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (SciVal)


Contemporary practitioner and academic discourses of organizations and management have developed a tendency to discuss everyday organizational phenomena in overblown and remarkable ways. It is now commonplace to view organizations in terms of visions, missions, strategies, charisma, entrepreneurship, best practice and so on. A hyped-up language is becoming endemic to ordinary discussions of ordinary organizations doing ordinary things. This calls for some critical attention. One way of capturing this tendency to hype is through the idea of grandiosity that is taking over the ways mundane organizational phenomena are constructed and debated. In this essay, we argue that grandiosity is the product of the narcissism of our times, reinforced by contemporary consumerism; we suggest that grandiosity not only affects adversely critical reflection of organizations and management, but more importantly that it undermines organizational performance and learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-473
Number of pages10
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Grandiosity
  • management
  • organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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