Business process re‐engineering (BPR) was a leading form of organizational restructuring from the late 1980s until the late 1990s. This paper seeks to contextualize its development and account for its particularly bellicose language by reflecting on its historical antecedents in the west and its contemporary competitors in the east. We suggest that one way of reading BPR is as a form of ‘inverse colonization’ in which US managerial discourse both assimilated and revolted against the growing domination of Japanese thinking and practice. We conclude with some speculative comments on related causes of the rise of violent managerial rhetoric.
Journal of Management Studies – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1998
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