Managerial behaviour research in private and public sectors: Distinctiveness, disputes and directions

Mirko Noordegraaf*, Rosemary Stewart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A managerial behaviour approach is identified that has sought to understand managerial work by analysing the day-to-day behaviour of individual managers: what do managers do? It is argued that this approach is distinctive and that its distinctiveness is valuable and has not received adequate attention. The distinctiveness is defined by its research background, object, focus and methodology. The managerial behaviour approach has developed from research over nearly fifty years: long enough for there to have been a variety of disputes about what has, or ought to have been, achieved. The relevance of these criticisms and what later research has done to meet them is assessed. Recent research directions are identified and suggestions are made for building on the distinctiveness. It is concluded that the institutional embeddedness of managerial work should attract further scholarly attention, and that the contribution of researchers in the public sector, who come from a different disciplinary background, needs to be integrated with that of researchers from organizational behaviour as they can contribute new conceptual approaches, which could help to revivify this field of research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-443
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2000


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