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Philosophy of Management

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2009
Green Shoots and Perennials

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Displaying: 1-7 of 7 documents


1. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Editorial: Green Shoots and Perennials
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2. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Lindsay Dawson Stockholders Versus Stakeholders: Implications for Business Ethics
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This paper analyses the arguments for two competing ethical models of business. On the one hand there are theorists like Milton Friedman who claim that the sole social responsibility of business leaders is to maximise stockholder profits. On the other, there are those who argue that a business has ethical responsibilities to many stakeholders: employees, stockholders, retailers, customers, and so on.I argue that a business has ethical responsibility over those functions and purposes over which it has the most autonomous control. The production and selling of products and services for customers is the primary purpose of a business. The generation of profit is a contingent purpose dependent on the exchange between the business and the customer. I define excellent functioning businesses as those that synergise the purposes of stakeholders to provide products and services with ethical outcomes. When ethical considerations and business interests between stakeholders conflict, the responsibility of a business to its customers has primacy over those related to business input stakeholders such as employees, stockholders and suppliers.
3. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Jeff Waistell Organising Values
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This is the second in a series of two papers by the same author on organisational values. The first paper, in the previous issue of Philosophy of Management,1 showed how senior managers interpret texts to constitute organisational values. The research showed that organisational values are constituted through three hermeneutic circles – fragmentation/integration, conceptuality/contextuality and temporality – that provide an integrated medium for interpreting values. The three hermeneutic circles are mediated by a fourth: the tropological circle, where metaphor and homonymy fuse horizons, and synecdoche and metonymy relate parts and whole. Both texts and tropes mediate the transvaluation of organisational values across time. The first paper reported the findings and built a theoretical framework, while this second paper builds on the theoretical and empirical work to consider the implications for management practice.
4. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Miriam Green Analysis of a Text and its Representations: Univocal Truth or a Situation of Undecidability?
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This paper is concerned with the representation in academic journal articles and textbooks of an organisation theory. In the case of Burns’ and Stalker’s book The Management of Innovation (1961,1966), summaries of the text by other scholars have arguably differed from the original authors and among themselves in their emphases. Similar points have been made about representations of other theorists such as Kurt Lewin and, perhaps most famously, Adam Smith. They all raise issues about the meanings of texts and where such meanings lie: with the author, the reader, the text itself or perhaps some combination of these. They also raise questions about whether texts can be shown to have definitive meanings; and if not, whether there are any criteria for adjudicating on the validity of varied interpretations.Representations by textbook writers are analysed and questions about the meaning of texts raised by ‘structuralist’ and ‘deconstructionist’ writers examined. Their writings beg certain questions about textual representations. Perhaps the most extreme of these views is Barthes’ concept of the ‘death of the author’. Like Barthes, Derrida argues, for the reasons mentioned above, that there is no underlying, final decipherable meaning in a text, but gives more credence to the role of the author, accepting the validity of the author’s consciousness and intentions as one of the sources of meaning in texts. There are also other sources: the situatedness and historical context of the text and the text itself.Derrida’s concept of ‘différance’ requires the reader to engage in an analysis of the text which offers limitless possibilities for interpretation and a renunciation of the certainty of truth, because the meaning of a text may extend beyond the limits of our knowledge at any one time. His notion of the ‘logic of supplementarity’ is a further means to analyse texts, as it also disprivileges obvious or overt meanings in texts by overturning hierarchy in oppositions and questioning univocal definitions of meaning.Questions inspired by these and other writers give rise to an exploration of who is speaking in the text; which subject matter is represented as central and which as marginal; binary oppositions within the text and intertextual connections. The paper then begins the more ambitious task of answering the broader question as to whether it can be shown that there are more and less ‘representative’ or ‘stronger’ interpretations of a text.
5. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Stephen Sheard Continental Philosophy and Organisational Studies: A Critique of Aspects of Postmodern thought in OS
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In this paper I debate a range of unnoticed presuppositions which are used by a selection of influential thinkers in organisation studies to adapt a theory of the irreal to the social realm. I first examine a selection of ‘Postmodern’ authors and focus on the ‘Process Metaphysics’ theories (especially those influenced by Bergson) present in excerpts of contemporary OS ‘Postmodernism’. I argue that ‘Process-Metaphysics’ is the theoretical movement which underpins these aspects of Postmodernism in organisation studies. This is evinced in the writings of Chia, and Cooper which adopt a dualist view of language deployment and link this with both an anti-rationalist and anti-individualist perspective. I also examine this Postmodern thesis of Process Metaphysics in relation to its adoption of the device of the Identity Metaphor, which fastens its theories to the ‘real.’
6. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Andy Adcroft, Spinder Dhaliwal Disconnections in Management Theory and Practice: Poetry, Numbers and Postmodernism
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This essay is concerned with what Abbinnett1 described as fundamental to the discourses of social science: truth and its construction. The central problem around which the narrative is built is a growing disconnection in one area of social science, management research, between how truth is frequently defined and used and the approaches taken to constructing that truth. The result of this is an intellectual impurity whereby management research occupies an incoherent intellectual space somewhere between modernism and postmodernism. Our argument is that, for a host of probable reasons, management research in many areas is dominated by the search for rational and scientific truth through the use of quantitative methodologies underpinned by a positivist philosophy. The resultof this is frequently truth diluted rather than truth distilled. The essay discusses different routes to establishing a type of truth, the location of management research within a modern-postmodern continuum and the implications of this for management researchers. We begin, however, with a brief discussion of the nature of truth in social science.
7. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Katalin Illes Defining Trust as Action: An Example from Hungary
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The paper begins with the account of a focus group discussion of Hungarian female managers who demonstrated high level of trust. Drawing on the discussion the author explores the nature of trust and looks at works and research findings in different disciplines. In psychology Erikson’s findings on human growth and development are discussed. Representatives of Eastern and Western philosophy are quoted to highlight the underlying differences of thinking in relation to trust. The impact of cultural heritage and the influence of the environment on trust add further dimensions to the argument. In conclusion it is suggested that management education could be a platform for further research and exploration of trust in individuals and organisations.