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Philosophy of Management

Volume 4, Issue 2, 2004
Professionalism, Passion and Doubt

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1. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Editorial: Professionalism, Passion and Doubt
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2. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Bob Brecher Against Professional Ethics
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I argue that the current popularity of 'ethics' in general, and the extension of 'professional ethics in particular, masks an increasingly unethical culture. Furthermore, attempts to codify ethics encourage a rule-governed approach, thus misunderstanding the nature of ethical practice and - whether or not inadvertently - serving to protect the professions from ethical considerations rather than the opposite.
3. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Alexander Styhre Thinking Driven by Doubt and Passion: Kierkegaard and Reflexivity in Organisation Studies
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Organisation studies based on qualitative methodologies continually seek legitimacy in relation to positivist research formulating nomological knowledge on administrative practices. One of the key features regularly praised in qualitative research is the idea of reflexivity, the ability of the qualitative researcher to critically examine his or her own analysis. This paper argues that the notion of reflexivity is an uncontested area of qualitative organisation research which merits critical study. In contrast to the reflexivity model which assumes an autopoietic double hermeneutic of the examined empirical material, it draws on Kierkegaard's notion of subjective thinking. For Kierkegaard it is not reflexivity that serves as the primus motor for subjective thinking but doubt, paradox and passion. A critique of the notion of reflexivity opens up alternative accounts of qualitative research which need not assume self correcting and self directed analysis.
4. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Derek M. Eriksson Making a Useful 'Model' for Managers: A Projective Constructivist Account
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Models and modelling are central not only to management but to all human affairs. Models provide grounds for decision making and action-taking. This paper investigates the concept of model', showing that the conventional notion of a model as understood in management science, a notion founded on positivism and realism, is insufficient for the complex practical needs of management models. To remedy this situation, an alternative notion founded on Projective Constructivist Epistemology (PCE) is proposed. Some of the implications of the new notion for modelling practice and model validation are also discussed. The new notion results from theoretical investigations and empirical experience gleaned over the last five years in public-sector, military and business contexts. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of areas that might merit investigation in the future.
5. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Michael Loughlin Management, Science and Reality: A Commentary on 'Practically Useless? Why Management Theory Needs Popper'
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Moss is right to state that management theory needs to address its epistemological foundations by considering questions in epistemology and the philosophy of science. Whether management theory needs Popper is a more tricky question. It is not clear that all theories should be falsifiable in Poppers terms. His proposed methodology for social scientific research is inherently conservative and threatens to inhibit intellectual and social progress. But Poppers philosophical realism and rationalism need to be preserved. Coherentism and associated forms of anti-rationalism (including postmodernism and relativism) threaten to provide a rationale for the worst excesses of management theory. Indeed, the poverty of contemporary management theory is a symptom of a broader intellectual malaise: debate is increasingly characterised by the exchange of persuasive rhetoric, making it difficult to hold those in positions ofpower accountable for rationally justifying the positions they espouse.
6. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Sheelagh O'Reilly Global Management Integrity - A Missing Link in the Development Industry? A Manager's Philosophical Diary-Part 6
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'Take care of the means and the ends will take care of themselves'By the time you are reading this instalment I will have been in my new position as Team Leader for a Community Conservation Project for more than one year. Why I left my previous position will perhaps become clear in this instalment. I may be unsuited to working in institutions that in theory value knowledge and analysis, but in practice become increasingly uncomfortable when the critical analysis is turned inwards. I find I am not alone; witness the prominent case of the response of the World Bank to criticisms from their own former Chief Economist, the Nobel Economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz. His criticism of the International Financial Institutions after years of working with them could not be dismissed as the work of an uninformed outsider and were therefore treated with the disdain due to some one who had 'jumped ship'.
7. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Tim LeBon, David Arnaud Progress Towards Wise Decision Making
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The management literature is not short of tools for helping people to make wiser decisions. This paper outlines another tool so it must be asked how can it justify itself given the substantial work that is already done. We suggest that many tools either fail to properly integrate, or simply lack an analysis of (i) showinghow emotions help or hinder solving the problem, (ii) the role of creative and critical thinking and (Hi), working out what values are at issue in the problem. These three categories can be integrated into a decision-making procedure through an analysis of the stages of decision making While the emphasis that is laid on these stages will differ depending upon the problem, we suggest that wise decision making requires (i) gaining an adequate understanding of the situation, (ii) working out what matters, (Hi) generating options, (iv) selecting an option on the basis of what matters and (v) carrying out the option. As practical philosophers we must ask how each of these stages can be adequately carried out, and here we seek to show how philosophy, and other disciplines, can help for the three areas we identify above as lacunae. In looking at the role of emotions we base our analysis on the Aristotelian and Stoic notion that the core of emotions is that they are judgements. This analysis allows us to make sense of both the rationalist view that emotions are a hindrance, and the romantic notion that emotions are a help. Wise decision making involves unpacking emotions to see what they can reliably tell us about the situation, our values, potential options and how they can motivate us. We suggest ways this task can be achieved. Critical thinking needs to be employed throughout the decision-making procedure so that we fairly andadequately understand the situation and assess potential values and options. We outline some key skills and interventions that can be employed. Critical thinking needs material to work on so we suggest how creative thinking can be used to reframe the situation, and generate potential values and options. The driving force of making a decision is, or at least should be, the values we wish to realise with our decision; what we think matters. Some decisions are purely prudential and here we draw upon ideas of Nozick, Griffin, Aristotle and Epicurus to suggest ways the decision maker can evaluate their prudential values. For ethical decisions ideas from Mill, Kant and others can help us think through what we wish to achieve. We end with a case study to illustrate how the procedure works in practice.
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8. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Marja-Liisa Kakkuri-Knuuttila, Edward Kingsley Trezise A Workshop that Worked
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