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Philosophy of Management

Volume 2, Issue 3, 2002
Knowing How to Manage

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1. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Editorial: Knowing How to Manage
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2. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Michael Luntley Knowing How to Manage: Expertise and Embedded Knowledge
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The expertise of managers, as with other professionals, consists in what they know and their particular knowledge base is knowledge that is embedded in practice. In spite of what some practice assumes, management expertise is situated, experiential and cannot be codified. We lack, however, a clear philosophical model of what it means to say of knowledge that it is embedded in practice. This paper seeks to address this need, presents a theory of expertise and explores a key element of the theory concerning the role of judgement in perception. The theory articulates a number of key concepts and gives explanatory power to talk of situated knowledge. It also provides sufficient theoretical structure to bear upon practical policy issues such as how to teach, develop and assess expertise and how to deploy knowledge in setting management goals.
3. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Juan Luis Martinez Doing Justice to Solidarity: How NGOs Should Communicate
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Much NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) fund-raising and publicity concern disasters, emergencies and the immediate relief of suffering. Donations and support may follow but they are prompted all too often by a superficially informed compassion or guilt with donors having little understanding of the results of their action. For all their impact, such campaigns can amount to demagogic sentimentalism leading to ‘compassion fatigue’ and lack of sustained support once media attention moves elsewhere. They thus undermine the unique mission of NGOs themselves. This paper urges a different and more strategic approach to communication by NGOs, one which takes account of their unique status and their mission to promote solidarity. It argues that as well as solving problems of underdevelopment, NGOs need to remain independent and to shape public opinion if they are to flourish. And for this they need stable funding from informeddonors giving in a spirit of solidarity to support development carried out explicitly in the name of human solidarity. The paper sets out guidelines for NGOs to communicate in ways likely to gain the support of such donors. And it describes the la Florida project in Columbia as an example of how the beneficiary can - in the spirit of solidarity - be brought to the centre of NGO action and communication.
4. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Duncan Pritchard Are Economic Decisions Rational? Path Dependence, Lock-In and ‘Hinge’ Propositions
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According to neo-classical economic theory, free markets should eventually settle at the most efficient equilibrium. Critics of the view have claimed, however, that even if the idealised conditions demanded by the theory were met (such that the markets in question were completely fee) one would still not find those markets settling at the optimally efficient equilibrium because of the path dependent' nature of economic decision-making. Essentially, the claim is that economic decision-making is always informed by the historical setting in such a way as to prevent those decisions from generally tending towards an optimally efficientequilibrium.It is argued that this debate has been hampered by the fact that the usual three-tiered way of understanding path dependence offered by Stan Liebowitz and Stephen Margolis fails to capture what proponents of the view have in mind. By examining the way in which the notion of path dependence is often described interms borrowed from the philosophy of science, this paper contends that we can gain a more accurate understanding of this notion by recasting it in the light of the Wittgensteinian conception of a 'hinge' proposition. This new account has the advantage of being clearer about the kind of empirical data that is relevant to the issue of whether path dependence is a genuine and economically significant phenomenon. Furthermore, it is argued that this modified account of path dependence may be able to resist some of the key objections that have been levelled against this notion.
5. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Sheelagh O'Reilly Reason as Performance: A Manager's Philosophical Diary - Part 4
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6. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
John Dixon, Rhys Dogan Towards Constructive Corporate Governance: From 'Certainties' to a Plurality Principle
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This paper explores corporate governance failure by drawing upon contemporary perspectives in the philosophy of the social sciences to identify four contending perceptions of corporate governance. Each posits a set of corporate governance 'certainties that derive from incompatible contentions about what is knowable and can exist in the social world in which corporations conduct their affairs. The broad conclusion drawn is that corporate governance processes must be seen as environments where failures of governance lead to one of two possible outcomes. Either trench warfare takes place between the corporate governors and those they seek to govern and with whom they disagreey resulting inevitably in victory of one over the other; or competing governance interests and desires are confronted and integrated. The latter requires tolerance on the part of both corporate governors and the gov ernedy and a willingness to settle competing governance truth-claims with consistency and without self deception and self-delusion.
7. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Paul Dearey Systems Thinking: A Philosophy of Management
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This article presents an overview of systems thinking from the mid-20th Century to the present. Systems thinking is presented as an interdisciplinary approach to managing complexity in organisations. It is characterised as holistic, dialogical and pluralistic. The philosophical interpretation of the practice of systemicintervention is increasingly important to understanding the reflexive and ethical nature of this approach to management. The article assesses the prospects of systems thinking becoming a mature philosophy of management by focusing on the quality of relationships that it facilitates. A number of outstanding philosophical questions requiring further research are identified in conclusion.