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1. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Alan Bray Why Is It That Management Seems to Have No History?
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The starting point for this paper is the question that forms its title. Why is it that management seems to have no history? In making this bold claim I am not of course suggesting that historians have not written about management, as of course they have. The question I am posing is rather one about the practice ofmanagement, its received status as an amalgam of technical insights and administrative expertise perceived to stand objectively, and necessarily so, a corpus of skills analogous to those an engineer or a chemist might have: management as a transferable technology unclouded by competing values. Nor am I suggesting that the practice of management has been perceived as unproblematic. Rather, I aim to probe the degree to which its nature as an objective 'know-how' renders it as in some way anterior to ethics. It is that proposition that I am attempting to investigate here, indirectly as it were, by posing this question - a question initially about history. This question it seems to me is underlined by the assumption that the history of management is necessarily circumscribed in a way that, say, political history or the history of religion is not. Is it the story of how this expertise was acquired, the intellectual equivalent of a Brunel or a Napier, building bridges or constructing log tables? Or is it something more? Religion and politics clearly have a more problematic history than this, while management appears not to do so; and it is that question I propose to probe in this essay.
2. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Robin Downie, Jane Macnaughton Must Business Judgements Be Self-Interested?
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Judgement is traditionally seen as applicable in two spheres of human endeavour: the theoretical (or the sphere in which we consider both what must be the case and what is likely to be the case) and the practical (or the sphere in which we consider what we ought to do, either because it is in our interests or becausemorality requires it). Now insofar as we are speaking of 'judgement' two conceptual assumptions are being made. Firstly, we are assuming that there are imponderables and complexity, and secondly, despite the imponderables and complexity, that there is still room for the exercise of reason. Granted this view ofjudgement we can state our two main theses. Firstly, we shall argue that, despite the pressures of market forces, employee needs, and shareholder interests, there is still room in business practice for judgements so understood. Secondly, we shall argue that these judgements need not inevitably be directed down thesingle track of the financial interests of the company and its shareholders. The second thesis can be understood as a moral thesis in either of two ways. Either it can be seen as the thesis that companies have broad social responsibilities extending well beyond the immediate interests of the company, or as the thesisthat companies share the social interests of the communities to which they belong; they are citizens writ large, to gloss Plato.
3. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Robin Attfield Meaningful Work and Full Employment
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This paper affirms the continuing importance of full employment, as the best prospect for most people of the goods of meaningful work and of self-respect, and welcomes the failure of new technology in Western societies to engender mass unemployment, despite predictions to the contrary. It also replies to criticismsfrom John White (in Education and the End of Work) of a previous paper of mine, 'Work and the Human Essence (1984). Employing a different sense of 'meaningful work related to agents major goals in life. White claims that little work is meaningful, or capable of becoming so, and that social policy shouldrecognise this and exonerate most people from expectations of employment. His argument embodies a distinctive understanding of human flourishing, and a critique of my earlier argument from the human essence. This paper defends that argument, plus a separate argument of my earlier paper from self-respect,which White apparently ignores, for meaningful work as crucial to human flourishing. Most employment, I maintain, is capable of being modified so as to become meaningful work, and since this is most peoples best prospect ofthat good, policies of full employment should not be discarded, either in the West or in the Third World.
4. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Sheelagh O'Reilly Reason as Performance: A Manager's Philosophical Diary
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This is the first in a series of 'diary reflections written, initially, from Vietnam where I work as an adviser to the Vietnam-Sweden Mountain Rural Development Programme (MRDP). This instalment will give the background to my work and highlight some of the areas I will cover in later entries. In doing so I will reflect on how my own philosophical work informs and is informed by my work on the practical management of natural resources and community development. The process will, I hope, take in issues around the practical application of philosophical thinking - mainly to the environment and development. This reflection takes place in the context of work that involves a high degree of exchange across cultures, mainly Vietnamese (Kinh and several ethnic minorities), Swedish and British.The questions and challenges raised in this instalment may (or may not) be resolved over the remaining phase of my work with MRDP during 200L In doing so I hope to provoke debate. Many of the issues raised within this programme are not unique but often occur within donor funded aid programmes in the natural resource and poverty alleviation arena. Later instalments will outline some practical matters and the theoretical issues raised by them.
5. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Nigel Laurie, Christopher Cherry Wanted: Philosophy of Management
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We attempt in this paper to define a new field of study for philosophy: philosophy of management. We briefly speculate why the interest some managers and management writers take in philosophy has been so link reciprocated and why it needs to be. Then we suggest the scope of this new branch of philosophy andhow it relates to and overlaps with other branches. We summarise some key matters philosophers of management should concern themselves with and pursue one in some detail. We conclude with an invitation.
6. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Jos Kessels Socrates Comes to Market
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Socrates op de markt, Filosofie in bedrijf was first published in the Netherlands in 1997 and reprinted in 1999. It was translated into German and published in Germany in late 2000. The book covers the need today for Socratic dialogue, its methods, its uses and related concepts. These include elenchus (the refutationof what one thought one knew); maieutics (Socratic midwifery making latent knowledge conscious); the relationship of knowledge to feeling, virtue and the formation of personality; and the distinction between three types of knowledge: scientific (episteme), professional (techne) and practical wisdom (phronesis). Ourextracts — the first in English - set out Kessels arguments for using Socratic dialogue today, his account of its unique role in organisational learning, and a case history: a dialogue with a top management team in which elenchus plays a signal part as they seek to define a policy for handling redundancies.
7. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Gregg Elliott Limits to Management: A Philosophy for Managing Land
8. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Chris Provis Why Is Trust Important?
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There is now a bewildering array of literature about trust, written from a variety of disciplinary orientations. However, much of the literature skirts around the fact that trust is closely tied to some ethical judgements. When we discuss trust and trustworthiness, our language spans the gap between fact and value, and that is sometimes forgotten when emphasis is given to the instrumental benefits of trust and trustworthiness. It is important to remember that sometimes trust is good not as a means to an end, but as something that is intrinsically important. Similarly, trustworthiness is inherently part of being a good human being, and focussing on trustworthiness as a means can impede attaining it either as an end or a means. A 'balanced scorecard' approach to evaluating organisational performance needs to take account of trust and trustworthiness as components of performance, as something of inherent value, not just as means to it. Further, in many contexts the assessments we make in coming to decisions require us to make judgements about trust and trustworthiness as a basic consideration, without coming to prior judgements about distinct factual issues. This emerges in workplace negotiation, when negotiators have to make decisions about how frank and open to be with other parties.
9. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Frits Schipper Creativity and Rationality: A Philosophical Contribution
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Nowadays creativity is fashionable. Writers on management and organisation for example, mention creativity as vital to entrepreneurship. They consider it to he as important as land, labour and capital which form the traditional factors of production And related terms such as 'genius' are in use again. An example of this is the widely read book Built to Last. Moreover, creativity and rationality are presented as alternatives. To be creative, managers are urged to put rationality aside: 'being reasonable does not win the day they are assured and 'all-progress depends on the unreasonable man. This view that rationality and creativity oppose each other is, however, unsatisfactory involving, as it does, a form of epistemological schizophrenia. One excludes the other only if we adopt a simplistic concept of rationality and an esoteric view of creativity. This article, therefore, sets out to clarify the relationship between the concepts of creativity and rationality. Three ideal-type concepts of rationality will be introduced (algorithmic, judgemental, reflective) and their tolerance of novelty discussed. Then two modes of creativity (explorative and transcendentive) are distinguished, followed by a discussion of whether rationality can enhance creativity. I conclude by reviewing some factors involved in creativity, such as tolerance for ambiguity, playfulness and attentiveness, and with a short discussion of the relationship of creativity to power.
10. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Deborah Blackman, James Connelly Learning from the Past: Collingwood and the Idea of Organisational History
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Through a consideration of the views of R. G. Collingwood on historical knowledge and conceptual change, this paper addresses organisational issues such as history, culture and memory. It then subjects the idea of learning histories to critical scrutiny. It concludes that, because of their potential to become framing mental models, they may be in danger of failing to achieve the purposes for which they are used.
11. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Yvon Pesqueux Philosophical Perspectives on the Company
12. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Sheelagh O'Reilly Reason as Performance: A Manager's Philosophical Diary - Part 2
13. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Nathan Harter Luxury, Waste, Excess and Squander: Leadership and The Accursed Share of Georges Bataille
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Part of the Renaissance genius was to look at familiar things in unfamiliar ways. Although a variety of approaches to the study of leadership are becoming familiar, it still helps to consider new ones. Of use in such moments are the works of unfamiliar writers who have spent considerable energy thinking from analien perspective. One does not have to accept their assertions uncritically in order to profit from reading them, yet it does take courage sometimes to start down a strange path.In the spirit of applying new ideas to familiar themes, this article interprets volume one of Georges Batailles The Accursed Share in the light of the phenomenon we refer to as leadership. Bataille, who was born in 1897 and died in 1962, certainly qualifies as a writer with an alien perspective. He has the potential to offend. At times, he becomes positively cryptic, as in asserting 'that the sexual act is in time what the tiger is in space.' Nonetheless, the book itself develops a plausible line of reasoning.Society, it argues, is determined by how it disposes of energy. And since energy that cannot be used will be squandered, it matters how a society chooses to do this. Bataille argues further that moments of true 'sovereignty occur when we squander what would otherwise have been useful This paper summarizes theargument of The Accursed Share and applies it to the outpourings that followers make to leaders. Rather than regard these uneven relationships as examples of utilitarian reciprocity, perhaps we can tap into the idea that attentiveness to leadership is more in the form of an offering or sacrifice to something that expresses us, as an excuse to display exuberance. This approach promises insight into issues of charisma, followership as self-denial, and mass psychology. It also pertains to the tendency of followers to turn against leaders in ritual sacrifice as meaningful superfluity.
14. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Doris Schroeder Homo Economicus on Trial: Plato, Schopenhauer and the Virtual Jury
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The concept of Homo economicus, one of the major foundations of neoclassical economics and a subset of the ideology of laisser-faire capitalism, was recently charged and tried in the island high court. Using the island's virtual jury system for the first time, the accused was tried before a jury of three - Plato, Schopenhauer and feminist economists - chosen by him while under a veil of ignorance of the charge. All three returned guilty verdicts. Plato's was prescriptive: 'One ought not to be like Homo economicus'. Schopenhauer's verdict was descriptive: Human nature is not Homo economicus'. The feminist verdict was both. Following the trial - described as a thought experiment - the island's resident philosopher put forward two claims: (a) Neoclassical economists base their theories on a deficient depiction of humankind (descriptive misconception) a claim supported by a witness expert in experimental economics; (b) The depiction holds a dominant but unjustified position in various discourses such as welfare state debates because it is promoted by a small but highly influential group of economically privileged, university-educated whites, namely graduates of economics, a claim supported by the sociology expert witness.
15. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Michael Fielding Learning Organisation or Learning Community?
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This paper takes a close look at a central aspect of the work of Peter Senge, namely his advocacy of the learning organisation and the 'Communities of Commitment' that he suggests are its central dynamic. Echoing strands of the liberal-communitarian debate. Senge argues for 'the primacy of the whole and 'thecommunity nature of the self as two of the three Galilean shifts which have the potential to enable business to accomplish fundamental changes in our ways of thinking and being which have thus far eluded other agencies of social and political transformation. My concern is that Senge is not at all clear about the relationship between organisation and community, or, indeed, what community actually is. Arguing that his account is disappointingly partial and damagingly flawed, I then suggest a number of sites for future philosophical work for those who wish to develop an emancipatory notion of community. I end by advocating the work of John Macmurray as a major source of philosophical insight and human wisdom, both with regard to community and the development of a person-centred philosophy of work. A second paper will explore some of this ideas on these matters more fully.
16. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Jim Platts Knowledge in Action: A response to Jos Kessels 'Socrates Comes to Market'
17. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Robin Attfield To Do No Harm? The Precautionary Principle and Moral Values
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From over 2000 years ago the ideal expressed in the Hippocratic Oath has encouraged doctors never knowingly to do harm: primum non nocere. Over 25 years ago the management writer Peter Drucker proposed it as the basis of a management ethic, ‘the right rule for the ethics managers need, the ethics of responsibility’. He argued then that the rule had wide scope encompassing for instance executive compensation, management rhetoric and the management of business impacts. In 2000 the United Nations Global Compact embodied a Principle 7 enjoining ‘a precautionary approach to environmental challenges’ as defined in Principle 15 of the 1992 Rio Declaration. But what can such precautionary injunctions mean in practice? And what of conflicts with other values? Robin Attfield lays out the key questions he argues need to be asked about the Precautionary Principle if it is to be taken seriously and acted upon soundly. His focus is on the management of vulnerable resources - specifically planetary ecosystems - with whose management knowingly or otherwise we are all concerned.
18. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Jeremy Moon Business Social Responsibility: A Source of Social Capital?
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The widespread association of business with maximising profit has tended to obscure its social dimension. Indeed some writers doubt whether business can ever be socially engaged and others claim that it should not. This paper seeks to show that besides seeking profit businesses can properly practise socialresponsibility, defined as involving themselves in their communities and engaging in non-profit activities. It explores the ways in which business social responsibility can contribute to social capital, the resources created by social bonds which members of a society can draw upon and which make it possible to achieve otherwise unattainable ends.
19. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Richard McKenna, Eva E. Tsahuridu Must Managers Leave Ethics at Home? Economics and Moral Anomie in Business Organisations
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Why is it that some business managers appear to behave differently in private and at work? How, if at all, are the decisions managers make affected by the nature of their organisations? What impact do organisational values have on the moral autonomy of managers? A research project into these questions is now under way in three disparate Australian business firms and this paper sets out the premise underlying it. For purposes of research the general premise is that the moral character of a business influences the moral judgements and actions of its members. More specifically, it is suggested that the economic paradigm renders a business organisation amoral rather than moral or immoral, and as a result moral responsibility comes to be assigned to individual members. However, the socio-cultural nature of such firms interferes with the ability of managers to exercise moral autonomy. Governed as it is by the market or laws of economics, the amoral organisation is likely to transform its members into individuals without moral standards.
20. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Hans Bolten Managers Develop Moral Accountability: The Impact of Socratic Dialogue
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How can organisations ‘manage for integrity’? Two differing approaches have been called the compliance strategy and the integrity strategy. While the first seeks to instil compliance with externally imposed standards, the integrity strategy seeks to teach ethical decision-making and values as well, so that ‘ethicalthinking and awareness...[are]...part of every manager’s mental equipment’. In this paper the Dutch consultant philosopher Hans Bolten reports on how Socratic dialogue has helped managers develop ethical capacities and responsibility. Drawing on research with dialogue members he concludes that organisationsthat care about ethics cannot rely on abstract moral codes and rules. He argues that they need Socratic dialogue as an instrument if their managers are to shape moral guidelines they both agree upon and can apply in practice. And he shows how dialogue can foster in managers the readiness to give an account of their actions, a readiness implicit in the idea of moral action itself. Thus Socratic dialogue can help create a culture in which morally accountable action is the rule, not the exception, and in which the responsibility to give an account of one’s actions has its rightful place.