Philosophy of Management

Volume 11, Issue 2, 2012

Representations and Representing

Hugh Bowden
Pages 29-48

The Ethics of Management
a Stoic Perspective

The purpose of this article is to explore the notion that certain aspects of Stoic thinking can give useful insights into some salient issues in current management theories. The Stoics, as represented in this paper chiefly by Epictetus, concerned themselves with: management of self, management processes and information. The main focus is on ethics – how the individual and the organisation ought to behave. Pierre Hadot, in ‘Philosophy as a Way of Life’ notes ‘a degree of resonance between Stoic prescriptions and recent theories of leadership and governance’. This article attempts to explain the resonance by identifying a convergence between some management theories and certain aspects of Stoic thought. Certain key terms of Stoicism can find direct correlates in modern managerial terminology. It is suggested that the convergence can occur in terms of the topic – the reference point or issue, the reference group of thinkers concerned with the issues and the cultural and social context.