Philosophy of Management

Volume 13, Issue 1, 2014

Care, Mufti, and the Instrumental Turn

Michela Betta, Robert Jones, James Latham
Pages 5-20

Being and Care in Organisation and Management – A Heideggerian Interpretation of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008

We propose to understand the global financial crisis of 2008 as an historical event marked by public decisions, economic evaluations and ratings, and business practices driven by a sense of subjugation to powerful others, uncritical conformity to serendipitous rules, and a levelling down of all meaningful differences. The crisis has also revealed two important things: that the free-market economy has inherent problems highlighting the limits of (financial) business, and, consequently, that the business organisation is not as strong as is usually assumed. We reconstruct some of the most dramatic events of that time by using the narratives of two former Lehman Brothers insiders. We then provide an interpretation of that world by using Heidegger’s notions of being and care. Our investigation uncovers persistent inauthentic relationships nourished by the public structure of the financial market, which, drawing on Heidegger, we call the they. In the financial market the what of the world becomes more important than authentic being and self. But a hitch-free switch to authenticity becomes possible through anxiety and the call of conscience.