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Philosophy of Management

Volume 5, Issue 3, 2005
Business, Legitimacy and Community

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Displaying: 1-15 of 15 documents

1. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Christopher Cherry Editorial: Business, Legitimacy and Community
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2. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
George C. Lodge The Legitimacy of Business
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As the world moves into the 21st century, business managers face new and daunting challenges to their legitimacy. Those who run the world’s 72,0000 multinational firms and their 828,000 subsidiaries face special difficulties.These firms constitute a global economy that has produced much that is useful, including wondrous technologies and great wealth for many. Nevertheless, one in five of the world’s six billion people lives in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1 a day. Half the world lives on less than $2. In spite of roughly $1 trillion that has been spent to fight poverty around the globe in the last 50 years and vastly increased trade and investment, most people in Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia are poorer today than they were ten years ago, and most Africans were better off 40 years ago.2 Environmental degradation increases, as do disease and violations of human rights.Unreasonable as it may be to blame business for the world’s ills, the blame sticks, because the ills – like multinationals – transcend national boundaries and are in many ways beyond the power of existing governments to affect. And global government has yet to evolve. Furthermore, the governments of many countries lack either the will or the ability to reduce poverty within their jurisdictions, meaning that if MNCs do not do it, it won’t be done.In addition to the undesirable costs of the globalisation they have helped to create, managers are concerned also with the greed, crime and scandal in their own ranks. So it is appropriate to help them inspect the assumptions that have been used to justify their power and authority, and to consider whether those assumptions need renovation. This I shall do in Part I of this essay. In Part II I shall seek a historical perspective, because in many ways the criticism of business and globalisation today echoes the debate in the 1930s about which economic system was best, communism, socialism or capitalism. Capitalism, we suppose, has won, but if so, what is it? Is it the same everywhere – in China, Japan, Europe, Mexico, the United States, and elsewhere? If not, is the very word not misleading?
3. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Steven Gimbel Can Corporations Be Morally Responsible? Aristotle, Stakeholders and the Non-Sale of Hershey
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Stakeholder theory is a significant development in the drive to provide a foundation for intuitions concerning the moral responsibility connected to corporate decision making. The move to include the interests of workers, consumers, the communities and biological environment in which the corporations instantiations are located run counter to the view in which shareholders’ interests are paramount. The non-sale of the Hershey Foods company to Wrigley was the ultimate result of a massive call by stakeholders to put other interests before shareholder financial stakes, yet the discussion was notably not held in terms of stakeholder theory. Rather, the discussion was explicitly Aristotelian with opponents of the view arguing that the sale was improper because it ran counter to the essence or telos of the organisation. This case is no doubt unusual in that the founding documents of the organisation were appealed to in order to justify the claim that the essence of the corporation was to do more than enrich the shareholders. This paper intends to examine whether, in spite of this anomaly, the Hershey case hasanything general to say about the foundations of corporate responsibility.
4. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Christopher Bennett, Michael Bennett, Stephen Bennett Communities at Work? The Concept of ‘Community’ in Organisational Analysis
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In this paper we assess the adequacy of the idea of community as an ideal-typical model against which real organisations and their management might be critically evaluated. Alasdair MacIntyre’s work on practices suggests that some forms of work activity require something more than contractual relationships withinorganisations: if he is right then perhaps we should acknowledge the importance of some notion of community at work. However, among the criticisms of the community approach are that it ignores issues of power and the inevitable existence in organisations of interest groups based on different values and pursuing different objectives. It can also be seen as ineluctably managerialist and hence incapable of producing a coherent and sustainable account of organisational life. Is ‘community’ just a strategy of social, political or organisational control? Does it assume a particular discourse of political subjectivity, to do with the nature of subjects who exist in communities? We assess the extent to which the idea of community at work is fatally damaged by these objections.
5. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
John K. Alexander Metaphors, Moral Imagination and the Healthy Business Organisation: A Manager’s Perspective
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In this paper I outline an approach to managerial decision making that incorporates the important role that metaphors and moral imagination play in our moral reasoning coupled with an organisational moral concept I call the Health of the Organisation. I have used this concept in my managerial (and philosophical) career to interpret and evaluate potential, and actual, courses of action. I have concluded that this concept fits in nicely with Mark Johnson’s analysis of the metaphor of morality is health, which he argues is one of the central moral metaphors in the conceptual framework that we use to interpret and evaluate actions from a reasonable moral point of view. He argues that metaphors are the essential components in defining the rational mental framework utilised in interpreting, evaluating, predicting likely outcomes from various alternatives, and choosing morally acceptable courses of action. I argue that the metaphor morality is health explicated as the Health of the Organisation can serve as an antidote to the unimaginative moral decision making processes that Patricia Werhane has shown can result in bad moral decisions. I do this by demonstrating that a healthy organisation is one that is optimally functional. This means that the components that make up the organisation are so structured that there is no better possible organisational arrangement available for achieving the goals designed to ensuresuccessful performance in the marketplace.
6. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Eva E. Tsahuridu Do Managers Leave Ethics at Home? Influences on Ethical Decisions in Organisations and their Implications for Moral Autonomy
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A previous paper in this Journal, ‘Must Managers Leave Ethics at Home? Economics and Moral Anomie in Organisational Decisions’ explored the scope for moral decision making in organisations and developed the concept of moral anomie, the absence of moral awareness and judgement in organisational decisions. We suggested that the industrial economy developed within a framework of neoclassical economics and scientific enquiry to the exclusion of ethics. This paper reports on a subsequent exploratory research project in three disparate Australian organisations. It sought to establish whether individuals acting in and for organisations find themselves able to exercise moral autonomy in making organisational decisions or are likely to make morally heteronomous or anomous decisions.
7. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Paul Griseri The Ideal of Professionalism: A Discussion of Bob Brecher’s ‘Against Professional Ethics’
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Bob Brecher raises a critique of professional ethics on the basis that it is less concerned with the protection of the public and is more a legalistic device that protects professionals from being accountable, often by defining certain issues out of court. His argument is criticised on the basis that it focuses upon the existing professions, and does not address the general idea of professionalism. This paper presents professionalism as being based in the idea of a job well done, which in turn has to be understood in the context of the long-range needs of the full person, not in narrowly defined task terms. Supplementary arguments of Brecher, such as the primacy of morality, and his adaptation of Kant’s third formulation of the categorical imperative, are also commented upon and critiqued.
8. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Bob Brecher Morality, Professions and Ideals: A Response to Paul Griseri
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Paul Griseri’s generous response to my ‘Against Professional Ethics’ offers an interesting point of view and there is much on which we agree. But we continue to differ about the nature of the primacy of morality, the possibility of a ‘general idea of professionalism’ and - perhaps - about Kant’s Categorical Imperative.
9. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Muayyad Jabri Narrative Identity Achieved Through Utterances: The Implications of Bakhtin for Managing Change and Learning
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Ricoeur’s work on narrative has been instrumental in moving the conception of identity from the rational mind (Cartesian) to a text of narratives of meanings, desires, and aspirations. But his effort to question the Cartesian certainty came at a price, namely an excessive emphasis on personhood. This paper explicates the relevance of Bakhtin’s notion of dialogue for management by arguing for a critical examination of Ricoeur’s centripetal superiority of narrative order in favour of centrifugal encounters based on a Bakhtinian (dialogical) tension, one between an active addressor and an active addressee, rather than an active reciter and a passive listener. Adopting Bakhtin’s ideas has clear implications for the management of change and development of learning organisations.
10. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Stephen Sheard Managers and the Heavenly City: How E-Commerce Metaphors Shape Management Thought
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This paper draws a correlation between the experience of consumerism portrayed in the critique of Alexander and Baudrillard and in the theory of plenitude derived from Renaissance literature. It draws parallels between features of the modern and antique sensibilities. It suggests that the e-commerce practitioner manipulates a modern economy informed by a cosmology which depicts imagery capable of interpretation in terms of conceptions derived from archaic themes. These are drawn from the High Renaissance and relate to Neoplatonism which is in turn linked to Renaissance occult philosophy. Ecommerce metaphors display these aspects; and thereby both hook into, and valorise – rendering liminal - the experiential dimension of the consumer, and its incipient tensions between desire anticipated and that achieved. The article suggests how the populist magic of consumerism is not only facilitated by e-commerce but how that magic arose at a pre-modern, intellectualist level.From a philosophical perspective, readers will note the inter-relationship of earlier bodies of thought to contemporary management theories of e-commerce. Academics or practitioners interested in e-commerce or e-business are offered a fresh and radical interpretative perspective on these areas, which expresses a novel role for metaphor in terms of linking features of pre-modern and modern conceptions of reality, aslant the subjective absorption of figurative images of a textual derivation.
11. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Deborah Blackman, James Connelly, Steven Henderson Beyond All Reasonable Doubt? Epistemological Problems of the Learning Organisation
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The extensive literature on the Learning Organisation proposes that a competitive advantage can be achieved through the systematised generation and application of knowledge. Consequently, much of the debate concerns the processes, routines and organisational features that a firm should adopt to learn more,and faster, than its competitors. Less attention is given to understanding the nature of the knowledge that is created by these Learning Organisations.We hold that the topic is more important than its current weight in the literature because the performance claims of the models proposed critically depend upon the newly acquired knowledge replacing ignorance or knowledge with less utility. In this paper we explore the nature of knowledge that Learning Organisationtheory seeks to create by articulating implicit epistemological assumptions found within the literature. We show that the capacities of each epistemology to help an organisation reject falsehood and make greater use of its knowledge are critically undermined by these very routines.The paper concludes by highlighting the importance of a sceptical epistemology and outlines a process that would strengthen doubting behaviour.
12. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Willard F. Enteman The Modernization Imperative
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13. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Robin Attfield An Introduction to Global Citizenship
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14. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Leonard Minkes Ethics and Organisational Politics
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15. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Matt Statler The Art Firm: Aesthetic Management and Metaphysical Marketing
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