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Philosophy of Management

Volume 10
Wisdom and the Good Life

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Displaying: 1-20 of 21 documents


1. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Frits Schipper Editorial: The Philosopher’s Stone? About Knowledge and Leadership
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2. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Rhett Gayle After the Republic
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This article discusses views of leadership in the light of the financial crisis. Giving attention to views such as Plato and modern technocratic views, the paper is structured around a discussion of a specific organisation; Manchester: Knowledge Capital (M:KC), an organisation that seems to me to exemplify in practice the ideas about leadership that I am proposing as being a valuable way forward.
3. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Søren R. Frimodt-Møller The Musical Workplace: a Music Philosopher’s Approach to the Role of Individual Decision-Making in Group Coordination
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The music ensemble has often been used as an analogy of organisation processes in general. Many versions of this analogy presuppose a specific organisation structure in the ensemble with clearly defined leader-follower relationships from which we can learn important points about successful leadership. This paper wishes to draw attention to the wide variety of organisation processes that may occur in a music ensemble, some of which are not dependent on leadership. Through the outlines of a logical analysis of a coordination problem, it is argued that the music performance is in fact exemplary of a situation in which individual dedication to a goal promotes coordination in the entire group.
4. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
David Ardagh A Quasi-Personal Alternative to Some Anglo-American Pluralist Models of Organisations: Towards an Analysis of Corporate Self-Governance for Virtuous Organisations
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An organisation which operates without a ‘self-concept’ of its goals, authorised roles, governance procedures regarding sharing information, decisional powers and procedures, and distribution of benefits, or without continuous audit of its impact on its end-users, other players in the practice, and the state, does so at some ethical risk.This paper argues that a quasi-personal model of the collective ethical agency of organisations and states is helpful in suggesting some of these key areas which are liable to need careful organisational design and control by leadership groups if the organisation as a whole entity (directors, operators, enablers) steered by the board/CEO as ‘mind/will,’ is to identify its stakeholders – internal and external – and treat them well. Such a quasi-personal model is outlined (QPM) in which six suggested areas should be covered by the leadership group in ethical governance: goals, roles, decision procedures, execution/verification, relations with endusers and other players in the practice, and relations with the community and the state. The ethical conception presupposed is Neo-Aristotelian Virtue Ethics (NAVE).In subsequent papers the many advantages of QPM/NAVE which will be claimed are these: it comes with an analysis of justice which straddles individuals, families, communities, markets, and states; it offers a more coherent normative account of ‘stakeholder’ and the internal /external stakeholder distinction, by differentiating their descriptive, ethical, and causal relations to the firm as collective agent; and it suggests that business practice and business corporations are partly creatures of the state, and merely one kind of evolving and changeable institution, in a practice with a specific socio-political permit, (not the source of ethics, politics, and social policy).
5. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Bradley Rolfe Reflect or Defend? Project Management as an Existential Response to Organisational Crisis
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Utilising Richard Rorty’s criticism of epistemology, this paper will demonstrate the manner in which traditional project management attempts to apply a reductive and limited range of quasi-scientific techniques to problems that continually defy such reduction. The argument will be made that project management is better considered as an existential response to organisational crisis rather than the systemic application of principles to achieve pre-determined objectives. Within the range of an existential response, two kinds of response are proposed: the reflective or defensive (Segal 1999). Rorty’s edifying hermeneutic is offered as an example of a reflective response to organisational crisis and argues that the notion of the interpretation of competing language games better serves project management practice than the application of one over-arching meta-narrative as embodied in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 2000).
6. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Mika Aaltonen Time-space Contexts, Knowledge and Management
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Our lives take place within specific time-space contexts, and in everyday life these contexts are taken as self-evident. Simultaneously, we have accepted the classical idea of fixed, permanent and acontextual truths. This paper argues that people use and are aware of various time-space contexts, and have implicitly created knowledge and approaches that work within them. The paper further argues that explicit consideration of time-space contexts should influence thetools, techniques and methods we use when making sense of each situation, and determining the management interventions we make.
7. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Stephen Lloyd Smith Afterword: Reply By Steve Smith The ‘New Cuyama 4663’ Problem: A Reply to Norma Romm
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8. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Paul Griseri Editorial: Foundations and Processes
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9. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Marja-Liisa Kakkuri-Knuuttila Philosophy Unites
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10. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Jim Platts, Howard Harris The Place of Philosophy in Management
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Our purpose is not to define a particular philosophy of management but rather to demonstrate some of the ways in which philosophy – ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, logic and æsthetics – contributes to the practice of management. We identify a number of contemporary management questions, procedures or issues where the application of philosophical approaches is relevant and show how philosophical skills, an understanding of philosophical principles or exposure to philosophical discussion can contribute to improved management practice.In some ways the paper is a report on progress in the quest begun by Nigel Laurie and Christopher Cherry in the first issue of Philosophy of Management, then entitled Reason in Practice (2001), when they asked why philosophers have interested themselves so little in the entire field of management. We include some examples where philosophers have written about management, some where managers have shown the direct impact of philosophy on management effectiveness and somewhere potential remains. In much, we see links to process philosophy and to the need for conversation and reflection by and between managers and philosophers.This does not of itself show how philosophy can contribute to management education. A brief final section discusses the way in which moral creativity skills can be developed through reflection and describes how this has been done in the Manufacturing Leaders’ Programme at the Institute for Manufacturing at Cambridge and in the International Management Ethics & Values course taught to undergraduate management students in Adelaide, Singapore and Hong Kong. This will be taken up in a subsequent paper.
11. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Katri Targama, Patrick Rang Exploring Schumacher and Popper: a Quest for the Philosophical Foundations of Project Cycle Management
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In this article we (a) interlink the philosophical ideas of Ernst Schumacher and Karl Popper within the framework of planning and management, (b) describe project management cases implemented using the principles of project cycle management (PCM) and (c) study whether the success or failure can be attributed to following these concepts.We consider two basic concepts for perceiving the world surrounding us: the concept of organisation and that of self-organisation. The former emphasises the predictability of the future, where the results of each activity are predetermined and can always be achieved through thorough analytical planning. The latter sees the world as a generic whole where numerous interactions take place simultaneously, leaving the future unknown. As it has been shown, for example, by Schumacher, Hayek and Popper, the real world is uncertain and orders of great complexity appear spontaneously in a self-organised manner.Mankind has thus to cope with the self-organising world and to plan and manage therein. PCM is one of the most widespread contemporary management techniques used for that purpose in both the private and public sectors. However, PCM lacks a proper theoretical basis as well as philosophical framework. We have proposed elsewhere that the concept of piecemeal social engineering elaborated by Popper in his The Poverty of Historicism could serve as a theoreticalbasis, which can combine the organisational nature of planning and the self-organising and fuzzy world.Thus the task is mentally to split the planning and implementation issue: to take the whole into pieces and rearrange them in a desired manner in the planning phase (concept of organisation; convergent problem solving). The actual implementation of the plan ought to be conducted following a stepwise approach, re-planning all through the process (concept of self-organisation; divergent problem solving). “The future cannot be forecast, but it can be explored.” Not allhuman actions are unpredictable, but we cannot be sure what the results would be or judge the value of an action based on its inclusion in some plan.
12. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Per Ingvar Olsen The Relevance and Applicability of Process Metaphysics to Organizational Research
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Process metaphysics (process philosophy) has been suggested as a route, to a more ‘process-based’ approach to organizational studies, as opposed to a ‘substance-based’ view said to be dominant in Western thinking – including most contemporary organizational researchers. This paper explores some of the ideas of early-twentieth-century process thinkers and provides an interpretation of some of the major works of Alfred N. Whitehead. The objective is to evaluateits possible relevance to modern organizational research. The paper argues that Whitehead’s radical ontology – that was based on a generalization of quantum theory in physics – appears largely to have been refuted or disregarded by succeeding process philosophers. Furthermore, his epistemology is found to represent a process view on scientific knowledge creation taken for granted by most contemporary researchers. For different reasons, major elements of his theoriesdo not appear to be directly relevant to efforts to advance organizational theory into more radical process-based theories.On the other hand, the paper argues that the early-twentieth-century process thinkers – including Whitehead – offer a plurality of analytical conceptions that may serve as useful and inspirational contributions to further development of methods and perspectives to investigate into organizations, change and innovation processes. There are also particular approaches within the domain that have properties quite similar to some of those conceptions in process philosophy – like ‘sensemaking processes’ as represented by Karl Weick and others, which may in particular benefit from exploring the area of process philosophy.
13. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Norma Romm Reconsidering Methodological Arguments: A Commentary on Stephen L. Smith’s Paper ‘Naïve Expertise: Spacious Alternative to the Standard Account of Method (SAM)’
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14. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Bernard McKenna, David Rooney, Jay Hays Editorial: Wisdom and the Good Life
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15. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Gabriel Flynn, Julian Clarke Leadership and Integrity: Crisis and Challenge for the Global Economy
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This paper formulates a vision for leadership based on integrity in business, banking, government and politics. It proposes a tripartite response to the current grave difficulties affecting international finance and markets: a renewal of values and virtues, acceptance of the centrality of the human person, and appropriate recourse to key principles of Catholic social teaching, as articulated in Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. By considering Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” period, particularly the actions of the Anglo Irish Bank, we show how failures in leadership and integrity at all levels of Irish society, including business, politics, government, public sector and church, have eroded trust and damaged the reputation of key institutions. The paper presents plain suggestions for civic leaders on how putting people first can help restore trust, reputation, integrity and professionalism at local and global levels.
16. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Christian Gärtner Wisdom in the Flesh: Embodied Social Practices of Wisdom in Organisations
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The majority of contemporary models of wisdom define it in terms of a cognitive ability that is located in an agent’s mind. Even those models that include emotions, affective states, gut feelings etc. hardly recognise the relation between those non-cognitive dimensions, agents’ bodies and how they shape the content of experiences and how social practices of wisdom enfold. This paper will address this gap by providing a phenomenological account that depicts wisdom not as generated by wise individuals but as being produced by and within embodied practices of agents relating to other people, artefacts, concepts, and ways of using others and things. It is argued that management should aim at building facilitative contexts that afford people to make use of and exploit the embodied dimension of wise practices. Exemplary strategies and tools that establish such sites, where embodied social practices of wisdom happen, are described.
17. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Bradley Rolfe, Steven Segal Opening the Space of the Project Manager: A Phenomenological Approach
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Edmund Husserl maintains that phenomenological thinking does not begin with the theoretical roof but with the foundations of immediate and concrete experience. Martin Heidegger claims that to begin with immediate experience is to think in moments of disruption or disturbance of the everyday. Using these positions as a starting point, this paper argues for a phenomenological approach to project management that explores the immediate and concrete experienceof project managers. In doing so it attempts to address an over-emphasis on the universalised and abstracted modes of theorising that currently dominate project management practice. Eugene Gendlin’s psycho-therapeutic technique of “focusing” provides a practical example of the phenomenological approach in action through a critical dialogue between researcher and practitioner, the co-authors of this paper. This paper argues that the insight derived from such an approach can do far more for a project manager in terms of their relationship to their work, the meaning they derive from it, and their effectiveness in the role, than a dedicated adherence to the strictures of traditional project management practice.
18. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Grace Teo-Dixon, Janet Sayers Wisdom as Knowledge Management’s Perfect Solution: a Word of Caution
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The management of “wisdom” has been mooted in knowledge management (KM) theory mostly in relation to what is known as the “knowledge hierarchy”. We argue that there are unquestioned assumptions inherent in KM leading to wisdom being included in KM theory because of rhetorical “urges” more than theoretical ones. These rhetorical urges impel a drive towards perfection that excludes more than is included. Our interrogation of the KM literature uncoverssome of the questionable implications in understanding knowledge as a resource and an asset and of understanding wisdom as a pinnacle to a knowledge hierarchy. We urge caution regarding theorising of wisdom at the top of a hierarchy, as it should not be mooted as a perfect final solution to Knowledge Management. We suggest the theorising of wisdom be opened out to its fullest “poetic possibilities”, and that attempts to close off its meaning be resisted.
19. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Carolyn Dickie Coordinating Knowledge Hierarchies in Management: Re-conceptualising Organisational Wisdom
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This theoretical paper addresses issues associated with the hierarchical concept of the “pyramid of wisdom” to suggest that progressive organisations can implement management systems that capture and apply personal and organisational talents at various levels. A phenomenological hermeneutic approach is used to re-conceptualise components of practical wisdom in organisations. After briefly examining what constitutes Western and Eastern wisdom traditions,the paper provides various hierarchies associated with a postulated model of the pyramid of wisdom. It is argued that understanding how wisdom develops in an organisation can lead to new approaches to strategic reflection, to alternative notions of leadership, and to more holistic and democratic ways of expressing authority. Without understanding of, and practice within, the pyramid of wisdom, the personal and organisational roads to success are likely to be bleak, illusions overpowering, and accomplishments short-lived.
20. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Yunxia Zhu Practical Confucian Wisdom and Entrepreneurship Development and Training
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This paper proposes a Confucian wisdom perspective to study entrepreneurship practice in the Chinese transition economy. It argues that existing research on Chinese entrepreneurship has not paid adequate attention to qing (positive affects), which is an integral part of Confucian wisdom. It is essential to investigate qing and its interaction with li (reason relating to rules and regulations) and cognitive processes within the institutional context of the transition economy. To address this issue, this paper integrates traditional practical Confucian wisdom and Western institution theory to develop a theoretical framework for understanding practically wise entrepreneurship in China. The model is applied to the analysis of interview results with Chinese entrepreneurs, who indicated that they applied Confucian wisdom in starting up and developing their businesses. This finding has theoretical and practical implications for entrepreneurshipdevelopment and training.