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41. 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.
42. 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)’
43. 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.
44. 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.
45. 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.
46. 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).
47. 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.
48. 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
49. 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).
50. 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.
51. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Frits Schipper Editorial: The Philosopher’s Stone? About Knowledge and Leadership
52. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Robert Halsall The End of ‘Cosmopolitan’ Capitalism? Reflections on Nations, Models and Brands in the Global Economic Crisis
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This article reflects on the philosophical implications of the crisis for the nation-state and culture in relation to business and management. The global triumph of the neo-liberal economic model in the 1990s and early 2000s brought with it an ontological re-conception of the nation-state in its relationship to business, the market and regulation: the nation was viewed as a ‘brand-state’ analogous to a company. Much of the successful appeal of the ‘brand-state’ was based on its annexation of the Enlightenment discourse of ‘cosmopolitanism’: it appeared that a world consisting of interlinked economies represented a fulfilment of the Kantian utopian project of detachment and perpetual peace. The economic crisis has brought this discourse into question. The article assesses whetherlessons learnt from the crisis contain prospects for a post-teleological re-conceptualisation of the nation-state beyond the ‘brand-state’ towards a ‘cosmopolitan solidarity’ in which nation-states co-operate to ameliorate its worst effects.
53. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Michael Schefczyk The Financial Crisis, the Exemption View and the Problem of the Harmless Torturer
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Richard Posner avers in his A Failure of Capitalism that managers bear no moral responsibility for the financial crisis. This view has numerous supporters in economics and philosophy, and I shall call it the ‘exemption view’. In this paper, I criticise four arguments for the exemption view and propose a superior alternative, the ‘participation view’. The participation view claims that managers can be co-responsible for harm, even if their actions were not necessary or sufficient conditions for its occurrence. The paper spells out three conditions for moral responsibility according to the participation view.
54. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Steven J. Gold Teaching Business Ethics during the Global Economic Crisis: A Post-Foundational Approach
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Facing a near-death experience naturally pushes people to re-examine their basic moral values. During the recent global economic melt-down, calls to solve the concomitant ‘moral’ crisis come in from all fronts. The presumption is that we need business ethics courses to teach our business students to learn to take the moral high-road; we need ethics pledges and codes of ethics to teach business students to do the right thing. But in reality, what impact can a business ethics class have on business people in the real world of tough choices and intense competition? It is my contention that if we look at the teaching of business ethics from the traditional Foundational Platonic perspective, we over-promise and under-deliver. By contrast, a Post-Foundational perspective gives us a pragmatic and viable picture of business ethics pedagogy that can make a real difference.
55. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Martin Mullins, Finbarr Murphy CDOs – The Zenith of Monetarisation: Some Ideas from Simmel’s Philosophy of Money
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The financial crisis of 2007–2008 had its origins in the manner by which complex financial instruments allowed qualitative phenomena to become a tradable commodity. This process is part of a profound tendency in modern economic life to convert the qualitative, specific and non-commensurable into quantitative data. Simmel, in his Philosophy of Money, identified this transformative quality as an inherent characteristic of money. This paper argues that Simmel’s work continues to provide important insights. Modern financial instruments, in particular collateralised debt obligations, possess this same transformative power thus showing the enduring relevance of Simmel’s work.
56. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Kevin Christ Organisational Economics and the Evolution of a New Management Science
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This paper reviews the origins of organisational economics and critically examines its influence on business-school scholarship and pedagogy in the eighties and nineties and argues three points. First, it is useful to analyse the infiltration of economic ideas about internal organisation of firms into organisational science within the context of the methodology of scientific research programmes. Second, the adoption by management theorists of organisational economics as part of a new science of organisations represented a significant change in research style within business schools and may have contributed to practices that came under heavy criticism in the last decade. Third, the influence of economic ideas on management science represented not only an infusion of methods and models, but an infusion of ideology as well, raising important philosophical questions concerning the development of management science.
57. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
J. J. Boehnert Epistemological Error: A Whole Systems View of Converging Crises
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Gregory Bateson said that we are “governed by epistemologies that we know to be wrong” back in 1972. In the same book Bateson wrote: “the organism that destroys its environment destroys itself.” Almost forty years later, global ecological systems are in steep decline and converging crises make a deep evaluation of the underlying premises of our philosophical traditions an urgent imperative. This paper will suggest that the roots of the economic crisis are epistemological and that, to correct this error, whole systems thinking and ecological literacy will become increasingly important in business management as well as in other disciplines. It will also suggest that the economic crisis opened new political space and has provided an opportunity for intervention. If we are brave enough to examine the roots of our problems there is possibility for renewal.
58. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Rod Thomas The ‘Credit Crunch’ from a Critical Rationalist Perspective
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Uses Sir Karl Popper’s philosophy of critical rationalism to examine the discussion of the UK ‘credit crunch’ as presented by the public record of the UK House of Commons Treasury Select Committee’s investigation. Identifies various philosophical doctrines that acted to shape that investigation and the testimony presented before it. Presents those doctrines as prejudicial to the advancement of knowledge, learning and rationality. Concludes that the philosophy of critical rationalism is relevant to the problems of modern society.
59. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Martin Kelly, Arnis Vilks Philosophical Lessons from the Global Financial Crisis
60. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Peter Pelzer The Im-possible – A Different Way of Thinking Risk
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The global financial crisis of 2008 brought the risk involved in the international banking business to everybody’s attention. It made clear that risk, despite the claims of banks, cannot be hedged away. The risk inherent in the banking business has been realised. It was realised to a larger extent and in different dimensions than assumed by risk management, quantitatively and qualitatively, and it had more severe effects than imagined before. This paper takes this event as an opportunity to reconsider the term ‘risk’ itself from an unusual perspective. Aspects from the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, his considerations of the event, the im-possible or the horizon are used to interrogate the term ‘risk’ and to propose a ‘risk to come’.