Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 93, Issue 4, pp 553–565 | Cite as

Humanism in Business – Towards a Paradigm Shift?

  • Michael A. Pirson
  • Paul R. Lawrence
Article

Abstract

Management theory and practice are facing unprecedented challenges. The lack of sustainability, the increasing inequity, and the continuous decline in societal trust pose a threat to ‘business as usual’ (Jackson and Nelson, 2004). Capitalism is at a crossroad and scholars, practitioners, and policy makers are called to rethink business strategy in light of major external changes (Arena, 2004; Hart, 2005). In the following, we review an alternative view of human beings that is based on a renewed Darwinian theory developed by Lawrence and Nohria (2002). We label this alternative view ‘humanistic’ and draw distinctions to current ‘economistic’ conceptions. We then develop the consequences that this humanistic view has for business organizations, examining business strategy, governance structures, leadership forms, and organizational culture. Afterward, we outline the influences of humanism on management in the past and the present, and suggest options for humanism to shape the future of management. In this manner, we will contribute to the discussion of alternative management paradigms that help solve the current crises.

Keywords

humanism economism management paradigms sustainability management theory  business strategy 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alter, S. K. (2006). Social Enterprise models and their mission and money relationships. Social Entrepreneurship – new models for sustainable social change. A. Nicholls. Oxford, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, C.: 1997, ‘Values-Based Management’, Academy of Management Executive 11(4), 25–46.Google Scholar
  3. Arena, C. (2004). Cause for Success: 10 Companies That Put Profit Second and Came in First. New World Library.Google Scholar
  4. Argyris, C. (1957). Personality and Organization. The Conflict Between System and Individual. New York, Harper.Google Scholar
  5. Argyris (1973). “Some limits of rational man organizational theory.” Public Administration Review 33: 253-267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bass, B. M. and B. J. Avolio (1994). “Transformational Leadership And Organizational Culture.” International Journal of Public Administration 17(3/4): 541 - 554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bentham, J. (1789). Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. London.Google Scholar
  8. Brickson, S. L. (2007). “Organizational Identity Orientation: The Genesis of the Role of the Firm and Distinct Forms of Social Value.” Academy of Management Review 32(3): 864-888.Google Scholar
  9. Buckingham, M. and C. Coffman (1999). First Break All the Rules. New York, Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  10. Cable, D. M. and T. A. Judge (1994). “Pay preferences and Job Search decisions: A Person-Organization Perspective’,.” Personnel Psychology 47(2): 317-348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chatman, J. A. (1989). “Improving Interactional Organizational Research: A Model of Person-Organization Fit.” Academy of Management Review 14(1): 333-349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Collier, J. and R. Esteban (1999). “Governance in the Participative Organisation: Freedom, Creativity and Ethics.” Journal of Business Ethics 21(2-3): 173-188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Collins, J. and J. Porras (2002). Built to last. New York, HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  14. Darwin, C. (1909). The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. New York, Appleton and Company.Google Scholar
  15. Davis, J. H., F. D. Schoorman, et al. (1997). “Toward a Stewardship Theory of Management.” Academy of Management Review 22(1): 20-47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. De Cremer, D. and S. Blader (2005). “Why do people care about procedural fairness? The importance of belongingness in responding and attending to procedures.” European Journal of Social Psychology 36(2): 211-228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Diener, E. and M. E. P. Seligman (2004). “Beyond money: Toward and economy of well-being.” Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 5: 1-31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dierksmeier, C. and M. Pirson (2008). Freedom and the Modern Corporation. ISBEE, Capetown, SA.Google Scholar
  19. Donaldson, L. and J. H. Davis (1991). “Stewardship Theory or Agency Theory: CEO Governance and Shareholder Returns.” Australian Journal of Management 16(1): 49-66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Frederick, W. C., K. Davis, et al. (1988). Business and Society: Corporate Strategy, Public Policy, Ethics. New York, McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  21. Ghoshal, S. (2005). “Bad Management Theories Are Destroying Good Management Practices.” Academy of Management Learning and Education 4(1): 75-91.Google Scholar
  22. Gratton, L. (2004). The Democratic Enterprise: Liberating your Business with Freedom, Flexibility and Commitment. London, Financial Times.Google Scholar
  23. Hart, S. (2005). Capitalism at the Crossroads: The Unlimited Business Opportunities in Solving the World’s Most Difficult Problems. Philadelphia: Wharton School Publishing.Google Scholar
  24. Herzberg, F. (1976). The managerial choice: to be efficient and to be human. Homewood, Dow Jones-Irwin.Google Scholar
  25. Jackson, I. and J. Nelson (2004). Profits with Principles- seven strategies for delivering value with values. New York, Currency Doubleday.Google Scholar
  26. Jensen, M. C. (2002). “Value maximization, stakeholder theory and the corporate objective function.” Business Ethics Quarterly 12(2): pp.235-257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Judge, T. A. and R. D. J. Bretz (1992). “Effects of Work Values on Job Choice Decisions.” Journal of Applied Psychology 77(3): 261-271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lawrence, P.: 2007a, Being Human – A Renewed Darwinian Theory of Human Behavior (Cambridge, MA). www.prlawrence.com.
  29. Lawrence, P.: 2007b, ‘Organizational Logic – Institutionalizing Wisdom in Organizations’, in E. H. Kessler and J. R. Bailey (eds.), Handbook of Organizational and Managerial Wisdom (Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA), Chap. 3.Google Scholar
  30. Lawrence, P. and N. Nohria (2002). Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  31. Macus, M. (2002). Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Boards - Conceptual Development and Empirical Exploration. St. Gallen, HSG: 1-37.Google Scholar
  32. Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and Personality. New York, Harper & Brothers.Google Scholar
  33. Mayo, E. (1933). The human problems of an industrial civilization. New York, Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Mayo, E. (1946). The social problems of an industrial civilization. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  35. McGregor, D. V. (1960). The Human Side of Enterprise. New York, McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  36. Mele, D. (2009). Current Trends of Humanism in Business. In: H. Spitzeck, M. Pirson, W. Amann, S. Khan and E. von Kimakowitz (eds.), Humanism in Business: Perspectives on the Development of a Responsible Business Society. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Muth, M. M. and L. Donaldson (1998). “Stewardship Theory and Board Structure: a contingency approach.” Corporate Governance: An International Review 6(1): 5-29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nicholls, A. (2006). Introduction. Social Entrepreneurship- new models of sustainable social change. A. Nicholls. Oxford, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Nida-Ruemelin, J. (2009). Philosophical Grounds of Humanism in Economics. In: H. Spitzeck, M. Pirson, W. Amann, S. Khan and E. von Kimakowitz (eds.), Humanism in Business: Perspectives on the Development of a Responsible Business Society. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Pfeffer, J. and J. F. Veiga (1999). “Putting people first for organizational success.” Academy of Management Executive 13(2): 37-48.Google Scholar
  41. Porter, M. and M. Kramer (2006). “Strategy and Society: The Link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility.” Harvard Business Review 84(12):78-92.Google Scholar
  42. Prahalad, C. K. (2005). The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits. Wharton School Publishing.Google Scholar
  43. Rangan, K.: 1993, The Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, India: In Service for Sight. H. c. 9-593-098. Harvard Business School Publishing.Google Scholar
  44. Sharp Paine, L. (2003). Value Shift: Why Companies Must Merge Social and Financial Imperatives to Achieve Superior Performance. McGraw Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  45. Simon, H. A. (1979). “Rational Decision Making in Business Organizations.” American Economic Review 69: 493-513.Google Scholar
  46. Simon, H. A. (1982). Models of Bounded Rationality. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  47. Tichy, N. and W. Bennis (2007). Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls. New York, Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  48. Tyler, T. R.: 2006, Social Justice Research. S. f. S. o. Justice. Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  49. Yunus, M. (2009). Social Entrepreneurs are the Solution. Humanism in Business: Perspectives on the Development of a Responsible Business Society. H. Spitzeck, M. Pirson, W. Amann, S. Khan and E. von Kimakowitz. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Business, Fordham UniversityNew YorkU.S.A.
  2. 2.Harvard Business SchoolBostonU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations