Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 575–584 | Cite as

Caring Orientations: The Normative Foundations of the Craft of Management

  • Steven S. TaylorEmail author
  • Donna Ladkin
  • Matt Statler


In view of the ethical crises that have proliferated over the last decade, scholars have reflected critically on the ideal of management as a value-neutral, objective science. The alternative conceptualization of management as a craft has been introduced but not yet sufficiently elaborated. In particular, although authors such as Mintzberg and MacIntyre suggest craft as an appropriate alternative to science, neither of them systematically describes what “craft” is, and thus how it could inform an ethical managerial orientation. In this paper, we draw from the literature to elaborate three caring orientations associated with craft practices: caring for materials, caring for process, and caring for end-users. We suggest that conceptualizing management as a craft in these terms offers an approach to business ethics that goes beyond the “ethics of compliance” and toward a more embodied and embedded form of ethical enactment within organizations.


Craft of management Art of management Ontology of management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessWorcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of ManagementPlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK
  3. 3.Stern School of BusinessNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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