Skip to main content

Caring Orientations: The Normative Foundations of the Craft of Management

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Antonacopoulou, E.P. (2010). Making the business school more ‘critical’: Reflexive critique based on phronesis as a foundation for impact. British Journal of Management Special Issue ‘Making The Business School More “Critical”, 21, 6–25.

  2. Aristotle. (2009). The Nicomachean ethics (David Ross, trans.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  3. Asch, S. E. (1948). The doctrine of suggestion, prestige and imitation in social psychology. Psychological Review, 55, 250–276.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Augier, M. & March, J. (2011). The roots, rituals, and rhetorics of change: North american business schools after second world war. Stanford, CA: Stanford Business Books.

  5. Baily, J., & Ford, C. (1996). Management as science versus management as practice. Business Strategy Review, 7(4), 7–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Barnard, C. I. (1938). The functions of the executive. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Barry, D., & Meisiek, S. (2010). The art of leadership and its fine art shadow. Leadership, 6(3), 331–349.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bazerman, M. H., & Banaji, M. R. (2004). The social psychology of ordinary ethical failures. Social Justice Research, 17(2), 111–115.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Beadle, R. (2008). Why business cannot be a practice. Analyse & Kritik, 30(1).

  10. Boland, R. J., & Collopy, F. (2004). Design matters for management. In R. J. Boland & F. Collopy (Eds.), Managing as designing. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Brady, F. N. (1986). Aesthetic components of management ethics. Academy of Management Review, 11(2), 337–344.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Burgi, P. T., Jacobs, C. D., & Roos, J. (2005). From metaphor to practice in the crafting of strategy. Journal of Management Inquiry, 14(1), 78–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Chan, J. (2013). A suicide survivor tells the story of the life of a Chinese worker. New Technology, Work and Environment, 28(2), 84–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Chia, R. & Holt, R. (2008). The nature of knowledge in business schools. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 7(4), 471–486.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Cohen, M. D., March, J. G., & Olsen, J. P. (1972). A garbage can model of organizational choice. Administrative Science Quarterly, 17(1), 1–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Colby, A., Ehrlich, T., Sullivan, B., & Dolle, J. (2011). Rethinking undergraduate business education: Liberal learning for the profession. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  17. Crawford, M. B. (2009). Shop class as soulcraft: An inquiry into the value of work. New York: Penguin.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Damasio, A. R. (1994). Descartes’ error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York: Putnam.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Friga, P. N., Bettis, R. A., & Sullivan, R. S. (2003). Changes in graduate management education and new business school strategies for the 21st century. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2(3), 233–249.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Frost, P. (1999). Why compassion counts. Journal of Management Inquiry, 8(2), 127–133.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Ghoshal, S. (2005). Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(1), 75–91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Gilligan, C. (1990). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Gioia, D. A. (1992). Pinto fires and personal ethics: A script analysis of missed opportunities. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(5–6), 369–389.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Golsorkhi, D., Rouleau, L., Seidl, D., & Vaara, E. (2010). Cambridge handbook of strategy as practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  25. Gordon, R. A., & Howell, J. E. (1959). Higher education for business. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Hamington, M. (2004). Embodied care: Jane Addams, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and feminist ethics. Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Hamington, M. & Sander-Staudt, M. 2011. Applying care ethics to business. Dortrecht: Springer.

  28. Hancock, P. (2008). Embodied generosity and an ethic of organization. Organization Studies, 29(10), 1357–1373.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Henderson, B. (1970). The product portfolio (p. 66). BCG Perspectives.

  30. Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Kemp, G. (2003). The Croce-Collingwood theory as theory. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 61(2), 171–193.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Khurana, R. (2007). From higher aims to hired hands: The social transformation of American business schools and the unfulfilled promise of management as a profession. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Klein, S. (1998). Don Quixote and the problem of idealism and realism in business ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 8(1), 43–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Klein, S. (2011). Platonic reflections on global business ethics. Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 36(1–2), 137–173.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Ladkin, D. (2011). The art of ‘perceiving correctly’: What artists can teach us about moral perception. Tamara Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry, 9(3–4), 91–101.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Knorr-Cetina, K. (1999). Epistemic cultures: How the sciences make knowledge. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

  37. LeDoux, J. E. (1996). The emotional brain: The mysterious underpinnings of emotional life. New York: Simon & Schuster.

    Google Scholar 

  38. MacIntyre, A. (1985). After Virtue (2nd ed.). London: Duckworth.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Michaelson, G. A., & Michaelson, S. (2010). The art of war for managers: 50 strategic rules updated for today’s business. Avon, Massachusetts: Adams Media.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Milgram, Stanley. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371–378.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Mintzberg, H. (2005). Managers not MBAs: A hard look at the soft practice of managing and management development. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Mintzberg, H. (2009). Managing. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Moberg, D. (2007). Practical wisdom and business ethics: Presidential address to the society for business ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 17(3), 535–561.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Moore, G. (2008). Reimagining morality in management: A modern virtue-ethics approach. Business Ethics Quarterly, 18(4), 483–511.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Nonaka, I., & Toyoma, R. (2003). The knowledge-creating theory revisited: Knowledge creation as a synthesizing process. Knowledge Management Research and Practice, 1(1), 2–10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. O’Conner, E. (2011). Creating new knowledge in management: Appropriating the field’s lost foundations. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  47. Pfeffer, J. (2005). Why do bad management theories persist?  A comment on ghoshal. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 4(1), 96–100.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Pfeffer, J., & Fong, C.T. (2002). The end of business schools? Less success than meets the eye. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1, 78–95.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Pierson, F. C. (1959). The education of American businessmen: A study of university-college programs in business administration. New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Porter, M. (1979). The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Harvard Business Review

  51. Rayner, C., & Keashly, L, 2005. Bullying at work: A perspective from Britain and North America. In Fox, S., Spector, P. E. (Eds.), Counterproductive work behavior: Investigations of actors and targets (pp. 271–296). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

  52. Sandberg, J., & Tsoukas, H. (2011). Grasping the logic of practice: Theorizing by practical rationality. Academy of Management Review, 36(2), 338–360.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Sennett, R. (2008). The craftsman. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Simola, S. (2003). Ethics of justice and care in corporate crisis management. Journal of Business Ethics, 46(4), 351–361.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Springborg, C. (2010). Leadership as art: Leaders coming to their senses. Leadership, 6(3), 243–258.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Starkey, K., & Tempest, S. (2005). The future of the business school: Knowledge challenges and opportunities. Human Relations, 58(1), 61–82.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Starkey, K., Hatchuel, A., & Tempest, S. (2004). Rethinking the business school: A European perspective. Journal of Management Studies, 41(8), 1521–1531.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Taylor, F. W. (1911). The principles of scientific management. London: Harper.

    Google Scholar 

  59. ten Bos, R., & Willmott, H. (2001). Towards a post-dualistic business ethics: Interweaving reason and emption in working life. Journal of Management Studies, 38(6), 769–793.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Thomas, H., & Wilson, A. (2011). ’Physics envy’, cognitive legitimacy or practical relevance: Dilemmas in the evolution of management research in the UK. British Journal of Management, 22, 443–456.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Weber, M. (1947). Legitimate authority and bureaucracy, The theory of social and economic organization. New York: MacMillian Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Werhane, P. (2008). Moral models, moral imagination and systems thinking in the age of globalization. Journal of Business Ethics, 78(4), 463–474.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Zimbardo, P. G. (2007). The Lucifer effect: Understanding how good people turn evil. New York: Random House.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Steven S. Taylor.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Taylor, S.S., Ladkin, D. & Statler, M. Caring Orientations: The Normative Foundations of the Craft of Management. J Bus Ethics 128, 575–584 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-014-2116-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Craft of management
  • Art of management
  • Ontology of management