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The challenge of the humanistic management


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The challenge of the humanistic management prof. Domènec Melè

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The challenge of the humanistic management

  1. 1. The Challenge of Humanistic Management Domènec Melé ABSTRACT. According to the origin of the word agement, human virtues among people and more “humanism” and the concept of humanitas where the efficient organizations. former comes from, management could be called humanistic when its outlook emphasizes common KEY WORDS: Christian social teaching, humanizing human needs and is oriented to the development of business, humanizing culture, humanistic manage- human virtue, in all its forms, to its fullest extent. A ment, organizational culture, organizational virtue first approach to humanistic management, although ethics quite incomplete, was developed mainly in the middle of the 20th century. It was centered on human motivations. A second approach to humanistic man- agement sprang up in the 80’s and centered on Introduction organizational culture. This implied a wider approach to the human condition while taking into account the It is very well known that management under- influence of culture on behaviors and decision- went a tremendous development throughout the making, but it is incomplete, too. There is a third twentieth century. During the first decades of approach to humanistic management, which is still that century, with Taylor’s scientific organization emerging, that considers a business enterprise as a real of work, Fayol’s managerial principles and Henry community of persons. That means promoting unity Ford’s assembly line, management was based on and favoring the acquisition of human virtues. This technique and little attention was paid to the humanistic management approach is a real challenge in order to achieve a higher moral quality in man- human condition of workers, except for making them more efficient in productive operations. Taylor only focused on the self-interest of the Domènec Melé is Professor and Director of the Department worker to get money and the organization of of Business Ethics at IESE Business School, University time and activities in order to improve produc- of Navarra, Spain. He also chairs the bi-annual tivity, while Fayol limited his approach to the “International Symposium on Ethics, Business and functions of management and Ford focused on Society” held by IESE. He has a Doctorate degree in increasing productivity through the assembly line. Industrial Engineering from the Polytechnic University In all these approaches and in some others after of Catalonia, Spain (1974) and another in Theology them, the image of the person was quite “mech- from the University of Navarra (1983). He is author anistic”. Managers planned the work and gave of three books on economic and business ethics and social orders, which had to be obeyed by employees; ethics (in Spanish) and has edited eight books (in the reward for that was basically money. Spanish), which include different topics on business This engineering outlook of management was ethics. In addition, he has written 20 study cases (IESE Publishing) and about 40 articles and chapters in this followed by another that focused on human field. He has published in journals as Business Ethics behavior from the assumptions of experimental Quarterly, Journal of Business Ethics, Business psychology and psychoanalysis. This outlook was Ethics: A European Review, and Reason in expanded by one of the most outstanding Practice. The Journal of Philosophy of pioneers of management thought, Abraham Management. Maslow. He introduced a new approach, which Journal of Business Ethics 44: 77–88, 2003. © 2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
  2. 2. 78 Domènec Melé he himself considered a “humanistic” approach. in 19th century to designate the Renaissance In his own words, Maslow “attempted to enlarge emphasis on studying classical authors and lan- our conception of the human personality by guages (Latin and Greek) in education.3 reaching into the ‘higher’ levels of human However, the roots are much older. In 15th nature” (1970, p. ix). He accepted the previous century, those who pursued and endorsed these findings coming from experimental psychology classical studies were called umanisti, an Italian and psychoanalysis but he went beyond these word. According to R. Grudin (1989, p. 723), disciplines by adopting “a new general philos- author of the article on “humanism” in the New ophy of life” which led him to a deeper knowl- Encyclopedia Britannica, umanisti comes from edge of human needs.1 Latin studia humanitatis, which was a course of Apart from Maslow, some other authors have classical studies that included grammar, poetry, adopted conceptions of management which rhetoric, history and moral philosophy. In could be considered as approaches to humanistic fact, in Renaissance, the concept of humanitas management, at least in a broad sense, since they became a key educational and political ideal. emphasize several aspects of the human condi- “Renaissance humanism – he affirms – in all its tion. The first purpose of this paper is to explore forms defined itself in its straining towards this these historical approaches. So after a short ideal. No discussion, therefore, of humanism can discussion about the meaning of humanistic man- have validity without an understanding of human- agement three approaches to humanistic manage- itas.” Accordingly, Grudin gives us an explana- ment will be distinguished. Then it will endeavor tion of the meaning of humanitas in Ancient to show that the third approach to humanistic Greece: management is more complete in considering the human condition and the capacity of everyone “Humanitas meant the development of human to develop better human qualities than the virtue, in all its approaches, to its fullest extent. previous ones. The term thus implied not only such qualities as are associated to the modern word humanity – understanding, benevolence, compassion, mercy – What humanistic management means? but also such more aggressive characteristics as fortitude, judgment, prudence, eloquence, and even love of honor. Consequently the possessor of “Humanistic” is related to “humanism”, an old humanitas could not be merely a sedentary and and rich concept. The term “humanism”, isolated philosopher or man of letters but was of although it does not have a univocal sense,2 is necessity a participant in active life. Just as action generally understood as the realization of certain without insight was held to be aimless and barbaric, human ideals. More specifically, humanism is insight without action was rejected as barren and usually conceived as an outlook emphasizing imperfect. Humanitas called for a fine balance common human needs and is concerned with between action and contemplation, a balance born human characteristics. It leads to structuring not of compromise but of complementarity.” social life in a way that is appropriate for the human condition. However, this way of under- A complementary explanation is provided by standing humanism is too vague. So it is neces- Miralles (1975, p. 518) who holds that the word sary to start by clarifying what humanism, and humanitas which gives origin to “humanism” humanistic management, will mean in the is the Latin translation of the Greek word context of this paper. In fact, the meaning ϕιλανθρωπ´ α ( filantropia) that means “love to ι adopted here is very close to the origin of the the human condition”. It seems it was employed term “humanism” and its meaning in the first by Aeschylus who applied this term to the Ancient World, although it includes certain benevolence of Prometheus towards mankind. In conceptual enrichment. the Hellenistic and Roman era it was a quality The term “humanism” was introduced by the desirable in a monarch. St. Paul attributed it to German scholar F. J. Niethammer as humanismus Christ. In Stoic writers or those influenced by
  3. 3. The Challenge of Humanistic Management 79 Stoicism, humanitas has a sense of something if we avoid answering such questions definitely, we common that maintains humans united to each cannot avoid them” (1968/1938, p. 8). other beyond race, beliefs, origin and social conditions. A third author, quite different from Follett and Accepting this meaning of humanistas, here Barnard but more than likely with a significant humanistic management is understood as a man- influence on Maslow and other authors who will agement that emphasizes the human condition be mentioned, was Elton Mayo. He introduced and is oriented to the development of human an approach based on satisfaction for social con- virtue, in all its forms, to its fullest extent. ditions of work. From the famous Hawthorne experiments of the Western Electric Company in Chicago (Roethlisberger and Dickson, 1939), First set of approaches to humanistic Mayo (1933, 1945) realized that informal orga- management nization exists in all organizations and the informal group is an outlet for the aspirations of In a paper presented in 1925, Mary Parker workers. That means a certain humanistic Follett, who has been called “a prophet of approach, since it includes human relations in modern management” (Graham, 1994), wrote: work organizations. “We can never wholly separate the human from However, the consideration of persons by the mechanical side . . . But you all see every day Mayo was exclusively related to increased pro- the study of human relations in business and the ductivity. Mayo’s aim is made clear in his own study of operating are bound up together” (1940, words: “a research study of human behavior and p. 124). In her view there were no psycholog- human relations was eminently desirable. Such ical, ethical or economic problems, but human study, if made without presuppositions other than problems and these cover aspects which could those justified by biology or the human aspect be psychological, ethical, economic and of clinical medicine, might, we believed, be whatever. This outlook was one of the first more productive than a direct attack on labor humanistic approaches to management. relations” (1945, p. xi). His findings showed work Chester I. Barnard, another outstanding satisfaction depends to a large extent on the pioneer in management thought, was also con- informal pattern of the work group, and satis- cerned with the human and ethical side of faction is related to productivity. Mayo consid- management. In his words, organizations last “in ered that management ought to provide the bases proportion to the breadth of the morality by for group affiliation and to foster spontaneous which they are governed” (1968, p. 282). But cooperation. But, for this purpose he only what is even more remarkable in Barnard is the proposed a suitable communications system, way in which he pointed out the importance to particularly upwards from workers to manage- achieve a correct vision of the human being ment. before dealing with organizations. In his mem- From clinical psychological observation, orable book The functions of the executive, first Maslow (1970/1954) stated that humans are published in 1938, he wrote: motivated by multiple needs and those needs are hierarchical. He identified five general levels of “I have found it impossible to go far in the study motivating needs: physiological needs, safety of organizations or of behavior of people in needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem relation to them without being confronted with a needs and the need for self-actualization. He few questions which can be simply stated. For example: ‘What is an individual?’ ‘What is a presented a more comprehensive approach to person?’ ‘To what extent do people have power of human beings than the current psychology of his choice or free will?’ The temptation is to avoid days and rejected the images of man that the such difficult questions, leaving them to philoso- latter generated. phers and scientists who still debate them after Regarding the need of self-actualization, centuries. It quickly appears, however, that even Maslow stated:
  4. 4. 80 Domènec Melé “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, (1968), focused on the development of the indi- a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace viduals as well. All these authors, like Maslow, with himself. What a man can be, he must be. He avoid talking about the ethical side of human must be true to his human nature. This need we growth. may call self-actualization (. . .) It refers to man’s Concluding, the scholars of this first set of desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency approaches to humanistic management insisted for him to become actualized in what he is poten- tially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire on the necessity of managers being concerned for to become more and more what one idiosyncrat- motivating human needs and considered in ically is, to become everything that one is capable different ways the need for self-actualization (or of becoming” (1970, p. 46). (The italics are the their equivalent: personal growth or development author’s) of the individual) but they did not delve too much into the specific contents of these concepts. It is an interesting approach, but it is more In fact, they were more interested in knowing than questionable that “what a man can be, he how human behavior could be motivated to must be”. A person can become a lot of different improve outcomes than in investigating what a things, since each human being has many poten- human being actually is both as an individual and tialities, some better than others. He or she can as a social being. become someone with an excellent character or, on the contrary, someone quite depraved. Here it underlines a crucial ethical aspect. Second approach to humanistic Maslow could have in mind the self-fulfillment management of the idiosyncrasy of each one excluding bad aspects. However, he did not talk about that. A second set of approaches to humanistic man- In fact, self-fulfillment can have two different agement came from considering organizational meanings: developing personal idiosyncrasy, culture. Culture within human groups and how whatever that can be, and developing the noblest the group influences the individual have been potentialities of each human being. The former studied by cultural anthropology since 19th has only a psychological sense, while the latter century. But the study of organizational cultures has an ethical sense related to character. didn’t become popular until the 1980’s with the Unfortunately, Maslow, as the psychologist he works of Peters and Waterman (1982), who was, only paid attention to the development of related some strong organizational cultures with the idiosyncrasy of each one, without considering business excellence, and those of Deal and the ethical side of this development. Kennedy et al. (1982), who studied 200 corpo- The need for self-actualization is also very rate cultures and their relation to performance. important in the contribution of Douglas Schein (1985/1992, 1990) and Kilmann et al. McGregor (1960) through his well-known Y (1985) made a significant contribution to the Theory. He considered that the satisfaction of the theoretical development of this concept. individual’s “self-actualizing needs” is the best Afterwards some attempts have been made to link way to obtain commitment. He pointed out that organizational culture and improvement initia- the average human being learns, under proper tives in organizations (Detert et al., 2000) and conditions, not only to accept but also to seek now many relate organizational culture with responsibility, and many more people are able to positive organization results (Goffee and Jones, contribute creatively to the solution of organi- 1998). zational problems that do so. A variant of this Organizational culture has been defined, in approach is that given by Likert (1961, 1967). He very simple but intuitive words, as “the way we maintains that a leader must always adapt his or do things around here” (Deal and Kennedy, her behavior to take persons into account, to lead 1982, p. 4). Pettigrew described it as “an them with their expectations, values and skills. amalgam of beliefs, ideology, language, ritual and Other scholars, as Argyris (1957) and Herzberg myth” (1979, p. 572). Gordon and DiTomaso
  5. 5. The Challenge of Humanistic Management 81 state that a corporate culture is “a pattern of that may become necessary – the destruction of shared and stable beliefs and values that are culture” (1985, p. 2). But not everyone agrees developed within the company across time” with this position. Smircich (1983), e.g., thinks (1992, p. 784). From a different perspective, it that organizational culture “is” a part of the has been said that “culture is what a group learns organization (something inherent to any organi- over a period of time as that group solves its zation) and it is exclusively the outcome of the problems of survival in an external environment interactions between the individual and the and its problems of internal integration. Such organization. So managers have nothing to do learning is simultaneously behavioral, cognitive, with building up an organizational culture. and an emotional process” (Schein, 1990, p. 111). Others give a deeper knowledge of how to do Two levels can be distinguished in an organi- it as a pre-condition for changing cultures. Thus zational culture: an inner and invisible one and Fitzgerald (1988, p. 9) holds that “although the another that is superficial and visible; the latter management of culture has been declared a contains external manifestations of the former needed instrument for strengthening organiza- (Sathe, 1983; Schein 1985/1992). The inner tional control and producing improvements, we level, which basically contains beliefs (hypothesis, can’t talk intelligently about changing cultures assumptions, and the business model the organi- until we understand how to change underlying zation holds to be true) and values (principles or values.” qualities considered worthwhile by the organi- The debate on the role of management in zation), seems the most essential for character- building up an organizational culture is still going izing a certain culture. In Schein’s view, the term on, but more and more it is accepted that culture “should be reserved for this deeper level managers have a real influence on organizational of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared culture. In a very pragmatic way, The Price by members of an organization, that operate Waterhouse Change Integration Team (1996), unconsciously, and that define, in a basic ‘taken- after interviewing over 200 senior-level corpo- for-granted’ fashion, an organization’s view of rate executives in a variety of manufacturing and itself and its environment” (1985, p. 6). service organizations, strongly recommends that The importance of organizational culture in managers focus directly on culture, but indirectly organization performance is a matter of fact. For through some organizational aspects which shape many years, organizational theory has paid an organization’s culture, such as: leadership attention to strategy, structure and managerial actions; vision, purpose, and strategy; perfor- systems to control an organization. But now mance measures; structure; people practices; and there is an increasing conviction that a set of competitive context. elements less visible and difficult to measure, as In fact, many managers are aware of the orga- shared values and beliefs, have a great influence nizational culture in their respective organizations on human behavior and the decision-making and are trying to promote it. Now, the question process within the organization (Kotter and is whether or not a management focus on the Heskett, 1992; Goffee and Jones, 1998, among organizational culture, apart from motivations, is others). Thus organizational culture cannot be more humanistic than one that only considers ignored by management any more. motivations. Regarding the role of management on orga- There is no doubt that human beings live nizational cultures, it has been questioned within a culture; they influence culture and whether or not their leaders can promote them. develop themselves under a culture. In very Schein, who many consider as one of the most precise words, Pope John Paul II has pointed out outstanding scholars on organizational culture, the need to take culture into account to better does not hesitate to affirm: “Organizational understand persons: cultures are created by leaders, and one of the most decisive functions of leadership may well be “It is not possible to understand man on the basis the creation, the management, and – if and when of economics alone, nor to define him simply on
  6. 6. 82 Domènec Melé the basis of class membership. Man is understood culture helps to explain both the incidence of in a more complete way when he is situated within ethical and unethical behavior. In the same way, the sphere of culture through his language, history, other authors have pointed out that the pressure and the position he takes towards the fundamental to adapt one’s behavior to an organizational events of life, such as birth, love, work and death. culture may lead to unethical behavior (Shetia At the heart of every culture lies the attitude man and Von Glinow 1985; Baucus, 1989; Trevino, takes to the greatest mystery: the mystery of God.” (1991, n. 23) 1990; Stead et al., 1990; Sims, 1992, 2000; Douglas et al., 2001; Sims and Brinkmann, 2002) In conclusion, if culture is part of human life or can reinforce ethical decision-making (Chen and organizational cultures have such an influ- et al., 1997). Knouse and Giacalone (1992) noted ence on the behavior of its members, there is no that a possible cause of the behaviors within an doubt that considering organizational culture is organization could be that an organizational a better way to understand the human condition culture sends messages of sanctioned or unsanc- than considering only human needs. Accordingly, tioned ways of making decisions. More specifi- this second approach to humanistic management cally, it has been reported that certain ethical focused on building up organizational cultures is climates-an aspect of organizational cultures, richer than the first one. However, it is also quite which permit quantitative measurements-can limited. foster crime (Werhane, 1991; Sims, 2000). The goal for many scholars who deal with However, most of these approaches are bound organizational cultures is to use this concept to by the limits of the empirical research and better explain the variations in patterns of emphasize the influence of organizational organizational behavior, stability of a group and cultures on the favoring of unethical behaviors its influence on performance. Actually, they have rather than on the fostering of character. obtained interesting findings by employing methods of organizational psychology, including surveys, interviews, documentation, history, Third approach to humanistic observation of behaviors, etc. Their main interest management lies only in how values and other elements of organizational cultures influence behavior and There is a third approach to humanistic man- performance from a psychological or sociological agement centered on building up a community perspective. of persons embedded with an organizational In a more specific way, other researches have culture which fosters charater. In this way, it takes studied the relationship between organizational into account human needs and motivations, like culture and ethical behavior. At the beginning of the first approach, but considers the ethical side the 80’s, Fisse and Braithwaite (1983) showed that of the need for self-actualization. Promoting an organizational cultures have an impact on the organizational culture is also included in this ethical behavior and moral practices of people approach, but it adds an appropriate culture for in organizations. Afterwards, many other scholars developing people. have supported this finding. Trevino et al. (1985) This approach takes, as a starting point, the found that when ethical behaviors are reinforced social nature of the persons and their capacity for by organizational culture, these behaviors acquiring virtues that perfect them and, as a increase, and conversely, when unethical behav- consequence, for growing as human beings. Due iors are reinforced by culture, members tend to to their social nature, human individuals have the exhibit more unethical behavior. In another capacity to form communities with real bonds. research, Trevino (1986) established that when a The idea of community comes from the Latin culture is more democratic it is associated with word communitas meaning “common” and evokes an increase in ethical behavior including a greater individuals united for something they have in willingness to take individual responsibility. common. Communities have a certain organiza- Gagliardi (1990) stated that organizational tion, which gives them support, but what really
  7. 7. The Challenge of Humanistic Management 83 makes a community is its unity. That implies that firm, which one is free to join, demands certain the members of the community have a certain relations and voluntary bonds. An elemental bond between them; sometimes it is a natural observation points out that people who consti- bond as in the family with the relationships tute a business enterprise can have three kinds between parents and children, or a voluntary of motives to remain united to it:4 bond connected with some common goals shared • There are motives directly related with by the members of the community. The latter is some external compensation: salaries, material the case for business enterprises, as I will try to rewards or other benefits, training received show later on. or for the personal learning associated with The concept of “community” has been used the job, power, the position or prestige at length in sociology and philosophy, although obtained by being a member of a commu- not too much in management and organizational nity with a certain role and doing some theory so far. There is not a unique definition activity. of community, but it generally refers to the social • Other motives are found in some pleasure structures of people with specific actions, rela- associated with the present situation within tions and a sense of unity. In other words, in a the firm, such as having an enjoyable job, community there is not only mutual relations being proud of belonging to a firm with a among persons, but these persons appear as a great reputation, working in a certain group unity and forming a “we” (Stein, 1998, p. 248). or occupying a prestigious post within the In fact, those who belong to a community say firm, liking the quality of human relations “we”, but without lacking their own personal and so on. condition. • Finally, there are motives that lead to atti- According to Wojtyla (1979–80), who employs tudes of identification, commitment and a phenomenological approach, “we” expresses loyalty to the mission, values or goals of the directly a multiplicity of individuals while indi- firm. This group of motives is derived from rectly refers to persons who belong to this discovering that serving or cooperating with multiplicity. Usually, for community we do not the enterprise is something worthy for understand only the multiplicity of subjects, but everybody; it is a common good for the the unity of such a multiplicity; a unity that is a enterprise and even for society at large. So consequence of the relations and bonds estab- these motives, which could be called tran- lished between these subjects. Community sitive motives, are related with a sense of includes both relationships and the sum of the service and cooperation. relationships. In this way, a community has a supra-personal character but individuals remain Individual interests for scarce resources with their own personality. “We” are many motivate competition, but that does not bring subjects who exist and act in common. The about unity. On the contrary, the perception of meaning of “in common” is not, however, a common goals fosters cooperation. While multiplicity of actions made together, but a set competition urges people to dominate others, of individuals doing actions that respond to a cooperation is essential for the maintenance of common value, that is to say, in a cooperative society in general and organizations in particular. way for the sake of common goals. This common The two former groups of motives mentioned value deserves to be called “common good”, the (compensation and pleasure), intrinsically con- common good of a community. sidered, are directly related to the self-interest of After this short introduction about the concept the individuals involved in the organization and of community, it is time to ask whether or not the unity between an individual and the organi- a business enterprise is a community. Answering zation will only be possible if the interests do not this question requires an analysis of the bonds and compete for some scarce resources. However, the corresponding motives of the people involved there could also be some common interests, like in a firm, since the unity of a community as a the survival of the firm, which produces a sense
  8. 8. 84 Domènec Melé of cooperation which fosters unity. When there enterprises). He adds: “a business cannot be are transitive motives for a “common value” and considered only as a ‘society of capital goods’ accordingly identification, commitment and because it is also a ‘society of persons’ ” (1991, loyalty, besides other motives, then the unity n. 43 and 32). In addressing businesspersons and becomes stronger. executives he has insisted on the importance of If business firms were a mere collection of self- considering business corporations as communi- interested individuals continuously competing to ties of persons (Kennedy et al., 1994; Melé, achieve their personal goals, without any concern 1992). But this proposal has not been diffused for common goals and with an absolute lack of so much yet. cooperation, they could not survive. In practice, An important consequence of considering those who form an organization are persons with firms as a community of persons is taking into some degree of identification, commitment and account that its unity and conditions ought to be willingness to achieve common goals, even when appropriate for the persons who constituted it. sometimes achieving these goals could mean As Aristotle pointed out long ago, a human indi- sacrificing some personal interests. The history vidual is a free and rational being who continu- and culture of an enterprise, especially when it ously changes and, in a dynamic way, acquires has a certain age, contribute to creating unity habits which increase his or her moral quality too. All of that leads to considering enterprises (human virtues) or, on the contrary, this quality as communities of persons, beyond being an becomes worse (Sherman, 1989; Mintz, 1996). instrument for profits and a sort of organism This is the point where this third approach fits which tries to adapt itself to the environment. the sense of humanitas explained at the beginning Furthermore, firms are part of society and of this paper and related to human virtues. interact continuously with it. They cannot be a But, what do we understand by human parasite or a cancer for society but a pillar for virtues? In fact, that is an old subject, developed social life and therefore the only correct attitude in Ancient Greece by Socratic philosophers, is cooperation between firms and society and mainly by Aristotle. Now, with the current concern for the common good. So considering development of virtue ethics it is again a highly enterprises as communities within society is also topical subject. However, not all kinds of virtues an ethical requirement. According to Solomon can be considered human virtues. Furthermore, (1992, p. 148) “the first principle of business some current virtue ethics theories present a ethics is that the corporation is itself a citizen, a relativistic approach. As Nussbaum (1993) points member of the larger community, and incon- out; there is a striking divergence between ceivable without it.” He reminds us of the Aristotle and contemporary virtue ethics. She Aristotelian view that we are, first of all, reminds us that Aristotelian virtue creates the members of a community, adding: “corporation right disposition to choose and respond well becomes one’s immediate community and, for in the important spheres of shared human expe- better or worse, the institution that defines the rience. She adds that there is no completely values and the conflicts of values within which non-relative, culturally-independent way of one lives much of one’s life” (Solomon, 1992, understanding spheres of human experience (e.g. p. 148). friendship will be expressed through different On the other hand, considering a business customs at different times and in different places), enterprise as a human community is not entirely but there are virtues such as justice or courage new. Catholic social teaching has already pre- which are required in every sphere of human sented business enterprises as communities of experience. people at least since the beginning of the 60’s.5 On the other hand, MacIntyre (1985) has More recently, Pope John Paul II has alluded to showed that there are different traditions of the creation of “working communities” by a understating virtue. One conception is that disciplined work in close collaboration with found in Homer that a virtue is a quality which others (that is what happens within business enables an individual to discharge his or her role,
  9. 9. The Challenge of Humanistic Management 85 like courage in the warrior. Another one is that behavior and decision-making but so far they virtue is a quality which has the utility of have not paid too much attention to promoting achieving earthly or heavenly success (having organizational cultures appropriate for fostering qualities as a strategist, being a good negotiator, human virtues within the organization. A or a laborious individual): this is the concept humanistic management approach should do so. of virtue found in the writing of Benjamin Humanistic management should build up Franklin, among others. The third conception of unity to achieve that the community of persons, virtue is found in Aristotle and in the New which is an enterprise, becomes stronger as a Testament: here virtue is understood as a quality community. In addition, it has to reconsider of the character that enables an individual to motivations and organizational culture. Managers move towards achieving his or her fulfillment as have to motivate people around them to acquire a human being. In this conception, virtues are virtues and try to discover and promote beliefs interior strengths that foster a person to act and values within the organizational culture that according to the noblest human capacities. That foster human virtue, in all its forms, to its fullest leads to concern for people and to respect and extent. That leads to the need for new research love them with a benevolent rational love, in order to delve into the relationship between without sentimentalism.6 these concepts and practical ways to carry out In business each role needs certain habits and this humanistic management. indeed certain habits are also required to be Last, but not least, this humanistic manage- successful in achieving an objective. Nevertheless, ment is not a naïve approach nor a lack of I think that in a humanistic approach it is better realism. On the contrary, there is growing to reserve the term “human virtue” for the third evidence that human virtues and some habits, conception (related with human fulfillment). that some authors called virtues too, are quite However, the development of these other habits relevant for business performance (Horvath, (or “virtues” in a broad sense, if you like) is not 1995; Solomon, 1999; Walton, 2001). excluded from humanistic management, unless On the other hand, it is easy to see that they, in a certain case, would become incompat- human virtues favor cooperation, and coopera- ible with genuine “human virtues”. tion is absolutely necessary for business organi- zations, as Ch. Barnard (1968/1938) pointed out many years ago, and since then it has Conclusion been repeated again and again. In the current situation, in which organizations tend to be The concept of humanistic management pre- flattened, a strong sense of cooperation is even sented here, which strives to build up a com- more necessary. As Ghosal and Barlett (1995) munity of persons and foster the development stress, for today’s managers the purpose-process- of human virtues, gives a deeper content to people doctrine of management rests on the previous humanistic approaches to management. premise that the organizational task is to shape Namely, this one which considers human needs the behaviors of people and create an environ- and their motivation and the other which ment that enables them to take initiatives, coop- endeavors to build up an organizational culture. erate and learn. As has been discussed, the classic motivation In conclusion, it seems that a humanistic man- theories only considered the human needs that agement approach as has been sketched here is should be satisfied to achieve good results, while a real challenge for achieving a higher ethical the humanistic management proposed here quality in management. It is a challenge for includes motivating people but taking into academics: it would be useful to clarify, develop account the need for growing as a person and spread some concepts outlined in this paper. through human virtues. On the other hand, the On their part, managers have the challenge to current organizational culture approaches strive to build up communities of persons, with consider the role of values and beliefs on all their implications. Adopting this approach
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