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What is ‘Humanistic’ About Humanistic Management?


  • Claus Dierksmeier

    () (Weltethos-Institut (Universität Tübingen))


Abstract Presently it is en vogue to search and research business models heedful to concerns of social, moral, and ecological sustainability. On the view here defended, however, we ought not to strive for piecemeal corrections but for a thoroughgoing paradigm change of the predominant economic theories and practices in favor of a genuinely ‘humanistic management.’ This very call for humanistic management serves as an introduction into this paper (section 1). The article then lays out a concept of humanistic management in three methodologically distinct steps, description – ascription – prescription, before addressing potential challenges to the approach of humanistic management and, finally, pointing out some of its practical implications. The article hence proceeds as follows: From a critique of the reductionist description of economic agency given in conventional economics (2), the paper moves on to the ascription of freedom and responsibility by and through human actors (3), which appears essential for any attempt at re-integrating moral prescriptions into economics and, by extension, management theory (4). The resultant, dignity-centered humanistic management conception is then defended against challenges from postmodern authors and defendants of ‘deep ecology’ (5). Afterward, the article presents some normative postulates for management practice (6); last, the main findings of the paper are summarized (7).

Suggested Citation

  • Claus Dierksmeier, 2016. "What is ‘Humanistic’ About Humanistic Management?," Humanistic Management Journal, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 9-32, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:humman:v:1:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s41463-016-0002-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s41463-016-0002-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Werther, William Jr. & Chandler, David, 2005. "Strategic corporate social responsibility as global brand insurance," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 317-324.
    2. David Colander & Richard Holt & Barkley Rosser, 2004. "The changing face of mainstream economics," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 485-499.
    3. Andrew Mearman, 2011. "Who Do Heterodox Economists Think They Are?," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 480-510, April.
    4. Anant K. Sundaram & Andrew C. Inkpen, 2004. "The Corporate Objective Revisited," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 15(3), pages 350-363, June.
    5. Jensen, Michael C., 2002. "Value Maximization, Stakeholder Theory, and the Corporate Objective Function," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(02), pages 235-256, April.
    6. Lex Donaldson & James H. Davis, 1991. "Stewardship Theory or Agency Theory: CEO Governance and Shareholder Returns," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 16(1), pages 49-64, June.
    7. David Colander, 2018. "The Death Of Neoclassical Economics," Chapters,in: How Economics Should Be Done, chapter 5, pages 46-62 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. David Dequech, 2007. "Neoclassical, mainstream, orthodox, and heterodox economics," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 279-302.
    9. Michael Pirson & Paul Lawrence, 2010. "Humanism in Business – Towards a Paradigm Shift?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 93(4), pages 553-565, June.
    10. R. Edward Freeman & Andrew C. Wicks & Bidhan Parmar, 2004. "Stakeholder Theory and “The Corporate Objective Revisited”," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 15(3), pages 364-369, June.
    11. Claus Dierksmeier, 2011. "The Freedom–Responsibility Nexus in Management Philosophy and Business Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(2), pages 263-283, June.
    12. R. Freeman & Kirsten Martin & Bidhan Parmar, 2007. "Stakeholder Capitalism," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 74(4), pages 303-314, September.
    13. Dierksmeier, Claus & Celano, Anthony, 2012. "Thomas Aquinas on Justice as a Global Virtue in Business," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 247-272, April.
    14. Anant K. Sundaram & Andrew C. Inkpen, 2004. "Stakeholder Theory and “The Corporate Objective Revisited”: A Reply," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 15(3), pages 370-371, June.
    15. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
    16. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    1. repec:spr:humman:v:2:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s41463-017-0026-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:humman:v:2:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s41463-017-0023-9 is not listed on IDEAS


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