Philosophy for Business

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Philosophy for Business
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Launched on 2 November 2003, Philosophy for Business is an e-journal published by the International Society for Philosophers, looking at philosophical and ethical aspects of business practice.

We are aiming for a wide circulation to companies and corporations around the world, as well as academic philosophers.

In order to gain the widest possible readership, articles should be written in simple, non-technical language. The target length is 2500 words.

Some themes that we will be looking at:

   Globalization and monopoly
   Is business ethics possible?
   Philosophy of economics
   Practical ethics
   Idea of a code of conduct
   Freedom of speech
   Industrial democracy
   Whistle blowing
   Ecology and sustainability
   Education and health
   Business and the law
   Tax avoidance and evasion



Please send articles for Philosophy for Business to one of the Editors (see below) or to the List Manager Geoffrey Klempner at klempner@fastmail.net.

If you would like to receive Philosophy for Business, or unsubscribe, please go to https://lists.shef.ac.uk/sympa/
info/businesspathways
.

Philosophy for Business is published by the International Society for Philosophers.

The journal is distributed by email via the University of Sheffield list server.

The views expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect those of the Editors or List Manager. If you have any suggestions, comments or criticisms, or if you would like to be an Editor, please write to the List Manager at klempner@fastmail.net.

Philosophy for Business is an open access journal, as defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative.

In accordance with UK Law (April 2013) all content is archived by the British Library and is available within the reading rooms of all Legal Deposit Libraries.



LIST MANAGER

Geoffrey Klempner

klempner@fastmail.net




EDITORS

Marco Senatore
marco.senatore@tesoro.it

Peter S Borkowski
p.borkowski@aui.ma

Dena Hurst
dena.hurst@appa.edu

Sean Jasso
sean.jasso@pepperdine.edu





International Society for Philosophers
[back to archive]


P H I L O S O P H Y   F O R   B U S I N E S S           ISSN 2043-0736
http://www.isfp.co.uk/businesspathways/

Issue number 15
11th January 2005

CONTENTS

I. 'Profitable Marriage' by Peter B. Raabe

II. Philosophy of Business: Wikipedia Article

III. Philosophy of Management 05: Call for Papers

-=-

EDITOR'S NOTE

Based on his personal experiences as a philosophical counsellor, Peter Raabe's
powerful article exposes the shallowness of the philosophy of profit for
profit's sake, as well as the dangers of allowing one's personal life to become
just another 'business transaction'.

Wikipedia is an amazing project, an internet encyclopaedia where apparently
anyone can contribute anything they like, but which thanks to the watchful eye
of a dedicated community of enthusiasts maintains high standards of integrity
and scholarship. I came across the anonymous 'Philosophy of Business' article
by accident. The article is reproduced here under the terms of the GNU Free
Documentation Licence.

Nigel Laurie's annual International Conference on the Philosophy of Management
has become one of the leading fixtures in the world of business and philosophy.
Here are the details of the third International Conference. The original
submission deadline of 7 January has been specially extended for the readers of
Philosophy for Business.

Geoffrey Klempner

-=-

I. 'PROFITABLE MARRIAGE' BY PETER B. RAABE

When I was still an undergraduate student I was astonished to discover that
many of my classmates in a business ethics course were not at all interested in
learning how to be virtuous or ethical. These were the business, commerce, and
economics students for whom the business ethics course was merely a degree
requirement. They went through the motions, they said the right things in
class, they gave acceptable presentations in front of their classmates, they
handed their assignments in on time, and they wrote the correct answers on the
exams, but it seemed to me that their hearts were just not in it. My suspicions
were confirmed one day when it was my turn to give a presentation. As part of my
presentation, I demonstrated how unethical a pyramid scheme is because, while a
few 'investors' profit from it, most people inevitably lose everything they
invested. I was pleased when a number of students got together after class to
ask me for more information about exactly how a pyramid scheme works. But to my
horror and utter disbelief, they wanted to learn how they could initiate a
pyramid scheme in their student residence building where they would persuade
fellow students to 'invest' bottles of whiskey in their pyramid. They relished
the fact that the scheme would generate an enormous number of bottles of
whiskey for themselves, despite the fact that most of those same students who
give them these bottles would end up getting absolutely nothing in return.

For me this business ethics course was an eye-opener. It showed me that all the
discussion of ethical theories in the world will not change the behaviour of
individuals whose goal is to simply maximize their profits regardless of the
fact that their profits required someone else's loss. Of course pyramid schemes
are illegal in Canada, and can land you in trouble if you're caught. But the
attitude of those business students was strictly self-serving; they didn't care
how many students would be hurt. The accumulation of 'capital' outweighed their
conscience. They were willing to use their fellow students merely as a means to
their own economic ends. They believed that the bottom line on their personal
inventory is the only one that counts, and is what's most important in life.

Since then I've gone on to become both a professor of philosophy and a
philosophical counsellor. At times I've had to deal with clients in my practice
whose life has become troublesome and painful because their focus on business
has conflicted with living a virtuous or ethical life. One such client was a
very successful entrepreneur. His products and expertise in his field was in
constant demand around the world, and he was making more money than I could
imagine for someone in his mid-thirties who was not either a hockey player or a
rock star. He actually insisted on paying me more for my counselling services
than my maximum rate, telling me I was worth much more than the rates I
charged, and ignoring my assurances that I was quite happy with what I was
asking. He was handsome, well-educated, and very physically fit. He had already
been married and divorced once at a very early age.

In our first session 'Jack' talked primarily about his concern that his company
wasn't growing as fast as several other businesses in his field. "If a business
doesn't continually increase its profits," he told me, "it's dead."

"Is your business not making a profit at this time?" I asked.

"Oh, sure," he said. "We've got a healthy profit margin. There's nothing wrong
with that. But it didn't increase this year."

Since I'm not well versed in the subtleties of corporate business dealings, I
was puzzled by what he was trying to tell me.

"So you made lots of profit," I said. "Why aren't you happy with that?"

"Because our profit was only a little more than last year. We're not showing a
big enough increase. Not as much as those other companies."

"Why is increase so important?" I asked.

"If my company isn't growing I get nervous."

"But why is increase necessary?" I asked again. "Why does it make you so
nervous? I mean, isn't it enough that your company is showing a profit year
after year? Why does it have to be more profit each year?"

Jack looked at me for a long while, as if I had just told him I still believed
in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

Finally he said, "Increase, growth, change. These are all vital to a company.
It's what keeps the company interesting. Without change you die. If you keep
things on the same level, if you keep doing the same old things it becomes
routine, boring. You lose the spice; the zest is gone. It's like a marriage
that gets stale after too many years of doing the same old stuff."

For the rest of that first hour and for several sessions thereafter Jack talked
about his business and his marriage so interchangeably that I was unable to
determine which one was the metaphor he was using to illustrate the other.
Eventually I came to see that Jack's primary concern was not his business at
all. He really wanted to discuss his second marriage of five years. And when
this became clear to me I made the mistake of automatically assuming he wanted
me to help him save his relationship with his current wife. This is what all of
my previous clients had wanted from me when they brought up the topic of their
marriage. So for the next few weeks he and I discussed what he could do to
regain the excitement he had felt when he first met and married the woman who
was presently his wife. He even went so far as to bring his wife to several of
our sessions so that she could be part of our discussions.

But I could see that his wife had already given up hope, and I finally came to
the realization that Jack was not at all sincere in his dealings with me. He
was merely going through the motions, telling me what he thought I wanted to
hear, even breaking into tears at the most appropriate moments. It was no
surprise to me therefor when Jack told me in one of our last sessions that he
had recently met a wonderful woman, and that he was thinking of divorcing his
second wife. The way he explained it to me was that his wife was not helping
him to grow, that he needed change, and that he wanted to increase his own
pleasure by staying with the woman he had met. He assured me that there was
nothing inherently wrong with his wife, and that he had gained a lot from their
relationship. It was just that he felt he was no longer profiting anything from
it.

It was somewhat of a shock to me to hear Jack speak about his marriage in such
self-centered, business-like terms. With a strange sense of deja vu, Jack's
attitude brought to my mind those selfish classmates in that business ethics
course. Of course I reminded him that a relationship is not just about what you
can get from the other person, that he didn't seem to have very good
justification for leaving his wife, and that, worst of all, leaving his wife
with so little reason amounted to him not being a very virtuous or ethical
person. He said he understood all I was saying, but couldn't bring himself to
simply stay with his wife and suffer from the monotony and boredom of average
married life. He told me he still loved his wife, but that she wasn't giving
him the excitement he craved. He needed to be with his new love, he said, to
grow and advance. He also reassured me that he was financially well able to
take care of both his previous wives, and that the creative energy he was
getting from his new relationship would enhance his business dealings.

"You do see why I'm doing this," he asked me rhetorically. "I was dying in my
marriage. This is what I need."

Jack said goodbye to me at the end of our final session together with a happy
smile on his face. It wasn't until some time later that it occurred to me that
while he was telling me all these things Jack wasn't looking for a resolution
to what I thought was his problem: the two failed marriages. He had already
made up his mind about what he was going to do well before our very first
meeting. In our sessions Jack was simply seeking my blessing. He wanted my
approval for what he was doing so that he could avoid any feelings of guilt for
what he knew was his self-centered approach to personal relationships.

I often think of Jack, but not in the way you might expect. I think of him when
I hear or read about, or counsel someone in business ethics. I often get the
sense that both large corporations and small business owners don't actually
hire philosophers to help them behave ethically. Business people don't want to
be told what they can't do due to ethical concerns. They want to be able to do
what it is they want to do, and to simply receive the blessings of their paid
philosophers, and then to reap all the economic benefits that come with that
blessing. In my experience business people often believe that it is necessary
to continually increase their profits, and if that means behaving unethically,
well then so be it. Of course their belief is based on the assumption that a
business must either increase its profits or it will die. But I think this is a
mistaken assumption based on a false dilemma. I see business as something like a
marriage between the corporation and its customers. A marriage can certainly be
prosperous and successful without one spouse having to continually increase his
or her 'profits' from that marriage. In fact the most successful marriages are
the ones in which each spouse is more concerned for the welfare of the other
than for oneself. It's precisely the kind of self-centered lust for profit
found in corporate dealings that have driven so many marriages into bankruptcy.

(c) Peter B. Raabe 2005

Peter B. Raabe Ph.D.
Philosopher/Philosophical Counsellor
http://www.ucfv.ca/philosophy/raabep/
phone:  604-986-9446

Books by Peter B. Raabe on Philosophical Counselling
http://www.interchange.ubc.ca/raabe/Raabe_books_contents.html

E-mail: raabe@interchange.ubc.ca

-=-

II. PHILOSOPHY OF BUSINESS: WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Contents

1. Definition and scope
2. History
3. Philosophers of business
4. Some important philosophical topics and questions

4.1 The purpose of a business
4.2 Contract theory
4.3 Stakeholder theory
4.4 Business as property
4.5 The business mission
4.6 A mini-republic or modern village
4.7 The ontology of the business enterprise
4.8 The epistemology and logic of business

5. Sources

(5.1 Publications)
5.2 External Links

1. Definition and scope

The Philosophy of Business considers the fundamental principles that underlie
the formation and operation of a business enterprise; the nature and purpose of
a business (e.g., is it primarily property or a social institution); its role in
society; and the moral obligations that pertain to it. The subject is closely
related to business, business ethics, and management.

We must draw an important distinction between the philosophy of business and
business philosophy, which is an appellation one often hears in the business
world. More often than not, the latter designation is intended to denote a way
of doing business or a business outlook, instead of the concepts and methods
that academic philosophers would employ to examine a topic, which is what we
mean by the philosophy of business in this article. It is true that the phrase
philosophy of business also might be used in the same way as business
philosophy, for example, "Risk taking represents my philosophy of business."
However, this is not the sense that philosophy is used in this article.

2. History

It is a somewhat curious truism that despite the fact that business touches
nearly every aspect of our lives, few thinkers have shown an interest in it
from a more philosophical perspective until relatively recently. Indeed, few
philosophers can be said to have paid much attention to the business
enterprise, itself, prior to the latter part of the 20th century. To the extent
philosophers were concerned with business, they were primarily interested in it
from an economic or political standpoint, not as a primary object of attention.

Many philosophers tended to look askance at commercial activity, believing, as
Plato did, that only the worst sort of people are involved in such matters.
Even the great theorist of capitalism and classical economics, Adam Smith,
believed that business people meet only to conspire against the public, and
that they will only benefit society unintentionally. In this regard, Plato and
Smith are not unlike many academics throughout history, even today, who tend to
think of business as a necessary evil in society, and not as something worthy of
serious philosophical consideration. Instead, they see business as something
best left to those interested in applied and vocational disciplines of lesser
weight.

3. Philosophers of business

It is fair to say that most philosophers of business are involved in other
philosophical or scholarly pursuits, and that they come to the philosophy of
business as a sub-specialty, or only indirectly because it relates to another
area of interest. Thus, they are primarily philosophers dealing with other
subjects, economists, or business management theorists. If one were to examine
the philosophy departments in most universities, today, one would find precious
few courses in the philosophy of business (as opposed to a growing number of
business ethics or applied ethics courses). It is to be hoped that a growing
number of philosophers with formal training in academic philosophy will come to
specialize in the philosophy of business.

Perhaps the best known modern philosopher of business is Peter Drucker, whose
publications have had a profound influence on management and organizational
theory, generally, and on how we think of the business enterprise. More often
than not, people who think about business issues are considering it from an
applied perspective, which is to say, what is the best or most effective means
of transacting commerce or managing the enterprise, with some goal in mind,
usually profitability, improving employee relations, or marketing. While
Drucker has dealt with these issues and many more in numerous publications over
his long life, he also inquires into the principles and concepts that underlie
commercial activity and organizational structure, and he asks what ought the
mission of a business to be, and, in particular, how can we reconcile a
business mission with conflicting interests in the marketplace and society.

One of the most frequently discussed topics is the matter of organizational
change in a complex environment. Paul R. Lawrence has dealt primarily with
organizational change, organization design, and the relationship between the
structural characteristics of complex organizations and the technical, market
and other conditions of their immediate environment. His 1967 book,
Organization and Environment (written with Professor Jay Lorsch), added
"contingency theory" to the vocabulary of students of organizational behavior.

Other philosophers of business, for example, Geoffrey Klempner, are principally
interested in examining how business is even possible, which is to say, how can
an enterprise function in society as a whole. Klempner states that theories of
ethics and business are often at odds, and that one might even have to suspend
the normal ethical considerations that would apply outside of business in order
for a business to be possible. This is reminiscent of Albert Z. Carr's famous
Harvard Business Review article on bluffing, where he said business was similar
to playing poker, and that deception is a necessary part of business.

Of course, there is a close relationship between the philosophy of business and
business ethics. Philosophers specializing in business ethics are primarily
interested in how business people ought to conduct themselves in the
marketplace and in society. Michael E. Berumen, for example, emphasizes the
importance of a business person's role as a moral fiduciary, and the special
duties he acquires by virtue of his capacity. He rejects the idea that bluffing
or deception are necessary aspects of business, or that moral rules would have
to be suspended in order for business to be possible. Philosopher Norman E.
Bowie adopts Kant's three versions of the categorical imperative for ensuring
ethical business conduct, and he pays particular attention to the third
variation, whereby the people within a business must be seen as a kingdom of
ends, and not merely treated as means to an end.

4. Some important philosophical topics and questions

4.1 The purpose of a business

Some would argue that the main purpose of a business is to maximize profits for
its owners, or in the case of a publicly-traded company, its stockholders. The
economist Milton Friedman is a proponent of this view. Others would say that
its principal purpose is to serve the interests of a larger group of
stakeholders, including employees, customers, and even society as a whole. Most
philosophers would agree, however, that business activities ought to comport
with legal and moral strictures.

Many observers would hold that concepts such as Economic value added (EVA) are
useful in balancing profit-making objectives with other ends. They argue that
sustainable financial returns are not possible without taking into account the
aspirations and interests of other stakeholders (customers, employees, society,
environment). This conception suggests that a principal challenge for a business
is to balance the interests of parties affected by the business, interests that
are sometimes in conflict with one another.

4.2 Contract theory

Advocates of business contract theory believe that a business is a community of
participants organized around a common purpose. These participants have
legitimate interests in how the business is conducted and, therefore, they have
legitimate rights over its affairs. Most contract theorists see the enterprise
being run by employees and managers as a kind of representative democracy.

4.3 Stakeholder theory

Stakeholder theorists believe that people who have legitimate interests in a
business also ought to have voice in how it is run, notwithstanding the fact
that they do not have ownership in the business. The obvious non-owner,
stakeholders are the employees. However, stakeholder theorists take contract
theory a step further, maintaining that people outside of the business
enterprise ought to have a say in how the business operates. Thus, for example,
consumers, even community members who could be affected by what the business
does, for example, by the pollutants of a factory, ought to have some control
over the business.

4.4 Business as property

Some philosophers believe that a business is essentially someone's property,
and, as such, that its owners have the right to dispose of it as they see fit,
within the confines of the law and morality. They do not believe that workers
or consumers have special rights over the property. Workers voluntarily
exchange their labor on behalf of the business owner for wages; they have no
more right to tell the owner how he will dispose of his property than the owner
has to tell them how to spend their wages, property belonging to the workers.
Similarly, assuming the business has purveyed its goods honestly and with full
disclosure, consumers have no inherent rights to govern the business, which
belongs to someone else. Some philosophers who subscribe to this view point out
that a property owner's rights are nevertheless not unlimited, and that they are
constrained by morality. Thus, a home owner cannot burn down his home and
thereby jeopardize the entire neighborhood. Similarly, a business does not have
an unlimited right to pollute the air in the manufacturing process.

4.5 The business mission

The mission of a business is basically what it does, its principal objective
(e.g., to make cars, sell guns, provide insurance, sell hamburgers). One can
gussy it up with adjectives, of course, for example, to make the best, largest,
greatest, etc., but, for our purposes, we intend only to know the major
objective or objectives of the enterprise without the fluff or superlatives.
The philosophical question arises, are some missions immoral? For example, if a
business intends to manufacture and sell a recreational drug that is known to be
harmful to the users, is it immoral to do so? What if the business fully
discloses the risks, and non-users are not put at any unnecessary risk as a
result? One could easily ask such questions of guns, sex, motorcycle helmets,
dangerous amusement park rides, and so forth.

Some philosophers would suggest that a business ought to be allowed to sell
virtually anything that does not harm unwilling, rational participants (i.e.,
innocent bystanders), provided the business fully discloses the dangers to
those who purchase its products. Others, of course, would say that business and
society have duties to protect people from exercising poor judgment. A
libertarian might say that such proscriptions are laden with subjective
valuations, and that people have a right to choose for themselves, that is, as
long as they do not harm others.

4.6 A mini-republic or modern village

Some philosophers see the business enterprise as a means of transmitting social
justice, as a kind of mini-republic. This is especially true of contract and
stakeholder theorists. Those who view a business as being primarily someone's
property would reject this view. While they might well believe that the net
effect of people disposing and exchanging their property freely will ultimately
be beneficial to society as a whole, they would argue that even if this were not
the case, one ought not to limit another's freedom to dispose of his property as
he likes, that is, unless it is harmful to others.

Regardless of how one thinks about these matters, it is undeniable that that a
business enterprise represents an increasingly important part of people's
lives, especially the employees working there, for, in many ways, the business
constitutes a person's principal social group, and it amounts to a replacement
for the village or tribe that was the central social setting for our ancestors.
In many ways, one's affiliation with a business is the most important social
institution most of us have outside of the family.

4.7 The ontology of the business enterprise

What makes a business a business? We take for granted that a business is a
profit-making entity. How, then, are we to characterize a business that is run
only for the benefit of the people who buy from it, for example, a so-called
co-operative? Similarly, how might we characterize an insurance business that
is owned by its clients, as in the case of a mutual insurance company? Do the
owners of insurance policies buy them primarily for a profit? What about
charitable enterprises, such as Goodwill Industries, or religious organizations
such as Trinity Broadcasting Network? Are all of these organizations businesses
in the same sense as, say, General Motors is?

What is it that fundamentally distinguishes a business from other kinds of
organizations, say, governmental organizations. For example, how could we
characterize quasi-governmental organizations such as the U.S. Post Office and
Amtrak, which are supposed to be self-sustaining, even profitable (for
reinvestment, reducing or eliminating taxpayer subsidy, reserves)? Would we
call such organizations businesses? One might suggest that these are run for
the benefit of society, whereas a business is to satisfy the interests of its
owners. However, is it not the case that society owns the government? One also
would have to ask, how is one entity's satisfying the various interests of some
segment of society substantially different from another entity's making a profit
that also satisfies various interests, sometimes even the same ones?

What about a person who trades his labor in return for a wage. Is he also in
business? After all, he is putting up risk capital, in the sense that he's
giving up his time...an opportunity cost...and even making an investment of
himself, his labor. He is performing a service, just as a business does. His
employer is, in a sense, a customer, someone whom he must satisfy. And the
employee markets himself, his skills, either to get a job or to get ahead. He
has either an explicit or implicit performance agreement, a contract. He even
hopes that his revenues will exceed his expenses, which is to say, that his
efforts will be profitable. Does this, therefore, make every laborer a business
person?

In other words, a philosopher might reasonably ask, what constitute the
essential and distinguishing characteristics of a business enterprise. Perhaps
it ends up being something as simple as being one or more persons engaged in
any number of possible exchanges that satisfies any number of possible
interests in an intentional, organized, planned manner. In any case, these are
at least some of the questions one might ask about the ontology of a business.

4.8 The epistemology and logic of business

In the epistemology of business, we ask what are business facts and how do we
come to know them? What constitutes business knowledge versus mere belief? As
in other aspects of life, in business we acquire our knowledge through
empirical study, from which we draw conclusions using inductive or deductive
methods. We verify (or falsify) our hypotheses through testing, and thereby
develop business theories, organized explanations of the facts. To what extent
is what we purport to be business knowledge...other than that which is
relatively trivial...reliable or veridical?

Business relies heavily on inductive reasoning, which assumes a uniformity of
nature, such that the future is assumed to resemble the past. This, of course,
is problematic, especially when considering the complexity involved in
adequately factoring in the effects of customers, competitors, legislative and
regulatory encumbrances, employees, environmental and climatic hazards, war,
new technology, and so forth, into useful quantitative formulae. It is
impossible to bind all of the variables for making probabilistic judgments on
many of the most important business problems with a high degree of confidence.
For this reason (among others)...because of the number of variables and the
sheer unpredictability of outcomes...there is a rather considerable risk of
failure in business; conversely, there would seem to be a rather high degree of
luck in achieving success, or putting it in the vernacular, being at the right
place at the right time. This relates to the simple fact that business
knowledge is highly tentative, and subject to error or obsolescence. One

The philosopher of business might also reasonably ask, to what extent does
intuition play a role in our business knowledge. What does it mean to have "a
gut feeling" about a business matter, and how is it useful. Is there even such
a thing as business intuition, or is it simply a matter of internalizing
knowledge through a variety of experiences, such that it seems intuitive. At
the very least, a great many managers and marketers would say that they operate
using their intuition a great deal, perhaps especially in dealing with people,
which, of course, leads us to inquire into the role of psychology.

5. Sources

(5.1 Publications)

5.2 External Links

Business Pathways, edited by Geoffrey Klempner, [1]
http://www.isfp.co.uk/businesspathways/issue5.html

Peter Drucker web site, [2]
http://www.peter-drucker.com/

-end-

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License
http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html

Wikipedia article 'Philosophy of Business'
Revision Date 1 Dec 2004
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_business
The article is reproduced here with no alterations apart from spelling
corrections and minor changes to punctuation.

-=-

III. PHILOSOPHY OF MANAGEMENT 05: CALL FOR PAPERS

     Third International Conference
     St Anne's College, Oxford
     6 - 10 July 2005

Organised by Philosophy of Management (formerly Reason in Practice)

This third international conference open to all follows the successful
Practising Philosophy of Management conference at St Anne's College in summer
2004 which attracted delegates from 20 countries. It will be of special
interest to philosophers, management researchers and teachers, consultants and
practising managers.

Following feedback from this year's conference at St Anne's we are designing an
event to offer a similar pace and ambience. The emphasis will be on unhurried
presentation of papers and discussion, high-quality supportive interaction and
feedback, ample opportunity for networking and a gathering in which all
participants can pursue informal, rich conversations and the continuing
exploration of shared concerns. To this end, participants will be limited to 75
plus any Plenary speakers.

Sessions will include an informal 'meet the board' workshop where themes and
approaches to writing and teaching philosophy of management will be explored.

Contributions are invited on any aspect of philosophy of management and from
within any cultural or philosophical tradition. The committee will especially
welcome papers, panels and workshops on the relationship between philosophy and
management practice.

All papers will appear in the Conference Proceedings and a selection of revised
papers will be published in a forthcoming issue of Philosophy of Management.

PURPOSE

Philosophical engagement with management theory and practice and the issues
managers face continues to develop as the need becomes more evident. This
Conference will provide an opportunity for theorists and practitioners to
present new work in the philosophy of management to an international audience,
engage with philosophical and practical issues in management within and across
cultures and experience the power of philosophical skills and methods in
practice.

CONFERENCE FORMAT

   * Plenary sessions with invited leading speakers
     
   * Presentations of papers in parallel sessions
     
   * Workshops, panel discussions and interviews
     
   * Poster presentations
     
   * Practitioner workshops including items such as:
     
    - Workshops offering participants the opportunity to
      experience or observe philosophical processes and
      techniques in use by managers
     
    - Case studies of the application of philosophical thinking
      and techniques in management practice and management
      development
     
    - Demonstrations of philosophical methods and materials
      used with managers
     
SCOPE

Practical and theoretical contributions in any of the above formats are invited
on any aspect of philosophy of management including:

   1. Presuppositions of management theory and practice
     
   2. Concepts employed in management thinking and practice
     
   3. Representations of management and the managerial myths
      informing management theory and practice
     
   4. Management methodologies
     
   5. The relevance and applicability of philosophical
      techniques and skills to management education, training
      and practice
     
   6. The application of philosophical disciplines to issues
      facing managers
     
STREAMS

In keeping with the conference approach we especially welcome contributions
which reflect philosophically on experience and practice, and which explicitly
link theory to practice.

We also invite participants to propose collaborative formats for their
sessions: eg paper, prepared reply and moderated discussion; contrasting
approaches to an issue with papers from theorists and practitioners.
Contributors are welcome to assemble small panels to offer a series of linked
papers.

Themes you may wish to consider:

   1. Philosophy and philosophising in the everyday world of
      work: its uses for organisations and individuals
     
   2. Notions of criticality in thinking within and about
      management
     
   3. Ethical issues for organisations and managers as
        individuals including work, careers, identity and meaning
     
   4. Management education: how can and do philosophy,
      philosophising and philosophers contribute?
     
   5. Epistemology of management: issues surrounding
      knowledge, learning, expertise, rationality, emotions,
      strategic thinking, decision making
     
   6. Political issues in management: corporate governance and
      responsibilities; stakeholders and shareholders; justice,
      democracy and representation at work; the applicability of
      political concepts to managed organisations
     
   7. The history of management ideas, their development and
      philosophical origins
     
   8. The impact of philosophy and philosophising on
      management theory, practice and effectiveness
     
   9. Specific philosophers and their contribution - actual or
      potential - to management theory and practice
     
   10. African, Asian, Indian, Latin American and other
      non-western philosophical approaches to management
     
   11. Feminist contributions to management theory and practice
     
   12. Understanding and managing processes of change: what
      can philosophical thinking tell us about why so many
      management change initiatives fail and why some succeed?
     
PUBLICATION

The official conference publication is Philosophy of Management (formerly
Reason in Practice) All papers will be considered for publication in the
Journal.

Journal website: http://www.managementphilosophers.com/

Important: Please note that Conference contributions can be accepted only on
condition that they have not been published or offered for publication
elsewhere and that Philosophy of Management has the right of first refusal to
publish them. Submission of a proposal or paper constitutes acceptance of this
condition.

LANGUAGE

The language of the conference will be English.

TO CONTRIBUTE...

Please submit a 500 - 1500 word proposal plus separate contact details and
brief cv AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Use email if possible to:

   Proposals05@managementphilosophers.com

Alternatively, send 3 paper copies to:

   Nigel Laurie
   Philosophy of Management
   74a Station Road East
   Oxted
   Surrey RH8 0PG UK

TIMETABLE

7 January   Proposals due [deadline extended for readers
            of Philosophy for Business]

7 February  Contributors informed of acceptance

22 April    Full papers due

6 May       Notification of conference streams, session dates
            and times, etc

4 June      Final paper text due in electronic form for inclusion
            in proceedings

11 June     Despatch of conference programme and full set of
            abstracts to all participants

6-10 July   Conference

Please note that the full proceedings cd rom will be available at the
conference. Speakers will speak to their abstracts which will be issued by
email on 11 June.

Conference booking details will be available shortly.

If you have not already done so, send a blank email to:

   alerts@managementphilosophers.com

Or post your contact details to:

   Oxford Conference
   Philosophy of Management
   74a Station Road East
   Oxted Surrey RH8 0PG UK

ORGANISING COMMITTEE

Nelarine Cornelius: Brunel University
Paul Griseri: University College London
Nigel Laurie: Philosophy of Management (Chair)
Jim Platts: Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge University

For a pdf of a poster for local display please send a blank email to:

   Poster05@managementphilosophers.com

Please forward this to anyone who would be interested. Thank you.

A copy of this cfp is also at:

   http://www.managementphilosophers.com/Oxford%202005%20Home.htm


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