Restoring the Human Side of Business
The business machine is broken. Strip away the mechanistic view of management and humanize the firm once again.
This executive dossier includes the following articles:
Putting People First
Andreu Civit, Rafael; Rosanas Martí, Josep Maria
The litany of institutional, market and leadership failures that precipitated one of the worst economic crises in modern history is staggering. Yet efforts by policy makers and business leaders to improve matters have so far fallen short of what’s truly needed, and do little but tinker at the very edges of the economic system. This article makes seven key recommendations to move us toward a more humanistic model of management, placing human values and social relationships back at the core of business. By tackling the deeper malaise troubling modern business management, the authors seek to redefine the current business paradigm, and they propose a stronger model of management that would enable the business world to flourish once again.
The Value of Values
Many managers argue that, in principle, they would like to give employees more room for development and creativity, but given the urgent challenges resulting from the instability of domestic and global financial markets, they must focus on efficiency and cost cutting instead. But do humanistic principles and superior business performance really contradict each other? This article looks at some humanistic leadership principles underpinning successful organizations. It offers guidelines for managers on how humanistic leadership can renew an organization’s direction, structure and capabilities, while also winning over employees, whose support is critical for success. The author suggests the factors that are hugely important for managing organizational change initiatives effectively. Finally, she summarizes existing research indicating that humanistic or ethically oriented leadership – often termed transformational leadership – can be linked to positive economic performance.
Pirson, Michael; Turnbull, Shann
Many attempts are being made to improve corporate governance in the wake of the financial crisis. But few seem to be tackling the real issue: that our top-down paradigms, rooted in transactional, unitary, economistic notions, need to be completely rewritten in favor of a more humanistic model. Citing examples such as the John Lewis Partnership and Mondragón Corporation, the authors propose the adoption of network governance, which they say would allow for greater self-regulation, self-governance, cooperation and communication among all stakeholders. They identify the many conflicts and shortcomings of the traditional single-board system, before showing how network governance can provide a solution to these problems. By instituting a series of checks and balances, a system of having multiple boards would prevent power abuse, as well as cultivate transparency and trust. For a sustainable and truly humanistic society to flourish, the authors urge companies to do their part by changing the way corporate governance actually works.