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Editorial Introduction: Towards a More Humanistic Management



Editorial Introduction: Towards a More Humanistic Management Dome`nec Mele´ In one of his books, Peter Drucker, considered by many as the father of modern management, pre- sented these rhetorical questions: ‘‘What is man- agement? Is it a bag of techniques and tricks? A bundle of analytical tools like those taught in busi- ness schools? (1990, pp. 220–221). His answer was unequivocal: ‘‘Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint perfor- mance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant. This is what organization is about, and it is the reason that management is the critical, determining factor’’ (1990, p. 221). However, then and now, in many business schools, with respectable exceptions including that of my own school, analytical tools are still central, and a certain reductionism in the consideration of the human is still dominant (Ghoshal, 2005). Underlying such tools, there are theories, such as Agency Theory and Transaction Cost Economics, strongly anchored in the economic paradigm. A New Manifesto for Management was presented at the turn of the millennium. Its authors wrote: ‘‘between the sound logic of efficiency and the harsh reality of human frailties and pathologies, it is no wonder that the dominant doctrine focuses managers’ attention almost exclusively on concerns of appropriation and control. The resulting patho- logical economic role for companies and individuals should also be no surprise. It follows naturally from the premise that ‘markets rule’ that any and all failures to heed the market’s corrective discipline are likely to be futile for firms and individuals and inefficient for society’’ (Ghoshal et al., 1999, p. 12). The current financial crisis confirms these words and makes a revision of the limits of the ‘‘market rule’’ urgent and also compels us to re-think the role of management and its dominant economic paradigm. In the economic par

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