Exclusive pre-publishing offer for Teal TATW2023 participants



The purpose of this pre-edition is to invite comments from interested readers: please do share your views on content, formatting, general usefulness; any short testimonials for the book or the website; or if you are interested in future collaborations.

You can reach the authors and the editorial team by email at: goodorganisations@inbox.lv

Please note that this version of the booklet is not destined for general publishing.

Therefore, please do not circulate the PDF file further.

Note: This current version of the booklet has not been fully edited. This means it has not yet been fully checked for orthographic errors, references and citations, or gross content issues. 

What is in the booklet

Preface: How Can We Be Good?

What is good?
What is a good organization?
How to be a good leader and transform our organisations for good?

Wonder, suggested Socrates, is the beginning of wisdom. After having engaged in our Good Organisation inquiry for almost two years we believe the old philosopher was right. If we want to become better leaders of ourselves and others, we must begin by wondering more often, and learn to be a bit more philo-sophical.

Of course, as leaders, we cannot stop at contemplation. We must combine better thinking with better action, in order to become what Aristotle called practically wise. In simple terms, practical wisdom is our capacity to make good jugments in presence of uncertainty. It requires us to carefully examine a situation we might encounter; to understand the often-conflicting values at stake; to responsibly judge all available options, and to enact "the best” we can bring to life. Thus, practical wisdom entails a strong commitment to create a better future through our own becoming. We become our best self through acting.

But to attain such wisdom is not easy. We must be able to look behind those often-hegemonic discourses, ideologies, concepts and theories - especially in our beloved management “science”. Far too often are we taking a simplistic and instrumental logic for granted, seeking cover under the alleged neutrality of science, or resorting to those ritualized financial predictions and evaluations that equate shareholder value maximization with perfect happiness.

Hence, we have created this little booklet to support “good leaders” on their journey to develop and sharpen their capacities. To be sure, our posts and articles do not intend to advance conclusive alternatives or final solutions. Instead, it wants to nurture critical thinking and keep alive those initial big questions, in order to avoid what Mats Alvesson calls “functional stupidity”. By fruitfully engaging with “liminal” perspectives we can learn to glance at what we think we already know from new angles. Much like that famous scene in “Dead Poet Society” when Robin Williams stands on the table to look at life from above: “Captain, my captain…”

A word of warning: undoubtedly, some of our posts are purposefully provocative and opinionated – however, it is certainly not our intention to hurt anyone’s personal beliefs, or even to sustain that all management problems are black-and-white. Rather, we want to show that many of our established truths are hiding some important other avenues of thinking that are worthy of consideration - our dominant discourses quickly crowd out other, softer voices and at times, it might take real courage and conviction to step into a position others might dislike.

But as leaders we can only make good choices if we see all the “doors” available for us. And sometimes, as the homonymous title of Scotty Peck’s classic reminds us, true leadership is to take the Road Less Travelled.

In this sense, we wish all readers and future leaders much good and joy on their personal leadership voyages, and hopefully some enlightening and thought-provoking conversations throughout this book.

Antoinette and Otti
Zurich and London, 2023 

How to get engaged

Join the movement!

Our intention is to co-create a multi-level engagement platform, across individuals, organisations and wider societal actors. We are looking for volunteers who are willing to spend a few hours of time per month to actively shape the future of (good) work:

1) Managers or team members: register your initiative to drive organisational transformation "for good". We will seek to provide you with relevant information and good practices, mentorships or knowledge exchange, and organise workshops to compare insights and learnings on specific pertinent management topics (E.g. performance management, org design, salary setting etc)

2) Activists: join us to organise specific events or campaigns to enable societal discourse and dialogue

3) HR and business leaders: in case you want to explore opportunities for collaboration, in order to shape your business transformation or senior leadership development and foster more "responsible" and ethical leadership, please get in touch

4) Coaches: we are starting to explore how to develop a more structured programme to enable leadership development. This will require coaching interventions and we are interested to discuss how to use coaching more ethically and systematically, to shape good leadership. In case of interest, please do let us know

5) Research: we are working on a number of specific (PhD) research topics: virtue ethics in business, wise/virtuous leadership (incl. practical wisdom and moral development), index and measures for good organisations etc. Please get in touch in case you are working in a similar area

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” - William James