“We need to think not only about what is the right, but about what is good. How can business build something that is actually good. We need to understand how the right and the good can work together.” – Ed Freeman

SEASON 2: "Leading for good"

Today's world is complex and defies simple answers. In order to progress, we need to reflect and explore, unlearn and rediscover, and engage with our heads, hearts, hands and souls. Together, we need to learn how to become the conscious and caring leaders humanity needs.

In our interview series “Leaders for Humanity” we plan to ask global thought leaders three simple questions: a) What is Good?, b) What is a Good Organisation?, c) How can we become Good, individually and collectively? Our hope is that, over time, these dialogues will help to shape and guide our evolving narrative. And we are extremely proud to present you an exceptional group of thought leaders in our "second Season"!

For each interview you will find pre-readings and transcripts, pointers to further work, and our notes. Hopefully you will enjoy the sessions as much as we do!

Never miss an interview! Just go to YouTube and subscribe to our Good Organisations channel for all upcoming interviews and all our new videos!

Jump directly to the recordings (available once published)



The Tipping Point:Can Stakeholder Theory Save Our Planet?

NOW AVAILABLE: The recording & some of our preferred quotes

You can find the full transcript of the video at the bottom. Please note it is automatically generated and hence will contain spelling mistakes.
Podcast version of the webcast on Spotify
Podcast version of the webcast on Anchor
Podcast version of the webcast on Anchor
The transcript is generated automatically via AI and might contain small errors

pre-reading, links and selected materials

Keywords: stakeholder theory, CSR, stakeholder capitalism, common good, business ethics, care ethics, pragmatism, ethical leadership, just capitalism, Rorty, Dewey, positivism, empiricism, sociotechnical systems,  network organisations

Ed's website with lots of interesting information

A site with lots of information on stakeholder theory, including Ed's brilliant TEDx video mentioned in the interview.

Overview of Ed Freeman's articles on Google Scholar

Resources on Stakeholder Theory, including Ed's stimulating Tedx presentation mentioned during the interview

Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that considers words and thought as tools and instruments for prediction, problem solving, and action, and rejects the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality.

Drawing on various pragmatists Frank Martela is outlining how pragmatism can be seen as an attitude: “Pragmatism, in contrast, ”unstiffens all our theories”, treats them as instruments that are used for certain purposes and that are always open to be molded in the future (Ibid., 26). Pragmatism as an attitude for James is an attitude that denounces all ”supposed necessities” (Ibid., 27), accepts the contingency of stream of experiencing, and instead anchors the value of theories, ideas and concepts to their practical bearings in human life.” 

In this chapter, we argue that the moral foundation of the descriptive pillar, pragmatism, provides a moral foundation for twenty-first century stakeholder theory. As we show, pragmatism and its close cousin pluralism fits a stakeholder theory concerned with the descriptive questions that characterize current work in stakeholder theory. Pragmatism and pluralism both see eudemonia, or human flourishing, as the outcome of moral choice. Stakeholder theory also advances an agenda of human flourishing, as positive relationships between businesses and their stakeholders contributes to individual and societal eudemonia

We bring the distinct and complementary existentialist perspectives of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir to bear on the phenomenon of moral disengagement in managerial decision-making. Existentialist thinking is a rich source of insight on this phenomenon, because—as we demonstrate—the concept of moral disengagement overlaps significantly with the notion of ‘a consciousness in bad faith’in Sartre’s writing, and the notion of ‘not willing oneself free’in De Beauvoir’s writing.

Values are central to the idea of “responsible leadership” and most modern discussions of business ethics are connected in a variety of ways to the concept of “values.” While there are several feasible ways to interpret the idea of “values,” most accounts assume that it makes sense to talk about both individual and corporate values. 1 Indeed, in recent times, business ethicists have proposed that we stop separating “business” from “ethics” and instead integrate values into our basic understanding of how we create value and trade with each other.

Pragmatists believe that philosophical inquiry must engage closely with practice to be useful and that practice serves as a source of social norms. As a growing alternative to the analytic and continental philosophical traditions, pragmatism is well suited for research in business ethics, but its role remains underappreciated. This article focuses on Richard Rorty, a key figure in the pragmatist tradition. We read Rorty as a source of insight about the ethical and political nature of business practice in contemporary global markets, focusing specifically on his views about moral sentiments, agency, and democratic deliberation.

In this article, we will outline the principles of stakeholder capitalism and describe how this view rejects problematic assumptions in the current narratives of capitalism. Traditional narratives of capitalism rely upon the assumptions of competition, limited resources, and a winner-take-all mentality as fundamental to business and economic activity. These approaches leave little room for ethical analysis, have a simplistic view of human beings, and focus on value-capture rather than value-creation.

Interview with Ed Freeman: “We discussed some of the accompanying critiques of stakeholder capitalism that have been frequent over the past couple weeks, whether alleging the approach is misguided, impossible to truly achieve, or nothing more than “woke” nonsense. To him, these are variations of the same arguments that have existed for decades, from critics who are unwilling or unable to see shareholder and stakeholder value as linked. He also believes that the stakeholder movement has momentum beyond a tipping point. “There’s no going back,” he said.

Although stakeholder theory and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have evolved into major theoretical frameworks for exploring social issues in management, there is a limited and often misleading understanding of the relationship between them that inhibits the management field from adopting a social orientation to a full extent.

The Business Roundtable recently issued a statement defining the purpose of the corporation in stakeholder terms, a direct and intended reversal from an earlier statement that defined the duty of directors as serving the interests of stockholders. In this editorial, we briefly describe the major twists and turns in the stockholders-versus-stakeholders debate that make this statement so significant to management theory and practice.

American Pragmatism and responsible management: The role of John Dewey. Each profession, along with requiring from its members specific skills and knowledge, also imposes on them duties and responsibilities. Responsibilities in management come both in a narrow sense–responsibility to the profession, and in a broader sense–responsibility to the society where the profession is given an opportunity to thrive.

Freeman discusses how responsible management might help to overcome the ‘management sucks’ narrative by reinventing management.

This paper aims to integrate insights from psychoanalytic theory into business ethics research on the sources of ethical failures within organizations. We particularly draw from the analysis of sources and outcomes of neurotic processes that are part of human development, as described by the psychoanalyst Karen Horney and more recently by Manfred Kets de Vries; we interpret their insights from a stakeholder theory perspective.

The purpose of this chapter is to examine an approach to both business and business ethics that has come to be called “stakeholder theory.”

The authors argue that stakeholder theory has retained certain "masculinist" assumptions from the wider business literature that limit its usefulness. The resources of feminist thought, specifically the work of Carol Gilligan, provide a means of reinterpreting the stakeholder concept in a way that overcomes many of the existing limitations.

Organization Studies and the New Pragmatism: Positivism, Anti-Positivism, and the Search for Ethics (Andrew C. Wicks and R. Edward Freeman 1998)

By positioning stake-holder pragmatism more in line with the democratic and ethical base in American pragmatism (as developed by William James, John Dewey and Richard Rorty), the article sets forth a fallibilistic stakeholder pragmatism that seeks to be more useful to companies by expanding the ways in which value is and can be created in a contingent world.  (Tommy Jensen, 2012)

Stakeholder theory begins with the assumption that values are necessarily and explicitly a part of doing business. It asks managers to articulate the shared sense of the value they create, and what brings its core stakeholders together. It also pushes managers to be clear about how they want to do business, specifically what kinds of relationships they want and need to create with their stakeholders to deliver on their purpose.

This (upcoming) book is a collection of Ed Freeman’s most influential and important works on stakeholder theory as well as business ethics, humanities, and capitalism.

Other resources mentioned during the interview

Transaction cost economics (TCE), and more specifically the version of TCE that has been developed by Oliver Williamson, has become an increasingly important anchor for the analysis of a wide range of strategic and organizational issues of considerable importance to firms. As argued by some of its key proponents. the theory aims not only to explain but also to influence practice (Masten, 1993). In this article. we argue that prescriptions drawn from this theory are likely to be not only wrong but also dangerous for corporate managers because of the assumptions and logic on which it is grounded.

An independent nonprofit equipping the market with the data, tools, and insights to deliver on the promise of stakeholder capitalism and an economy that works for all Americans

"Two Dogmas of Empiricism" is a paper by analytic philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine published in 1951. According to University of Sydney professor of philosophy Peter Godfrey-Smith, this "paper [is] sometimes regarded as the most important in all of twentieth-century philosophy".[1] The paper is an attack on two central aspects of the logical positivists' philosophy: the first being the analytic–synthetic distinction between analytic truths and synthetic truths, explained by Quine as truths grounded only in meanings and independent of facts, and truths grounded in facts; the other being reductionism, the theory that each meaningful statement gets its meaning from some logical construction of terms that refer exclusively to immediate experience.

“Two Dogmas” was to demonstrate that logical positivism was possible solely due to unjustified assumptions. Quine aimed to point out that the rescuing of empiricism was possible only if another, holistic approach was accepted. (Artur Koterski)

The question of the relationship of the making of value judgments in a typically ethical sense to the methods and procedures of science has been discussed in the literature at least to that point which e. e. cummings somewhere refers to as "The Mystical Moment of Dullness." Nevertheless, albeit with some trepidation, I feel that something more may fruitfully be said on the subject.  (Richard Rudner)

Jim Collins — A Rare Interview with a Reclusive Polymath | The Tim Ferriss Show (Podcast/youtube)

Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational work design that recognizes the interaction between people and technology in workplaces. The term also refer to coherent systems of human relations, technical objects, and cybernetic processes that inhere to large, complex infrastructures. Social society, and its constituent substructures, qualify as complex sociotechnical systems. The term sociotechnical systems was coined by Eric Trist, Ken Bamforth and Fred Emery, based on their work with workers in English coal mines at the Tavistock Institute in London.

As value chains become longer with increases in outsourcing and subcontracting, the challenges of fixing responsibility become more difficult. Using concepts from the literature on social networks, this paper considers issues of diffusion of responsibility and plausible deniability in such relationships. Specifically, this paper isolates three sources of denial of – or defense against – attributions of responsibility: connection, control and knowledge. (Robert A. Phillips)

Many parallels can be drawn between organizational and individual pathologies. We believe that the fantasies of top executives and the neurotic styles to which they give rise are important determinants of the nature of organizational dysfunctions. (Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Danny Miller)

For the past 2000 years, the dominant morality in the West, according to Nietzsche, has been an “anti-natural” morality, which, in his words, turns “against the instincts of life”. Nietzsche foresaw this morality as reigning over the Western world for the foreseeable future, and was to him “the danger of dangers” – a morality in which all individuals, even those with the potential to rise above the mediocre mass, are pressured into becoming a "herd animal".  (video)

"I am therefore almost inclined to suggest that you require from your laureates an oath of humility, a sort of hippocratic oath, never to exceed in public pronouncements the limits of their competence. Or you ought at least, on conferring the prize, remind the recipient of the sage counsel of one of the great men in our subject, Alfred Marshall, who wrote: 'Students of social science, must fear popular approval: Evil is with them when all men speak well of them'".

How to lead in a world where leadership extends to a whole range of stakeholders inside and outside an organization

by Nicola Pless (Editor), Thomas Maak (Editor)

The Power of And offers a new narrative about the nature of business, revealing the focus on responsibility and ethics that unites today’s most influential ideas and companies.

by R. Edward Freeman (Author), Bidhan L. Parmar (Author), Kirsten Martin (Author)

Business can be understood as a system of how we create value for stakeholders. This worldview connects business and capitalism with ethics once and for all.

by R. Edward Freeman (Author)

This book examines the body of research related to Stakeholder Theory and assesses its relevance for our understanding of modern business.

by R. Edward Freeman (Author)

This book offers a case-study approach to stakeholder theory that moves beyond theoretical analysis to the applied.

by R. Edward Freeman (Editor), Johanna Kujala (Editor), Sybille Sachs (Editor)

This book presents a number of tools that managers can use to implement stakeholder thinking, better understand stakeholders and create value with and for them.

by R. Edward Freeman (Author), Jeffery S. Harrison (Author), Stelios Zyglidopoulos (Author)

This book presents a method that might be called an Aristotelian common-sense approach to ethical decision making.

by Ronald Duska (Author), Norman E. Bowie (Editor), Patricia H. Werhane (Editor)

The Blackwell Guide to Business Ethics acquaints the reader with theoretical and pedagogical ethical issues in the practice of business

Norman E. Bowie

Managing for Stakeholders helps leaders develop a mindset that asks the Value Creation Question: How can we create as much value as possible for all of our stakeholders?

by R Edward Freeman (Author), Jeffrey S Harrison (Author), Andrew C Wicks (Author)

Although it is on occasion useful to distinguish between factual claims and value judgments, it positively harmful when identified with a dichotomy between objective and purely "subjective."

by Hilary Putnam (Author)

In A Theory of Justice Rawls assumed a "well-ordered society". Now Rawls asks how a just society can live in concord when divided by reasonable but incompatible doctrines?

by John Rawls (Author)

Marking a new stage in the evolution of his thought, Rorty’s final masterwork identifies anti-authoritarianism as the principal impulse and virtue of pragmatism.

by Richard Rorty (Author)

The best professionals rely less on formulas learned in graduate school than on the kind of improvisation learned in practice.

by Donald A. Schön (Author)

Plato brought a richness and complexity to common ideas about the nature and purpose of leadership. Rather than attempting to give a single 'one-size-fits-all' definition, his strategy was to break it into its different strands.

by Dominic Scott (Author), R. Edward Freeman (Author)

In Development as Freedom Amartya Sen explains how in a world of unprecedented increase in overall opulence millions of people living in the Third World are still unfree.

by Amartya Sen (Author)

This book is about humanizing business. The volume travels outside the world of business to explore what Humanities – such as Philosophy, History, Literature, Creative Arts, and Cultural Studies – can offer to business.

by Michel Dion (Editor), R. Edward Freeman (Editor), Sergiy D. Dmytriyev (Editor)

Standing at the crossroads of psychology and religion, this catalyzing work applied the scientific method to a field abounding in abstract theory.

by William James (Author), Martin E Marty (Introduction, Editor)

If you have philosophical inclinations and want a good workout, this conscientious scrutiny of moral assumptions and expressions will be most rewarding.

by Alan Donagan (Author)

our key takeaways

The Best Bits from Leaders for Humanity with Ed Freeman

In our interview, we examine both theoretical bases and practical implications of a pragmatic “stakeholder approach” to business ethics, in contrast to CSR and other models. We examine the need to develop a better narrative for business and discuss how a new purpose and strategy can be effectively operationalised. We also discuss the development of ethical leadership and the role of business schools. What resultated was a truly brilliant and vibrant conversation.
leaders for humanity season 2


Spiral Dynamics Continued: From Democracy towards Crowdocracy

NOW AVAILABLE: The recording & some of our preferred quotes

You can find the full transcript of the video at the bottom. Please note it is automatically generated and hence will contain spelling mistakes.
Podcast version of the webcast on Spotify
Podcast version of the webcast on Anchor
The transcript is generated automatically via AI and might contain small errors

pre-reading, links and selected materials

Keywords: spiral dynamics, organisational change, wisdom, wisdom of the crowds, democracy, teal, holacracy, sociocracy, crowdocracy, leadership development, vertical development, 4D Leadership, moral development

Complete Coaching and Development. Several white papers also at: https://complete-coherence.com/white-papers/

Further resources and information about Alan on video

Dr. Alan Watkins, founder of Complete Coherence, introduces the key phases of human development and explains why poor emotional control is holding back progress. He asks us to imagine a world where we never have to feel anything we don’t want to feel; where we have complete control of what we feel and when we feel it.

Alan's TEDx talk about brilliance every single day

Another one of Alan's TEDx talk about solving the toughest issues today

Dr. Alan Watkins, physician, psychologist, immunologist and co-author of 'HR (R)Evolution: Change The Workplace, Change The World', takes HR leaders to task on dealing with mental health and lights a path to a brighter future for mental health in the workplace.

We must develop the emotional skills to survive and lead through any disruption.

Ted Talk by Sheena Iyengar. Alan recommended it when he spoke about identity, collectivism and individualism in the East and the West

We mentioned Neighborocracy as an interesting phenomenon in India addressing the failure of democracies.

Some interesting information about the famous parable of the blind men and an elephant

Ted Talk by Sheena Iyengar. Alan recommended it when he spoke about identity, collectivism and individualism in the East and the West

Some diagrams from Alan's books that illustrate the concepts mentioned during the interview. Many thanks to Jack Watkins for having kindly provided these!

Connecting the interview with other dialogues
We mention Bill's leadership development methodology in the interview - you can find our interview with Bill and many related resources and references, as well as several of his books for free download on our Season 1 web page
We mention Emanuele's work on comparative organisational development - you can find extensive resources on sociocracy, holacracy, Rendanheyi etc in the references related to our interview
We also reference our conversation with Paul about Democratic Socialism. You can find more materials, including our discussion about the challenge of "scaling" decentralised governance systems there.

Link to Bryan Ungard's fantastic website, curated by Beatrice Ungard. We mention Bryan, the former Chief Purpose Officer of Decurion, in the context of "Deliberately Developmental Organisations" (Decurion is referenced in Bob Kegan's book). In Bryan's interpretation - and contrary to the concept of "learning" - the notion of "development"  is primarily about "Letting Go". You will find some of Bryan's insightful and thought-provoking presentations here.

Vertical Development refers to advancement in a person’s thinking capability. The outcome of vertical stage development is the ability to think in more complex, systemic, strategic, and interdependent ways. It is about how you think, which we can measure through stage development interviews and surveys.

There is an important difference between helping a leader grow and trying to force her to. Horizontal growth within a stage is just as important as vertical growth beyond a stage. Your job is not to force development on someone. Your job is to create the right conditions in which someone can grow. Challenge and support, but don’t force

In case interested in the notion of "transpersonal leadership", you can find many of John Knight's interesting resources here - built around his renowned book "leading beyond the ego"

We are mentioning several challenges to the concept of "Spiral Dynamics" and also our previous work on "Why Teal is Wrong". Below further information and selected critical perspectives - always in the spirit of enhancing our capacity for critical thinking...

Kenneth Earl Wilber II (born January 31, 1949) is an American philosopher and writer on transpersonal psychology and his own integral theory, a philosophy which suggests the synthesis of all human knowledge and experience. Wilber is credited with broadening the appeal of a "perennial philosophy" to a much wider audience. Cultural figures as varied as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Deepak Chopra, Richard Rohr, and musician Billy Corgan have mentioned his influence. However, Wilber's approach has been criticized as excessively categorizing and objectifying, masculinist, commercializing spirituality, and denigrating of emotion.

Presentation from the Teal Around The World summit 2021 going into some depth about some challenges with the "philosophy behind" Teal #TATW21

„We need to start the transformation with ourselves“ - New Work, Agile, Teal – there are many initiatives for a new future of work. Otti Vogt, until recently COO and Chief Transformation Officer C&G at ING, and Prof. Dr. Antoinette Weibel from the University of St. Gallen explain in this interview why these have not yet achieved broad transformational power and how things could be improved.

A Timely Laloux Retrospective: Why Teal is Wrong! (And Why You Should Care) - Since the publication of Frederic Laloux's Reinventing Organizations in 2014, "Teal" has become a hopeful utopia for its passionate followers in the global future-of-work community. Seven years later many find their dreams shattered, as the book’s revolutionary vision rests on patchy premises.

For nearly two decades, the theory of Spiral Dynamics has been used to dynamically model human evolution and information systems. In that time, however, many different versions and applications of the model have emerged. This article will diachronically trace the history of Spiral Dynamics, from the foundational theory of Clare Graves to its initial introduction by Don Beck and Chris Cowan and subsequent adaptation by Ken Wilber. A brief exploration of the various camps and their competing interpretations of Spiral Dynamics will permit some critical analysis of the model itself. (Butters)

Major proponents of Spiral Dynamics claim that Graves’ Levels of Existence are scientific. In reality Graves has only
published one article on his Levels of Existence in a scientific journal. (Graves 1970) This article itself is devoid of any scientific data. The lack of scientific data makes Spiral Dynamics a pseudoscience. (Joost van der Leij)

Spiral Dynamics contradicts physics and biology, and the proponents try to give the impression of it being science-based, and do not accept the scientific method. The claim that we will be the first species to let go of our competitive nature is as unsubstantiated as it is ridiculous. (Vermeren)

We need to change our view of change and see it for the opportunity it really is. Step Change: The Leader’s Journey helps leaders to become gifted and skilful at moving through the change process

by Alan Watkins (Author)

Wicked & Wise is the compelling launch title in a groundbreaking new series exploring hotly debated issues facing the planet and its people, and offering unique ways to tackle seemingly intractable social and cultural challenges.

by Alan Watkins (Author), Ken Wilber (Author)

Most leaders are operating nowhere near their optimal level of performance. In this book, Dr Alan Watkins helps leaders at every level understand how they can transform their output and unlock their true potential.

by Alan Watkins (Author)

Crowdocracy: The End of Politics discusses one of the world’s most debated and critical issues – who decides our futureand how should we be governed?

by Alan Watkins (Author), Iman Stratenus (Author)

Businesses spend billions on innovation with very little to show for their investment or effort. This book challenges some of the ‘ingrained truths’ of innovation and suggests a different approach.

by Alan Watkins (Author), Simon May (Author)

The HR (R)Evolution describes the "Seven Great Waves" of change and explains how each wave impacted business. It’s for leaders who recognise that people issues are the central challenge of our time.

by Alan Watkins (Author), Nick Dalton (Author)

Today's leaders need to change radically to meet the challenge of complex organizations. This requires a step-change in development in three fundamental dimensions: how you do things, who you are, and how you relate to other people.

by Alan Watkins (Author)

Spiral Dynamics (SD) is a model of the evolutionary development of individuals, organizations, and societies. It was initially developed by Don Edward Beck and Christopher Cowan based on the emergent cyclical theory of Clare W. Graves,

Don Edward Beck

Spiral Dynamics in Action explores the evolution of modern business, and provides a model for moving forward amidst ever-increasing complexity and change.

by Don Edward Beck (Author), Teddy Hebo Larsen (Author), Sergey Solonin (Author), Dr. Rica Viljoen (Author), Thomas Q. Johns (Author)

Business success depends on the ability to build trust. Trusted leaders inspire followers, grow companies, revenues, and futures. Sadly, deceit has infected business and become widespread.

by Alan Watkins (Author), Simon Jones (Author)

A provocative examination of how the great religious traditions can remain relevant in modern times by incorporating scientific truths learned about human nature over the last century.

by Ken Wilber (Author)

An edifying view of Buddhism from one of today's leading philosophers: a look at its history and foundational teachings, how it fits into modern society, and how it (and other world religions) will evolve.

by Ken Wilber (Author)

A provocative and balanced examination of our current social and political situation -- by a cutting-edge philosopher of our times.

by Ken Wilber (Author)

Wilber traces human development from infancy into adulthood and beyond, into those states described by mystics and spiritual adepts.

by Ken Wilber (Author)

A leader in transpersonal psychology presents the first truly integrative model of spiritual consciousness and Western developmental psychology

by Ken Wilber (Author)

A concise, comprehensive overview of the "M Theory" and its application in today's world, by a renowned American philosopher

by Ken Wilber (Author)

Ken Wilber explores the ways science, which seeks truth, and religion, which seeks meaning, might be reconciled to further human happiness.

by Ken Wilber (Author)

This masterfully crafted book interweaves conversations between Campbell and some of the people he inspired

by Joseph Campbell (Author)

Arguing that mature masculinity is not abusive or domineering, Moore and Gillette provide a Jungian introduction to the psychological foundations of a mature, authentic, and revitalized masculinity.

by Moore (Author), Robert (Author), Gillette (Author), Douglas (Author)

In most organizations nearly everyone is doing a second job no one is paying them for--namely, covering their weaknesses, trying to look their best, and managing other people's impressions of them.

by Robert Kegan (Author), Lisa Laskow Lahey (Author), Matthew L Miller (Author), Andy Fleming (Author), Deborah Helsing (Author)

Using ancient self-care techniques rediscovered by Herbert Benson, M.D., a pioneer in mind/body medicine for health and wellness, you can relieve your stress, anxiety, and depression

by MD Herbert Benson (Author), Miriam Z Klipper (Author)

ecisions taken by a large group, even if the individuals within the group aren't smart, are always better than decisions made by small numbers of 'experts'.

by James Surowiecki (Author)

This book asks why it is that the things we value most – from the environment to frontline workers to keeping children well fed and educated – are so often neglected by the market.

by Mark Carney (Author)

Margaret Heffernan shows in this eye-opening look at competition, that it regularly produces just what we don't want: rising levels of fraud, cheating, stress, inequality and political stalemate.

by Margaret Heffernan (Author)

This practical guide offers an approach to organizational change based on the possibility of a more desirable future, experience with the whole system, and activities that signal ""something different is happening this time."

by David L. Cooperrider (Author), Diana Whitney (Author)

Upswing is Robert Putnam's brilliant analysis of economic, social, cultural and political trends, showing how America went from an individualistic ‘I’ society to a more communitarian ‘We’ society and back again

by Robert D Putnam (Author), Shaylyn Romney Garrett (Author)

If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful.

by Nick Bostrom (Author)

our key takeaways

leaders for humanity season 2


Re-enchanting our Organisations: Making Work Meaningful

NOW AVAILABLE: The recording & podcast

You can find the full transcript of the video at the bottom. Please note it is automatically generated and hence will contain spelling mistakes.
Podcast version of the webcast on Spotify
Podcast version of the webcast on Anchor
The transcript is generated automatically via AI and might contain small errors

pre-reading, links and selected materials

Keywords: philosophy, psychology, positive psychology, SDT, significance, benevolence, self-realisation, eudaimonia, meaning of life, meaningfulness, meaningful work, relational ontology, pragmatism, happiness, well-being, caring connections

Overview of Frank's research

Insights and blog about Franks' book on the wonderful life.

In this article together with Frank Steger the existing literature is reviewed. Despite growing interest in meaning in life, many have voiced their concern over the conceptual refinement of the construct itself. Researchers seem to have two main ways to understand what meaning in life means: coherence and purpose, with a third way, significance, gaining increasing attention. Coherence means a sense of comprehensibility and one’s life making sense. Purpose means a sense of core goals, aims, and direction in life. Significance is about a sense of life’s inherent value and having a life worth living

Research on meaningful work has proliferated in recent years, with an increasing understanding of the centrality of meaningfulness for work-related motivation, commitment, and well-being. However, ambiguity around the main construct, ‘meaningful work’, has hindered this progress as various researchers have used partly overlapping, partly differing conceptualizations. To bring clarity to this issue, we examine a broad range of various definitions of meaningful work and come to argue that meaningfulness in the broadest sense is about work significance as an overall evaluation of work as regards whether it is intrinsically valuable and worth doing. (Article with Anne Pessi)

Article by W.A Kahn: People can use varying degrees of their selves, physically, cognitively, and emotionally, in work role performances, which has implications for both their work and experiences. The article describes and illustrates three psychological conditions—meaningfulness, safety, and availability— and their individual and contextual sources. These psychological conditions are linked to existing theoretical concepts, and directions for future research are described.
Beadle and Knight assume a virtue ethics perspective and seek to bring the insights of McIntyre together with empirical research on meaningful work.
In this article Richard Ryan and Frank Martela start with a discussion of eudaimonia as originally used by Aristotle and his contemporaries. We argue that eudaimonia should not be understood as referring to any kind of subjective experience or ‘richer feeling of happiness’ but is rather about a good and valued way of living that can produce happiness, vitality and wellness as its byproducts. Furthermore, eudaimonia is especially found in those manners of living and pursuits that reflect our positive human nature. Based on self-determination theory, we then suggest a number of ways of living that we see as good candidates for an eudaimonic way of living: pursuing intrinsic goals, living autonomously, being mindful, and being benevolent

Pro‐social behaviors have been associated with enhanced well‐being, but what psychological mechanisms explain this connection? Some theories suggest that beneficence—the sense of being able to give—inherently improves well‐being, whereas evidence from self‐determination theory (Weinstein & Ryan, 2010) shows that increases in well‐being are mediated by satisfaction of innate psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Here we simultaneously assess these two explanations. (Article with Richard Ryan)

Self-determination theory (SDT) maintains that an understanding of human motivation requires a consideration of innate psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. We discuss the SDT concept of needs as it relates to previous need theories, emphasizing that needs specify the necessary conditions for psychological growth, integrity, and well-being. (Article by Ed Deci and Richard Ryan)

Building on John Dewey’s work, this article develops a position where the fallible nature of all knowledge is acknowledged and the value of science is anchored to its ability to resolve genuine human problems. It is argued that this kind of ontological experientialism and epistemological fallibilistic instrumentalism offers the most original and defensible version of pragmatism as a philosophy of science.

M.J. Browns articles unfolds the core of Dewey’s philosophy of science which is his theory of inquiry—what he called “logic.” There is a major lacuna in the literature on this point, however: no contemporary philosophers of science have engaged with Dewey’s logical theory, and scholars of Dewey’s logic have rarely made connections with philosophy of science. This article aims to fill this gap, to correct some significant errors in the interpretation of key ideas in Dewey’s logical theory, and to show how Dewey’s logic provides resources for a philosophy of science.
J. Marco writes: "Abductive inference presents to our sight one of the most inscrutable poker faces imaginable. Indeed, it has recently been referred to as "the fundamental problem of contemporary epistemology". As it is probably the darkest aspect of the already mysterious phenomenon of human intelligence, the precise nature of the abductive inference continues to elude many of our best efforts at under- standing it. After all, it is in this form of inference that the creative powers of the human intellect meet reality most directly and shape the world to its own purposes; and one suspects that the level of difficulty passed in understanding even our own finite creativity is not too far off from that of understanding the analogous act carried out by god at the beginning of time."
Together with his former phd-supervisor Saarinen, Frank here writes: "Following the relational turn in psychoanalytic theorizing, the systems metaphor has increasingly become a part of the therapeutic vocabulary. This has led to a view of therapy as an ongoing process in which the mutual interplay between the analyst and the patient cocreates a systemic higher level dimension that is based on bidirectional and jointly coordinated, simultaneous forms of interaction that influence the mental processes and regulatory patterns of both of the participants thus creating possibilities for creative therapeutic interventions."
In his phd thesis Martela writes: "Connections with others make up the fabric of daily life within organizations. Caregiving – understood broadly – takes place on a daily basis. Engagement in such caring situations has been found to be highly beneficial for both the caregiver and the cared-for. (...) Four different types of caring situations are found: 1) Instrumental caretaking, in which some need is taken care of without either person being engaged in the situation, 2) unmet call for caring, in which the cared-for reaches out to form a connection with the caregiver who remains emotionally detached from the situation, 3) one-sided caregiving, in which the caregiver engages with the cared-for in a warm and tender way but the recipient of care remains disengaged, and 4) caring connection, in which both participants engage emotionally with each other, thus allowing for the formation of a reciprocal, high-quality connection between them.

Re-enchantment taps well into the current zeitgeist: The rising focus on emotions and post-material values also in organizational context. Enchantment is deeply tied to socially generated emotions. Our aim is to develop the concept of copassion, referring to the process of responding to the positive emotion of a fellow human being. Concepts are crucial as they shape our understanding of the world. Our core claim is relating to our colleagues’ positive emotions not only enables and maintains but also fosters enchantment at work. In this article, by laying the ground by discussing enchantment and the theoretical framework of intersubjectivity, we will link copassion to the physiological and evolutionary basis of humans, as well as explore its conceptual neighbors. (written with Anne Birgitta Pessi, Anna Martta Seppänen, Jenni Spännäri, Henrietta Grönlund, Frank Martela, Miia Paakkanen)

From 2013 until today, every time the World Happiness Report (WHR) has published its annual ranking of countries, the five Nordic countries–Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland–have all been in the top ten, with Nordic countries occupying the top three spots in 2017, 2018, and 2019. What exactly makes Nordic citizens so exceptionally satisfied with their lives? This is the question that this chapter aims to answer. (written together with Bent Greve, Bo Rothstein, Juho Saari)
The bureaucratic organizational structure has been recently challenged by a number of organizations that claim to offer employee emancipation and autonomy through self-management, self-organizing, or “holacracy.” To facilitate theorizing about such organizational-level self-management, I examine it as an ideal type of organizational form, comparing it to two more established organizational forms, Weberian bureaucracy and Mintzberg’s adhocracy.

Connecting the interview with other dialogues
Frank is also a pragmatist and it is interesting to compare the approaches of Ed Freeman and Frank Martela.
We discussed with Simon Western about the need for reenchantment of the world while Frank has written a paper on this topic. Plus both share a deep knowledge about care institutions.

Wonderful Life. Insights on Finding a Meaningful Existence.

by Frank Martela

The Meaning of Life. A Reader.

Edited by E.D. Klemke and Steven M. Cahn

Beyond Realism and Antirealism: John Dewey and the Neopragmatists.

by David L. Hildebrand

The Social Construction of Reality.

by J.R. Searle

Man's Search for Meaning

by Viktor E. Frankl

Dialogues of Plato

The Morality of Happiness

by Julia Annas

Systems Intelligence – A New Lens on Human Engagement and Action

edited by Raimo P. Hämäläinen and Esa Saarinen

Narcissus and Goldmund is contrasting the careers of two friends, one of whom goes on the road, tangled in the extremes of life, the other staying in the monastery and struggling to lead a life of spiritual denial.

by Hermann Hesse (Author)

Every weekend, in basements and parking lots across the country, young men with good white-collar jobs and absent fathers take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded for as long as they have to.

by Chuck Palahniuk (Author)

Willpower - 12 Tools For Doing The Right Thing

by Frank Martela

Escape from Freedom

by Erich Fromm

our key takeaways

The Best Bits from Leaders for Humanity with Frank Martela - Re-enchanting our Organisations: Making Work Meaningful

In our interview, we discuss the notion of morality in the context of John Dewey’s pragmatism, as well as similarities and differences between (psychological) self-determination theory and (philosophical) virtue ethics. We review how organisations can establish “caring connections” and “meaningfulness” at work, examine critical blockers on the way to becoming more self-managing organisations, and explore the relevance of emotions and systems intelligence on the journey.
leaders for humanity season 2

JANE DUTTON and monica worline

Positive Organisational Scholarship: From Suffering to Flourishing!

NOW AVAILABLE: The recording & podcast

You can find the full transcript of the video at the bottom. Please note it is automatically generated and hence will contain spelling mistakes.
Podcast version of the webcast on Spotify
Podcast version of the webcast on Anchor
The transcript is generated automatically via AI and might contain small errors

pre-reading, links and selected materials

Keywords: Positive organisational scholarship, compassion, high quality interactions, constructionism, positive leadership, thriving, courage, identity and identification, job crafting

Janes' private homepage with links to her areas of expertise, paper, blogs and much more

With a selection to her practical as well as scholarly activities.

A labor of love of many great compassion researchers!

Jane Dutton and Monica Worline have written "Awakening Compassion at Work" together. The bookpage features beautiful practical tips and "compassion wisdom".

Jane Dutton

A model is developed to explain how images of one's work organization shape the strength of his or her identification with the organization. We focus on two key organizational images: one based on what a member believes is distinctive, central, and enduring about his or her organization and one based on a member's beliefs about what outsiders think about the organization. According to the model, members assess the attractiveness of these images by how well the image preserves the continuity of their self-concept, provides distinctiveness, and enhances self-esteem.

We propose that employees craft their jobs by changing cognitive, task, and/or relational boundaries to shape interactions and relationships with others at work. These altered task and relational configurations change the design and social environment of the job, which, in turn, alters work meanings and work identity. We offer a model of job crafting that specifies (1) the individual motivations that spark this activity, (2) how opportunities to job craft and how individual work orientations determine the forms job crafting takes, and (3) its likely individual and organizational effects.

"Pop-Article" in HBR: Twenty years ago, the authors started studying job crafting — the act of altering your job to make it more meaningful. Since then, they’ve identified different forms this concept can take. They include: task crafting, which involves changing the type, scope, sequence, and number of tasks that make up your job; relational crafting, where you alter who you interact with in your work; and cognitive crafting, where you modify the way you interpret the tasks and/or work you’re doing. The authors share stories of three individuals that illustrate what each of these types look like and how employees were able to make their jobs more meaningful and engaging.

From the forefathers of all job design research (Oldham and Hackman) who write here: This summary commentary explores the likely future directions of research and theory on thedesign of organizational work. We give special attention to the social aspects of contemporarywork, the process by which jobholders craft their own jobs, the changing contexts within whichwork is performed, and the increasing prominence of work that is performed by teams ratherthan individuals.

Human connections in organizations are vital. Whether they form as part of long-term relationships or brief encounters, all connections leave indelible traces. Organizations depend on individuals to interact and form connections to accomplish the work of the organization. Connections formed in work contexts, therefore, have a significant effect on people just by virtue of the time spent there (Hochschild, 1997). The quality of the connections, in tum, impacts how organizations function. Theories of human behavior in organizations need to take seriously the quality of connections between people to understand why people flourish or flounder and to unpack how they affect organizational functioning. In this chapter we respond to positive organizational scholarship's call to better understand how to build contexts that enable human flourishing by understanding the power of high-quality connections.

The core of this paper focuses on the different ways that interaction with others grant or deny felt worth. A paper built on qualitative research in hospitals.

Thriving describes an individual’s experience of vitality and learning. The primary goal of this paper is to develop a model that illuminates the social embeddedness of employees’ thriving at work. First, we explain why thriving is a useful theoretical construct, define thriving, and compare it to related constructs, including resilience, flourishing, subjective well-being, flow, and self-actualization.

In this article, the authors explore compassion in work organizations. They discuss the prevalence and costs of pain in organizational life, and identify compassion as an important process that can occur in response to suffering. At the individual level, compassion takes place through three subprocesses: noticing another’s pain, experiencing an emotional reaction to the pain, and acting in response to the pain. The authors build on this framework to argue that organizational compassion exists when members of a system collectively notice, feel, and respond to pain experienced by members of that system. These processes become collective as features of an organization’s context legitimate them within the organization, propagate them among organizational members, and coordinate them across individuals.

An article by Peter Frost - an inspiration to Jane Dutton and Monica Worline. There is a whole rich, vibrant, exciting world of understanding about organizational life that is waiting to be engaged, and one of the keys to this engagement is compassion. Compassion counts as a connection to the human spirit and to the human condition. In organizations there is suffering and pain, as there is joy and fulfillment. There is a need for dignity and self-respect in these settings, and to the extent that theories, models, and practices ignore these dimensions, so do they distort the understanding of life in these enterprises. Looking at organizations through the compassion lens brings this "disappeared" world into focus. Like that other C word - culture - invoking notions of compassion opens one's eyes to see organizations in new ways.

A highly inspiring and personal article: As the title suggestions, this article asks two basic questions of organizational scholars: How do we come alive in how we do our research? What do we look for in organizational contexts to see life? Drawing on personal experience and an extraordinary example of a life-filled unit in a billing department of a community hospital, this essay engages these two questions.

The underlying objective of the present research was to better understand the values and ethical decision making behavior of business students and, ultimately, to assess the impact of professional education on these values and behavior.

Monica Worline

We elaborate a theory of the foundations of a collective capability for compassion through a detailed analysis of everyday practices in an organizational unit. Our induced theory of compassion capability draws on the findings of an interview study to illustrate and explain how a specific set of everyday practices creates two relational conditions — high quality connections and a norm of dynamic boundary permeability — that enable employees of a collective unit to notice, feel and respond to members’ suffering. By articulating the mechanisms that connect everyday practices and a work unit’s compassion capability, we provide insight into the relational micro-foundations of a capability grounded in individual action and interaction.

We develop a theory to explain how individual compassion in response to human pain in organizations becomes socially coordinated through a process we call compassion organizing. The theory specifies five mechanisms, including contextual enabling of attention, emotion, and trust, agents improvising structures, and symbolic enrichment, that show how the social architecture of an organization interacts with agency and emergent features to affect the extraction, generation, coordination, and calibration of resources. In doing so, our theory of compassion organizing suggests that the same structures designed for the normal work of organizations can be redirected to a new purpose to respond to members' pain. We discuss the implications of the theory for compassion organizing and for collective organizing more generally.

A very moving article! On September 11, 2001, the passengers and crew members aboard Flight 93 responded to the hijacking of their airplane by organizing a counterattack against the hijackers. The airplane crashed into an unpopulated field, causing no damage to human lives or national landmarks beyond the lives of those aboard the airplane. We draw on this story of courageous collective action to explore the question of what makes this kind of action possible.

We engage in a conversation about the relevance of practice theory for management. We argue that management educators can use practice theory to help current and future managers develop intuitions that are useful for managing dynamic and complex situations, and we provide management educators with three orientations designed to help make practice theory practical. First, we introduce a way of thinking about practicality that orients to the everyday context of management. Second, we provide a primer on practice theory. Third, we illustrate the potential for the practicality of practice theory through the idea of resourcing and in-depth case examples of resourcing in practice. We conclude with suggestions for further development of this conversation.

Feldman and Orlikowski give an overview on "the practice ture". This paper describes the emerging field of practice theory as it is practiced in relation to organizational phenomena. We identify three approaches—empirical, theoretical, and philosophical—that relate to the what, the how, and the why of using a practice lens. We discuss three principles of the theoretical approach to practice and offer examples of how practice theory has been used in the organizational literature and in our own research. We end with a discussion of the challenges and opportunities that practice theory affords organizational scholarship

We are predisposed to thinking of emotions as our own, perhaps the most intimate parts of ourselves. Yet, more often than not, our emotions are inextricably bound up with other people and social worlds, with one of the most powerful of those being the organizational work context. The central premise of this article is that much of our social and emotional life is organizational.

To meet this suffering with compassion, we propose two clusters of practices central to teaching that lend themselves to helping management teachers see possibilities for more skillfully intertwining suffering and compassion. The first focuses on how management teachers can design the context for teaching in ways that make compassion more likely, focusing specifically on roles and networks. The second draws upon Honneth’s recognitional infrastructure to focus on how teachers can approach the relational practice of teaching with emphasis on enriching human recognition of suffering.

Awakening Compassion at Work

by Monica C. Worline and Jane E. Dutton

Energize Your Workplace

by Jane Dutton

How to be a positive leader

by Jane E. Dutton and Gretchen M. Spreitzer

Positive Organizational Scholarship. Foundations of a New Discipline

Edited by Kim S. Cameron, Jane E. Dutton, and Robert E. Quinn

The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship

Edited by Kim Cameron and Gretchen Spreitzer

Emotion in Organizations

by Stephen Fineman

Relational Being

by Kenneth J. Gergen

Homo Ludens

by Johan Huizinga

Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within

by Robert E. Quinn

Tales of The Filed. On Writing Ethnography

by John van Maanen

The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory

Edited by Theodore R. Schatzki, Karin Knorr Cetina, and Eike von Savigny

Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals

by Iris Murdoch

our key takeaways

The Best Bits from Leaders for Humanity with
Jane Dutton and Monica Worline:Positive Organisational Scholarship: From Suffering to Flourishing

In our interview, we discuss what “Positive Organisational Scholarship” (P.O.S) is, how it came about and how it defines, identifies and measures positively deviant organisations. We then explore the construction of “life-giving” positive relationships, practices and systems in the organisational context — building on Jane’s and Monica’s research and practical experience — and we discuss the relevance of compassion. Finally, we review how leaders and academic institutions can promote flourishing and what this means for leadership- and human development.
leaders for humanity season 2


How Capitalism Lost Happiness: Healing our Relationships To Heal Our World

NOW AVAILABLE: The recording, transcript and podcast

You can find the full transcript of the video at the bottom. Please note it is automatically generated and hence will contain spelling mistakes.
Podcast version of the webcast on Spotify
Podcast version of the webcast on Anchor
The transcript is generated automatically via AI and might contain small errors

pre-reading, links and selected materials

Personal Homepage of Luigino Bruni

Google scholar profile of Luigino Bruni

An extensive archive of Luigino's research activities and many essays with download links

The modern approach to the economics of happiness can be reconduced to the impressive work known as the ˜Easterlin paradox. At the beginning of the seventies the economist Richard Easterlin observed that, even though within each country higher incomes were associated with higher levels of happiness, in a country over time average levels of happiness do not increase as the average income increases. In other words, the very rich are happier than the very poor, but as the country gets richer happiness remains almost constant.

The paper  deals with the relationship between happiness and sociality. In fact, in contemporary 'economics and happiness' literature there is a new interest in interpersonal relationships thanks to the huge empirical evidence that genuine sociality is one of the heaviest components of self-reported happiness. At the same time, mainstream economics is badly equipped for studying genuine sociality, because it treats interpersonal interactions as elements to be taken into account in terms of externalities. The intuition originating the paper is the conviction that if research on happiness aims at taking into account non-instrumental interpersonal relations, i.e. 'relational goods', scholars will profit by a reconsideration or retrieving of the Aristotelian tradition of happiness as eudaimonia.

In his article with Sudgen "reclaiming virtue ethics for economics" the authors discuss how the critique on economics is flawed. "Virtue ethics is an important strand of moral philosophy, and a significant body of philosophical work in virtue ethics is associated with a radical critique of the market economy and of economics. Expressed crudely, the charge sheet is this: The market depends on instrumental rationality and extrinsic motivation; market interactions therefore fail to respect the internal value of human practices and the intrinsic motivations of human actors; by using market exchange as its central model, economics normalizes extrinsic motivation, not only in markets but also in social life more generally; therefore economics is complicit in an assault on virtue and on human flourishing. We will argue that this critique is flawed, both as a description of how markets actually work and as a representation of how classical and neoclassical economists have understood the market."

From around the same time as the last article in "Watching alone: Relational goods, television and happiness" together with Luca Stanca relational goods are qualified (a topic which we have also discussed with Stefano Zamagni). "This paper investigates the role of relational goods for subjective well-being. Using a large sample of individuals from the World Values Survey, we find that relational goods have a significant effect on life satisfaction, while television viewing plays a key role in crowding-out relationality. Both results are robust to the use of alternative indicators of relationality and to instrumental variable estimation to deal with possible simultaneity. The findings suggest that the relational treadmill can provide an additional explanation of the income–happiness paradox: the effect of higher income on happiness is offset by lower consumption of relational goods, with television playing a significant role in explaining underconsumption of relationality."

And again with Robert Sudgen he looks at the morals of markets by drawing on one of his major topics - the civil economy. "This paper reappraises the idea, traceable to Adam Smith, of a fundamental distinction between market transactions and genuinely social relationships. On Smith's account, each party to a market transaction pursues his own interests, subject only to the law of contract. Using the work of Smith's contemporary Antonio Genovesi as our starting point, we reconstruct an alternative understanding of market interactions as instances of a wider class of reciprocal relationships in civil society, characterized by joint intentions for mutual assistance. We consider the implications of our arguments for current debates about whether marketed personal care services can be genuinely caring."

A great influence on Brunis' work is Robert Sugden (his doctoral father) and this is a prominent example: "In modern economies, there are two main ways of financing the production of goods and services. One way is by charging consumers: if you consume, you must pay. The other way is by raising taxes: whether you consume or not, you must pay. But there is also a third way, characteristic of what I shall call the voluntary sector, which is to finance production out of voluntary contributions: whether you consume or not, you choose for yourself whether you pay. There can be no doubt that this third method does sometimes work"

One of the key issues for understanding reciprocity is how agents evaluate the kindness of an action. In this paper we investigate experimentally the hypothesis that the motivation driving an action is relevant for its perceived kindness and, as a consequence, for reciprocal behavior. In particular, we examine the hypothesis that, for a given distributional outcome, positive reciprocity is less strong in response to strategically motivated actions than to non-strategically motivated actions.

Again together with Sugden: "It is a truism that a market economy cannot function without trust. We must be able to rely on other people to respect our property rights, and on our trading partners to keep their promises. The theory of economics is incomplete unless it can explain why economic agents often trust one another, and why that trust is often repaid"

This article is decidedly more transdisciplinary and a great read for economists, managers and trust researchers: "Communities and organizations that have preserved their creative and fruitful character over time have been able to live with their vulnerability; they have not eliminated it entirely from their territories but they contained it. (yet) "Huge empirical literature shows that people cannot flourish at the workplace without receiving and giving risk y and vulnerable confidence (Bruni and Tufano 2016). But the culture of the big global companies today looks for the impossible: it wants creativity from their employees without accepting the vulnerability of relationships."

Pareto’s methodology is a classical vexata questio of his thought. The Manual is also a methodological treatise, where Pareto explains his philosophy of economics and social science.

We have discussed about this article with Stefano Zamagni - a very crisp historical analysis of economics: "Scientific revolutions are often revolutions in scientific standards. Revolutionary philosophies of science may, however, produce a number of negative effects: they sometimes misdirect research in the weakest disciplines; they may force scientists in the most developed disciplines to lie about their methodology in order to show that their work fulfills unreasonable standards; and they tend to create historiographical misunderstandings. In this essay we shall be mainly concerned with the last case."

One of the current examples of the civic economy is the economy of communion "Recently some of the legal, economic and management literature has begun to explore the numerous complex questions and concerns that arise with the prospect of integrating religious perspectives, values and frameworks into business life. From economic and legal perspectives, does integration of religious perspectives threaten the integrity of current business structures? From a religious perspective, might integration of religious beliefs and communities lead to their being manipulated for commercial purposes, thus threatening their authenticity and integrity?"

The research question of the paper deals with the interplay between conformist and non-conformist members in charismatic organizations. The focus is on a special form of “resources curse”, which affects organizations with a strong and talented founder. The curse arises because the founder, in order to maximize the organization’s efficiency in the first period, tends to select and reward conformist members and, consequently, discourages non-conformist and creative ones. 

For those who speak french (the others will have to read his book on this): "À partir de la distinction classique entre Éros, Philia et Agapè, cet article présente une théorie multidimensionnelle de la réciprocité. Après avoir décrit les principes caractéristiques de chacune d’entre elles, il montre comment elles interagissent. La thèse principale de cet article est que seule une approche pluraliste de la réciprocité, du contrat au don, permet d’analyser comment la réciprocité peut être viable à long terme."

We need a new vocabulary to understand and talk about a better version of our economy.

Meritocracy is gaining momentum in public discourse, being close to the determinants of people’s demand of social justice (equality of opportunity, social mobility). Conversely, in Academia meritocracy is the object of harsh critiques. The meritocratic rhetoric brings people to overlook the factors which contributed to their success (unequal starting conditions, luck) over their individual actions, legitimating socioeconomic inequalities. Recently, it has been argued that market-driven societies foster the problems related to meritocracy. The concept of merit, conceived as the value of the individual contribution to the common good of society, is absorbed by market value. While we share the concerns on meritocracy, we question the idea that those are necessarily connected to the market sphere.

The Wound and the Blessing

Luigino Bruni

Thomas Aquinas and the Civil Economy Tradition

by Paolo Santori

Civil Economy and Organisation

by Roberta Sferrazo

The Economy of Salvation

by Luigino Bruni

Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice

by Martha Nussbaum

Commodities and Capabilities

by Amartya Sen

Civil Happiness

by Luigino Bruni

Reciprocity, Altruism and the Civil Society

by Luigino Bruni

The Economics of Values, Ideals and Organizations

by Luigino Bruni

The Charismatic Principle in Social Life

edited by Luigino Bruni and Barbara Sena

Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni

Come è possibile che oggi persone muoiano per le conseguenze dirette o indirette della fame o della malnutrizione, mentre abbiamo la capacità di produrre cibo per sfamare il triplo della popolazione mondiale

di Alessandra Smerilli (Autore), Maurizio Martina (Dopo), Luigino Bruni (Prefazione)

Comunità è parola tornata centrale. Invocata nelle solitudini e nella malattia, cercata e agognata quando le "community" virtuali ci hanno sfinito e sentiamo il bisogno di respirare.

di Luigino Bruni (Autore)

Una sorta di diario dell’anima di un economista in una età di passaggio.

di Luigino Bruni (Autore)

Data la varietà temporale, spaziale e culturale della strada da percorrere, gli autori propongono il presente volume come una mappa concettuale per orientarsi nell’immensa ricchezza della storia delle idee economiche.

di Stefano Zamagni (Autore), Luigino Bruni (Autore), Paolo Santori (Autore)

Nella Bibbia l'economia è qualcosa di tremendamente serio. Quello economico è uno dei linguaggi più amati dagli autori biblici.

di Luigino Bruni (Autore), Massimo Grilli (Autore)

Francesco è anche un nome dell’economia. Anche se non è la prima parola che viene in mente, ma la grande profezia di Assisi fu - ed è - anche profezia economia, annuncio di un ‘non-ancora’ anche economico.

di Domenico Sorrentino (Autore), Luigino Bruni (Presentazione)

Luigino Bruni continua il percorso iniziato del best seller "Il capitalismo e il sacro" rispondendo a nuovi interrogativi: che cosa del cristianesimo è entrato nel capitalismo?

di Luigino Bruni (Autore)

La scienza economica, con la sua promessa di una vita in comune senza sacrificio, rappresenta una grande via di fuga dal contagio della relazione personale.

di Luigino Bruni (Autore)

This book looks at the governance of values-based organizations (VBOs), which are organizations with a mission and identity based on ideals.

di Luigino Bruni (Autore), Alessandra Smerilli (Autore)

L’economia e i carismi; il mondo disincantato della società di mercato fatto di profitto, ricerca del tornaconto e di denaro, e la dimensione ricca di spiritualità, di gratuità e ideali dei carismi.

di Luigino Bruni (Autore)

The Microeconomics of Wellbeing and Sustainability: Recasting the Economic Process explores the civil economy tradition in economic thought.

di Leonardo Becchetti (Autore), Luigino Bruni (Autore), Stefano Zamagni (Autore)

Sono profonde le differenze economico-culturali tra il nord e il sud dell’Europa. Le loro radici risalgono a cinque secoli fa, all’epoca della riforma protestante.

di Luigino Bruni (Autore)

Oggi la dimensione religioso-sacrale del capitalismo ha invaso la politica, la scuola, le imprese e ha reso il lavoro uno strumento per aumentare il consumo idolatrico di beni.

di Luigino Bruni (Autore)

our key takeaways

Without exception, the interviews we had the privilege to engage, indulge and sometimes ‘dissolve’ in during the last year where fascinating. Combined with our copious pre-readings - thousands and thousands of pages of books and essays, always chasing after a cherished glimpse of deeper understanding of the wisdom of our interlocutors, we have learned a great amount!

Yet, whilst much was novel, thought-provoking and insightful, our most transformative encounters happened whenever we were exposed to ideas that fundamentally disrupted our own views of the world. When we screamed, and cried and resisted! When we passionately struggled… but those “nasty” ideas wouldn't let us go! And when, eventually, subtly, sweetly, almost caringly, those erstwhile hostile thoughts would turn into novel companions of travel and kindred spirits on our ongoing pilgrimage of inquiry and learning…

As Friedrich Dürrenmatt once claimed in his famous Physicists: „What has been thought once cannot be taken back.“ Indeed, it were those powerful ideas that in a most fundamental and existential manner changed us - pulling us "out of ourselves" to grow and become more, become freer...

Our encounter with Luigino Bruni offered several of such moments. With both shouting and screaming and bittersweet surrenders! We were amazed by his subtle intuition of some deeply-routed psychological dynamics below the icebergs of organisational life - investigating its sociality, ambiguity and immunisation; we devoured his skilfull unravelling of the history and philosophy ‘behind’ economics – culminating in new insights about reciprocity, gift, gratuitousness and agape; and we shuddered at his audacious attempt to re-infuse the dismal and anonymous mechanics of markets with light, wonder, sacredness, and salvation – drawing upon his interpretation of the gospel and witnessing the charism of transcendence.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Chapeau, maestro Bruni! 

The Best Bits from Leaders for Humanity with Luigino Bruni

In our inspiring and thought-provoking interview, we go on an extensive exploratory journey: we examine the role of happiness, utility, wealth and reciprocity in the history of economics; we review the dangers of “immunisation” and instrumentalisation in our modern market society; we look again at the Civil Economy tradition and discuss how (and if) markets can become virtuous; we seek to understand the importance of vulnerability, agape and gratuitousness, and charism in value-driven and spiritual organisations; and discuss what all of this means for modern business. We leave the session with the profound impression that tapping into a humane spirit might lie at the heart of a new and better economy.
leaders for humanity season 2


Fixing Organisational Transformation: Functional Stupidity and the Perils of Leadership

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The transcript is generated automatically via AI and might contain small errors

pre-reading, links and selected materials

Keywords: constructivism, critical theory, functional stupidity, leadership, organisational change, philosophy of science, organisational culture, identity

University homepage

Microemancipation Strategies: This paper takes the regulation of identity as a focus for examining organizational control. It considers how employees are enjoined to develop self‐images and work orientations that are deemed congruent with managerially defined objectives. This focus on identity extends and deepens themes developed within other analyses of normative control. Empirical materials are deployed to illustrate how managerial intervention operates, more or less intentionally and in/effectively, to influence employees’ self‐constructions in terms of coherence, distinctiveness and commitment. The processual nature of such control is emphasized, arguing that it exists in tension with other intra and extra‐organizational claims upon employees’ sense of identity in a way that can open a space for forms of micro‐emancipation.

This paper explores how organizational identity is constructed in four very different management consulting firms. The study suggests four broad dimensions that organizational members refer to in constructing their organizational identity: Knowledge Work, Management and Membership, Personal Orientation, and External Interface. We identify multiple themes within these broad dimensions of identity construction and highlight several broader identity-related issues, specifically: the extent to which shared ideas of a distinct organizational identity are present or absent in organizations, the relationship between organizational identity and the individual, and the balance of reality and fantasy in identity construction.

Famous scene in Life of Brian that Mats points to in our dialogue: You are an individual!

Link to the "Frankfurt School" of Critical Theory

The Language Turn: Discourse is a popular term used in a variety of ways, easily leading to confusion. This article attempts to clarify the various meanings of discourse in social studies, the term's relevance for organizational analysis and some key theoretical positions in discourse analysis. It also focuses on the methodological problem of the relationship between: a) the level of discourse produced in interviews and in everyday life observed as `social texts' (in particular talk); b) other kinds of phenomena, such as meanings, experiences, orientations, events, material objects and social practices; and, c) discourses in the sense of a large-scale, ordered, integrated way of reasoning/ constituting the social world. In particular, the relationship between `micro and meso-level' discourse analysis (i.e. specific social texts being the primary empirical material) and `grand and mega-level' discourse (i.e. large-scale orders) is investigated.

Problematization as emancipation: It is increasingly recognized that what makes a theory interesting and influential is that it challenges our assumptions in some significant way. However, established ways for arriving at research questions mean spotting or constructing gaps in existing theories rather than challenging their assumptions. We propose problematization as a methodology for identifying and challenging assumptions underlying existing literature and, based on that, formulating research questions that are likely to lead to more influential theories.

Beyond a functional understanding of knowledge: This article takes a sceptical view of the functionalist understanding of the nature and significance of ‘knowledge’ in so-called knowledge- intensive companies. The article emphasizes the slipperiness of the concept of knowledge, the ambiguity of knowledge, its role in what is constructed as knowledge work and the evaluation of work outcomes. Given this ambiguity, the management of rhetoric, image and social processes appears crucial in organizations of this kind. Difficulties in demonstrating competence and performance - as well as the significance of producing the right impression - make work identity difficult to secure. However, this is a key element in doing knowledge work. Successful rhetoric, image production and orchestration of social interactions call for the regulation of employee identities.

Beyond Being Only Clever: We argue that critical management studies (CMS) should be conceptualized as a profoundly performative project. The central task of CMS should be to actively and pragmatically intervene in specific debates about management and encourage progressive forms of management. This involves CMS becoming affirmative, caring, pragmatic, potential focused, and normative. To do this, we suggest a range of tactics including affirming ambiguity, working with mysteries, applied communicative action, exploring heterotopias and engaging micro-emancipations.

Functional Stupidity: In this paper we question the one‐sided thesis that contemporary organizations rely on the mobilization of cognitive capacities. We suggest that severe restrictions on these capacities in the form of what we call functional stupidity are an equally important if under‐recognized part of organizational life. Functional stupidity refers to an absence of reflexivity, a refusal to use intellectual capacities in other than myopic ways, and avoidance of justifications. We argue that functional stupidity is prevalent in contexts dominated by economy in persuasion which emphasizes image and symbolic manipulation. This gives rise to forms of stupidity management that repress or marginalize doubt and block communicative action. In turn, this structures individuals' internal conversations in ways that emphasize positive and coherent narratives and marginalize more negative or ambiguous ones.

Authentic Leadership? Scholarly and practitioner interest in the topic of authentic leadership has grown dramatically over the past two decades. Running parallel to this interest, however, have been a number of concerns regarding the conceptual and methodological underpinnings for research on the construct. In this exchange of letters, the cases for and against the current authentic leadership theory are made. Through a dialogue, several areas of common ground are identified, as well as focal areas where the cases for and against the utility of authentic leadership theory for scholars and practitioners sharply diverge. Suggestions for future theorizing and research that reflect areas of common ground are advanced, along with divergent perspectives on how research on authenticity and leadership should proceed.

Effective Leadership? This paper contributes to the understanding of relational aspects of leadership and followership. Our in-depth empirical study of the leader/follower relation uncovers how and why assigning team members into ‘leader’ and ‘follower’ positions may sometimes be a double-edged sword and lead to unintended consequences undermining both the team’s potential and member satisfaction. We report on a multi-voiced story of one team that at first looked like a well-performing one with effective, ‘good’ leadership and satisfied team members. However, a closer investigation revealed frictional understandings, unresponsiveness and dynamics of immaturization as the followers overly relied on the elected leader. Leadership seen as ‘good’ may indeed backfire and encourage satisfied, trustful followers to relax and focus on limited roles

Middle Manager: This article explores middle managers in the professions from their position in the sandwiched middle. Based upon interviews with senior academics in management roles and their subordinates in UK business schools, we investigate this experienced middle through a metaphor that informs one particular subject position: to be an umbrella carrier. This position entails protecting subordinates from what is seen as unnecessary and/or damaging initiatives and information from top management above, in order to allow for good professional work to take place below. This form of countermanagement, which aims to weaken hierarchical pressure rather than enforce or uphold it, is informed by a stronger identification with the profession and subordinates below than with the leader role or the superiors above, and aids the middle managers in their identity work.

This paper examines the reasons behind the popularity of leadership and leadership studies. We claim that at least part of the answer to why leadership is so celebrated and ubiquitous – in academia as well in society at large – can be found in how the term typically is (not) defined and presented. Leadership discourses are almost always persuasive; constructed to appeal and seduce audiences of the value and significance of leadership. Given their ambiguity, almost everything can be squeezed in and benefit from the aura of leadership. We propose the concept of hegemonic ambiguity to capture this and point at some basic problems associated with it, and argue for a more reflexive approach in relation to the signifier.

Leadership Studies Do Not Rock: This paper identifies eight significant shortcomings in leadership studies. The field is large, divergent and fragmented, making it difficult to make broad generalizations, but the majority of all research suffer from most of what may be referred to as the Hollywood, Disneyland, closed system, two kinds of people, bees and the honeypot, reification, tautology and hyperreality problems. The paper suggests ways of reducing these problems.

TeamING not Teams: Contemporary expert organizations rely heavily on cross-border, often temporary teams typically working through virtual means of communication. While static aspects of teams are well researched, there have been considerably fewer studies on team dynamics and team processes. Existing process studies tend to take a cautious, entity-based approach, emphasizing team structure as much as (or even more than) processual aspects. This article represents a shift from studying teams as entities and structures changing over time to studying teams as an on-going process. Participants engage in teaming and thus in the continued making and sometimes unmaking of teams. We report on a study of three anatomically similar, self-managed teams performing the same set of complex tasks with radically different teaming processes. With more or less successful shared sensemaking, the team members collectively create (or fail to create) not only team task outputs but also the team itself.

This article addresses the temporality of resistance in the work context. We focus on the challenge of increasingly diminishing professional autonomy in higher education institutions as well as the vulnerability of staff subjected to academic managerialism. A case where a lecturer is exposed to the requirements to revise grading by senior administration is investigated. Power is understood from the “target’s” perspective and viewed as the erosion of resistance. We introduce the concepts honorable surrender and smoothers to capture the process of giving up of resistance. We argue that these concepts are of special significance in autonomy-espousing work contexts where multiplicity of power resources are employed to subordinate employees and influence their professional identities. We contend that de-subjectification is key in understanding the erosion of resistance.

Was heißt und zu welchem Ende studiert man Universalgeschichte? Kindle Ausgabe von Friedrich Schiller (Autor) Format: Kindle Ausgabe

Understanding Organizational Culture

by Mats Alvesson

Constructing Research Questions

by Mats Alvesson and Jorgen Sandberg

The Stupidity Paradox

by Mats Alvesson

Reflexive Leadership

by Mats Alvesson, Martin Blom, and Stefan

Reflexive Methodology

by Mats Avlesson and Kaj Skoldberg

The Triumph of Emptiness

by Mats Alvesson

The Return to Meaning

By Mats Alvesson, Yiannis Gabriel, and Roland Paulsen

Critical Theory Today

by Lois Tyson

Explaining Postmodernism

by Stephen Hicks

The Frankfurt School Critique of Capitalist Culture: A Critical Theory for Post-Democratic Society and Its Re-Education

By Ronald Jeremiah Schindler

Making Sense of Management

by Mats Alvesson and Hugh Wilmott

Leadership: Contemporary Critical Perspectives

Edited by Brigid Carroll, Jackie Ford, and Scott Taylor

Re-imagining the Research Process: Conventional and Alternative Metaphors

by Mats Alvesson (Author), Jorgen Sandberg (Author)

Critical Management Studies

by Mats Alvesson (Editor), Hugh Willmott (Editor)

Changing Organizational Culture: Cultural change work in progress

by Mats Alvesson (Author), Stefan Sveningsson (Author)

Metaphors We Lead By: Understanding Leadership in the Real World

by Mats Alvesson (Author)

Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers

by Robert Jackall (Author)
leaders for humanity SEASON 2



Watch this space -

Our YouTube premiere is coming up soon!
The transcript is generated automatically via AI and might contain small errors

pre-reading, links and selected materials

Keywords: capitalism, social democracy, political systems, progressive politics, popularism, socialism, narrative, social movements, corporate social responsibility, Sustainability, Karl Polanyi, society, neoliberalism, democracy, institutional democracy, movement, labour, freedom, fulfillment, elite

This article analyses some assumptions about human nature and subject agency apparent
in two approaches to social theory: liberalism, particularly Giddens, and structuralism/
poststructuralism, particularly Foucault. Feminist and Critical Theory are also drawn on.

The article explores the relationship of multiculturalism to social solidarity. The multicultural nature of Britain is accepted as a welcome reality but certain problems in relation to the development of multiculturalism in Britain are acknowledged. Various approaches to buttress or replace multiculturalism are reviewed. These are: a strengthened and/or reconstituted nationalism (`Britishness'); human rights; and social equality. The issue of citizenship recurs throughout. It is argued that a combined emphasis on human rights and greater social equality offer a better basis than nationalism for strengthening solidarity in Britain, especially in the longer term. Sociological theory offers a fruitful if strangely neglected starting point for understanding social solidarity. I draw critically on Durkheim and Marx to obtain some objective perspective on this controversial matter.

This paper argues for a particular balance of authority between the global humanrights, national and ethnic communal levels and suggests that greater emphasis should be given to the former. The early part of the paper maintains that what is termed the dominant multicultural discourse in Britain has substantial limitations and that a more universalist approach is needed if greater social solidarity or 'cohesion'is to be achieved. Human rights can provide a framework for this.

This article analyses the psychodynamics underlying 1960s radicalism – termed the Movement – in the United States and, more briefly, Britain. The Movement was heuristic and characterized by “utopian” and “humanistic” tendencies. The main sections deal respectively with the counterculture and the New Left.

This article offers some theoretical reflections on how to categorize or type 1960s radicalism— termed as the 'Movement'here—in the USA and Britain. Particular reference is made to the work of Karl Mannheim, notably to his use of the concepts of 'generation'and 'utopia'and related terms.

This paper attempts a comparative analysis of the potential for fundamental global change offered by social movement radicalism and cosmopolitan liberalism. The term 'radical'is used to designate the former and 'cosmopolitan liberal'the latter perspective. Both groups are broadly left of centre and the term 'left'will sometimes be used when referring to them collectively.

O'Donnell provides a historical comparison of the nature and effectiveness of 1960s radicalism in the United States and recent radical activism in Britain. This chapter begins by discussing the concepts of 'radicalism'and 'populism'. In the next part, it presents an analysis of the work of Mills and Marcuse in relation to the populist aspects of 1960s radical activism. Then, in the light of the above, this chapter examines the Occupy movement,

The "Preston Model" is a term applied to how the council, its anchor institutions and other partners are implementing the principles of Community Wealth Building within Preston and the wider Lancashire area

Working Paper "Scaling up alternatives to capitalism: A social movement approach to alternative organizing (in) the economy", MPIfG Discussion Paper, No. 20/11, Provided in Cooperation with: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG), Cologne

Johal, Moran and Williams outline a complementary strategic policy for business accountability. Criticising unrealistic ideas for state control of an increasingly nebulous and fragmented ‘national economy’, they point to the massive potential relevance of a ‘foundational economy’ of locally-based utilities and service provision.

Mike O’Donnell argues that institutionalising people’s involvement in matters that affect their daily lives would surely act as an antidote to the apathy and disengagement that blights liberal democracy. It would also serve to create a more equitable society, one where government is not dominated by wealthy elites. The challenge, though, is in initiating reform.

Related to a discussion in the book about extractive labour relationships: A review of zero hours contracts across Europe. Verdict: Not all have an explicit ban, but it’s correct that most EU countries outlaw these contracts, heavily restrict them, or don’t see them widely used. The UK is one of around half a dozen European countries where zero hours contracts are both legal and fairly common.

Working Paper "Scaling up alternatives to capitalism: A social movement approach to alternative organizing (in) the economy", MPIfG Discussion Paper, No. 20/11, Provided in Cooperation with: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG), Cologne

...and against Corporate Social Responsibilty: Robert Reich arguesregarding CSR "Most of this is in earnest. Much is sincere. Some of it has had a positive impact. But almost all has occurred outside of the democratic process. To view it as a new form of democratic capitalism is to fail to understand the logic of super-competitive capitalism, what I’ve termed “supercapitalism.” It is also to divert attention from the more difficult but more important job of establishing laws that protect and advance the common good.

How should Europe react to the rise of populist parties? Chantal Mouffe argues that the consensus established between centre-right and centre-left parties on the notion there is no alternative to neoliberal globalisation has left Europe in a post-democratic phase, fuelling the rise of right-wing populist parties. Moral condemnation and demonisation of the supporters of such parties does not work: what is required is an alternative populism that is reformulated in a progressive way, defining the adversary as the configuration of forces that strengthen and promote the neoliberal project.

Nicolas Gane and Les Back take the fiftieth anniversary of the death of American sociologist C. Wright Mills as a cue to revisit his legacy but also the value of sociology today. It argues that the enduring relevance of Mills’ work is his cultivation of a sociological sensibility, which is both an attentive and sensuous craft and also a moral and political project. The article returns to some of the key aspects of Mills’ life and work, and focuses, in particular, on his influential book The Sociological Imagination.

Archon Fung and Eric Olin Wright argue "“Democracy” as a way of organizing the state has come to be narrowly identified with territorially based competitive elections
of political leadership for legislative and executive offices. Yet, increasingly, this mechanism of political representation seems ineffective in accomplishing the
central ideals of democratic politics: facilitating active political involvement of the citizenry, forging political consensus through dialogue, devising and implementing
public policies that ground a productive economy and healthy society, and, in more radical egalitarian versions of the democratic ideal, ensuring that all citizens benefit from the nation’s wealth.

Yochai Benkler in one of the first succint essays how particularly in the knowledge and information economy the commons as an alternative governance modus can be evoked to ameliorate some of the deficits of traditional markets.

Community Organising is for people who are angry with the ways things are and want to do something about it; for people who feel powerless or frustrated with the system, or worried about the direction the country is going.

Clair Gough and Sara Mander: This paper explores the opportunities for, and progress in, establishing a social licence to operate (SLO) for CCS in industrial clusters in the UK, focusing on the perspectives of key stakeholders.

Alternatives to Neoliberalism: Towards Equality and Democracy

by Bryn Jones (Editor), Mike O'Donnell (Editor)

Crises and Popular Dissent: The Divided West

by Mike O'Donnell

Radicalism and Social Movement Activism

by Bryn Jones and Mike O'Donnell

The Power Elite

by C. Wright Mills

How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century

by Erik Olin Wright

The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time

by Karl Polanyi

The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy

by Mariana Mazzucato

Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited: Anti-Globalization in the Era of Trump

by Joseph Stiglitz (Author)

Liberalism: The Classical Tradition

by Ludwig von Mises (Author)

The Road to Serfdom

by F. A. Hayek (Author)

Anthropologies of Modernity: Foucault, Governmentality, and Life Politics

by Jonathan Xavier Inda (Editor)

Envisioning Real Utopias

by Erik Olin Wright

The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism

by Colin Crouch

The Common Good

by Robert Reich

Amusing Ourselves to Death

by Neil Postman

Selection from the Prison Notebooks

by Antonio Gramsci

Turbulent and Mighty Continent

by Anthony Giddens

Thather and Thatcherism

by Eric J. Evans

Deliberation and Democracy: Innovative Processes and Institutions

edited by Stephen Coleman, Anna Przybylska, and Yves Sintomer

Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory and Issues

By Mike O'Donnell

Liberalism and its Discontents

by Francis Fukuyama
leaders for humanity SEASON 2


Reinventing Education:A Life-long Quest Of Becoming Truly Human (And Finally Growing Up)

The transcript is generated automatically via AI and might contain small errors

pre-reading, links and selected materials

Keywords:education, bildung, erziehung, pragmatism, post-structuralism, disruption, deconstruction, practice, teaching, freedom, democracy, philosophy, civic learning, subjectification, socialisation, qualification, learninfication, learning, Levinas, Arendt, Derrida, Rancière

Find books, articles, presentations and the CV of Gert on this excellent homepage.

In this essay, Gert Biesta provides a critical analysis of the idea of evidence‐based practice and the ways in which it has been promoted and implemented in the field of education, focusing on the tension between scientific and democratic control over educational practice and research.

This paper is a contribution to understanding the relationship between agency and learning in the lifecourse. The contribution is mainly of a theoretical and a conceptual nature in that a particular notion of agency is used that enables agency to be conceived as something that is achieved, rather than possessed, through the active engagement of individuals with aspects of their contexts-for-action.

Teaching and teachers have recently become the centre of attention of policy makers and researchers. The general idea here is that teaching matters. Yet the question that is either not asked or is only answered implicitly is why teaching matters. In this article I engage with this question in the context of a wider discussion about the role, status and significance of the question of purpose in education. I suggest that this is the most fundamental question in all educational endeavours. It is a normative question which poses itself as a multi‐dimensional question, since education always funct

Why does language matter to education? If we would only think of language as a description of reality, there wouldn’t be too much to say in answer to this question. In that case education simply ‘is’ and language simply describes what ‘is’. Yet we all know that description is only one of the functions of language–and itself a highly problematic one. Language is not simply a mirror of reality. At least since Dewey and Wittgenstein we know that language is a practice, that it is something we do. And at least since Foucault we know that linguistic or discursive practices delineate–and perhaps we can even say: constitute–what can be seen, what can be said, what can be known, what can be thought and, ultimately, what can be done.

Over the last few years there has been a renewed interest in questions of citizenship and in particular its relation to young people. This has been allied to an educational discourse where the emphasis has been upon questions concerned with ‘outcome’ rather than with ‘process’– with the curriculum and methods of teaching rather than questions of understanding and learning. This paper seeks to describe and illuminate the linkages within and between these related discourses. It advocates an inclusive and relational view of citizenship-as-practice within a distinctive socio-economic and political, and cultural milieu. Drawing upon some empirical insights from our research we conclude that an appropriate educational programme would respect the claim to citizenship status of everyone in society, including children and young people.

This paper stems from a concern about a very particular development that has been going on in our educational institutions and our societies more generally, which is the disappearance of teaching and the concomitant disappearance of the teacher.

Much work in the field of education for democratic citizenship is based on the idea that it is possible to know what a good citizen is, so that the task of citizenship education becomes that of the production of the good citizen. In this paper I ask whether and to what extent we can and should understand democratic citizenship as a positive identity

The question of the possibility of a critical pedagogy is immediately connected with the question of the possibility of education. What makes education possible, so I want to argue, is its impossibility. Hence, the only possible future for a critical pedagogy is an impossible future.

This paper is an enquiry into the meaning of teaching. I argue that as a result of the influence of constructivist ideas about learning on education, teaching has become increasingly understood as the facilitation of learning rather than as a process where teachers have something to give to their students. The idea that teaching is immanent to learning goes back to the Socratic idea of teaching as a maieutic process, that is, as bringing out what is already there. Against the maieutic conception of teaching I argue for an understanding of teaching in terms of transcendence, where teaching brings something radically new to the student. I explore the meaning of the idea of transcendence through a discussion of Kierkegaard and Levinas, who both criticise the maieutic understanding of teaching and, instead, argue for a transcendent understanding of teaching

In recent years policymakers and politicians in many countries have become increasingly interested in teacher education. In most cases, however, the interest in teacher education is not informed by a desire to enhance the professionalism of teachers but rather is part of ongoing attempts to control the educational 'enterprise.' In this chapter I analyse these developments, particularly with regard to a focus on the alleged need for 'evidence' to form the basis for teaching or the idea that teaching can be adequalty captured in terms of competences. Against these tendencies I argue for the important role teacher judgement plays in education, make clear why such judgement is needed, and what this would require for teacher education.

What are we to do with the writing of Biesta? Raising the same question in relation to Jacques Rancière, in a 2010 study co-authored with Charles Bingham, Gert J. J. Biesta takes the writer of ‘a short, disparaging review of … The Ignorant Schoolmaster’ to task for ‘schooling’ Rancière on the inadequacies of the book reviewed (Biesta and Bingham 2010, 145–148). Readers of Biesta cheering on from the sidelines at this point are placed in an uncomfortable double bind if they are to take this suggestion seriously when reviewing his own work.

Subjectification', the cornerstone concept of Biesta's philosophy of education, refers to how autonomy should be realized in educational settings and to the fact that explanation is irrelevant to emancipation. In this article a critical realist reading is provided of how Biesta links narrative learning to emancipation and of the shortcomings that spring from this connection. The central thesis of my argument is that truth and values should take center stage in an educational philosophy of emancipation and that these two concepts are left out of Biesta's conception of emancipation

"Here, then do we encounter an altogether different ‘account’ of the event of teaching, one that is precisely not aimed at control, at the exercise of power and the establishment of an order in which the student can only exist as object, but rather one that calls forth the subjectness of the student by interrupting its egocentrism, its beingwith- itself and for-itself. This is not only a teaching that puts us very differently in the world (and in this regard it can be seen as teaching with existential import). We could even say that this teaching puts us in the world in the first place

Der leitende Gedanke ist: Pädagogik ist als Praxis und als Reflexion auf diese Praxis von der Eigenart des erzieherischen Handelns her zu verstehen. Sie besteht in der Operation des Zeigens in Hinsicht auf Lernen.
Das Erziehen ist ein Handwerk im wörtlichen Verstande und in dem erweiterten Sinne eines beredten Handwerks.

World-Centred Education: A View for the Present

by Gert Biesta

Educational Research: An Unorthodox Introduction

by Professor Gert Biesta

Beautiful Risk of Education: (Interventions Education, Philosophy, and Culture)

by Gert J. J. Biesta

The Rediscovery of Teaching

by Gert Biesta

Teacher Agency: An Ecological Approach

by Mark Priestley (Author), Gert Biesta (Author), Sarah Robinson (Author)

Jacques Ranciere: Education, Truth, Emancipation

by Charles Bingham and Gert Biesta

Good Education in an Age of Measurement: Ethics, Politics, Democracy (Interventions: Education, Philosophy, and Culture)

by Gert J.J. Biesta

Beyond Learning: Democratic Education for a Human Future (Interventions: Education, Philosophy, and Culture)

by Gert J. J. Biesta (Author)

Derrida, Deconstruction, and the Politics of Pedagogy (323) (Counterpoints: Studies in Criticality)

by Michael A. Peters and Gert J J Biesta

Improving Learning through the Lifecourse: Learning Lives

by Michael A. Peters and Gert J J Biesta

Obstinate Education: Reconnecting School and Society: 72 (Educational Futures)

by Gert Biesta

Learning Democracy in School and Society: Education, Lifelong Learning, and the Politics of Citizenship

by Gert J. J. Biesta

The Restructuring of Social and Political Theory

by Richard J. Bernstein (Author)

The Pragmatic Turn

by Richard J. Bernstein (Author)

Democracy And Education

by John Dewey

Philosophy of Education

by George Herbert Mead

Mind, Self, and Society: The Definitive Edition

by George Herbert Mead

The Philosophy of the Present the Paul Carus Lectures Third Series

by George Herbert Mead

Humanism of the Other

by Emmanuel Levinas (Author), Richard A. Cohen (Introduction), Nidra Poller (Translator)

The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation

by Jacques Rancière

Heidegger: The Question of Being and History (The Seminars of Jacques Derrida)

by Jacques Derrida (Author), Geoffrey Bennington (Translator)

The Theory of Communicative Action: Reason and the Rationalization of Society

by Jürgen Habermas (Author)

Existential Flourishing: A Phenomenology of the Virtues

by Irene McMullin

Power: The Essential Works of Michel Foucault

by Michel Foucault

The Portable Hannah Arendt (Penquin Classics)

by Hannah Arendt

Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, And Identity (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives)

by Etienne Wenger
leaders for humanity SEASON 2


Military As A Force For Good: Wise Leadership between Duty and Character

The transcript is generated automatically via AI and might contain small errors

pre-reading, links and selected materials

Keywords: virtue ethics, just war theory, character education, moral reasoning, four component model of morality, moral courage, compassion, war, army, military ETHICS

Offical website with CV, links to books and publications.

The purpose of the character journal is to aid the cadet in reflecting on their own character and virtues by observing which virtues were the most influential throughout their day. The article describes the process.

A Framework for Character Education: Character education has exploded into the curriculum of primary and secondary schools over the last ten years. Educators are increasingly appreciating the importance of a more holistic understanding of what it means for students to flourish or meet their full potential.

West Point’s mission is ‘to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army’ (2016a).
From a pedagogical standpoint, it is not only important to learn military tactics and the core of the chosen academic field, but it must be intertwined and integrated through a character development program.

When leaders do unethical things in their private lives, how should we look at it? To help with this decision-making process, one can look at the accused leaders’ actions through the ethical framework of Blanchard and Peale.

Addressing the complex and longstanding relationship between universities and security and intelligence agencies, this article provides a tentative, working conceptual framework for research ethics in a global higher education environment.

The production of a moral act entails four innerpsychological processes termed the four component model.

Army Officers face increased moral pressure in modern warfare, where character judgement and ethical judgement are vital. This article reports the results of a study of 242 junior British Army officers using the Army Intermediate Concept Measure, comprising a series of professionally oriented moral dilemmas developed for the UK context. Results are suggestive of appropriate application of Army values to the dilemmas and of ethical reasoning aligning with Army excellence.

Coinciding with the recent psychological attention paid to the broad topic of wisdom, interest in the intellectual virtue of phronesis or practical wisdom has been burgeoning within pockets of psychology, philosophy, professional ethics, and education. However, these discourses are undercut by frequently unrecognized tensions, lacunae, ambivalences, misapplications, and paradoxes.

Initiatives to cultivate character and virtue in moral education at school continue to provoke sceptical responses. Most of those echo familiar misgivings about the notions of character, virtue and education in virtue – as unclear, redundant, old-fashioned, religious, paternalistic, anti-democratic, conservative, individualistic, relative and situation dependent. I expose those misgivings as ‘myths’, while at the same time acknowledging three better-founded historical, methodological and practical concerns about the notions in question.

Contemporary just war theory is divided into two broad camps: revisionists and traditionalists. Traditionalists seek to provide moral foundations for something close to current international law, and in particular the laws of armed conflict. Although they propose improvements, they do so cautiously. Revisionists argue that international law is at best a pragmatic fiction—it lacks deeper moral foundations. In this article, I present the contemporary history of analytical just war theory, from the origins of contemporary traditionalist just war theory in Michael Walzer's work to the revisionist critique of Walzer and the subsequent revival of traditionalism. I discuss central questions of methodology, as well as consider the morality of resorting to war and the morality of conduct in war. I show that although the revisionists exposed philosophical shortcomings in Walzer's arguments, their radical conclusions should prompt us not to reject the broad contemporary consensus, but instead to seek better arguments to underpin it.

What happens following a war is important to the moral judgments we make concerning warfare, just as the intentions going in and the means used are. There has, however, been inadequate attention paid to considerations of jus post bellum in the just war tradition. This essay seeks to contribute to recent efforts to develop jus post bellum principles by first noting some of the ways that jus ad bellum and jus in bello considerations serve to constrain what can legitimately be done after war. We argue, however, that the constraints grounded in traditional just war theory do not offer sufficient guidance for judging postwar behavior and that principles grounded in the concept of human rights are needed to complete our understanding of what constitutes a just war. A just peace exists when the human rights of those involved in the war, on both sides, are more secure than they were before the war.

For a feminist theory on peace the analysis of war and conflict is essential. The variety of approaches range from historical accounts of women in war to the psychological scrutinizing of gendered upbringing of children. Critical writings by women in liberation movements in Latin America, Africa and Asia as well as the critique on western feminism by working class, Black and lesbian scholars has further shaped the discussion.

The Soldiers of Character research report was published on 3rd October 2018 and launched at the Royal United Services Institute, London. Complementing work by the Jubilee Centre about virtues in professional practice and public service, this report presents the findings of a rare empirical study of over 240 junior British Army officers from twelve branches of service.

Virtues and Virtue Education in Theory and in Practice

by Catherine A. Darnell and Kristján Kristjánsson

Virtues and Vices

by Phillipa Foot

Friendship for Virtue

by Kristján Kristjánsson

Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

by Immanuel Kant

The Morality of War

by Brian Orend

Aristotle and the Virtues

Howard J. Curzer

Just and Unjust Wars

by Michael Walzer

Virtue Ethics - A Contemporary Introduction

by Liezl van Zyl

Teaching and Learning the Westpoint Way

by Morten G. Ender, Raymond A. Kimball, Rachel M. Sondheimer, Jakob C. Bruhl

Character Strengths and Virtues

by Christopher Peterman and Martin Seligman

The Origins of Totalitarianism

by Hannah Arendt

Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity

by Stephen Edelston Toulmin

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

by Hannah Arendt

Kohlberg Revisited (Moral Development and Citizenship Education)

by Boris Zizek (Editor), Detlef Garz (Editor), Ewa Nowak (Editor)

Moral Development & Reality: Beyond the Theories of Kohlberg and Hoffman

by John C Gibbs

Moral Development: Guide to Piaget and Kohlberg

by Ronald F. Duska (Author), Mariellen Whelan

Personality, Identity, and Character: Explorations in Moral Psychology

by Darcia Narvaez (Editor), Daniel K. Lapsley (Editor)

Agency and Ethics: The Politics of Military Intervention (SUNY series in Global Politics)

by Anthony F. Lang Jr. (Author)

Shooting to Kill: The Ethics of Police and Military Use of Lethal Force

by Seumas Miller (Author)

Military Ethics: What Everyone Needs to Know

by George Lucas (Author)

Introduction to Military Ethics, An: A Reference Handbook

by Bill Rhodes

The Moral Dimension of Asymmetrical Warfare: Counter-terrorism, Democratic Values and Military Ethics

by Th a Van Baarda (Editor), D E M Verweij (Editor)

Military Ethics and Virtues

by Peter Olsthoorn


by martin-l-cook (Author)

Making the Military Moral: Contemporary Challenges and Responses in Military Ethics Education (Military and Defence Ethics)

by Don Carrick (Editor), James Connelly (Editor), David Whetham (Editor)

Routledge Handbook of Ethics and War: Just War Theory in the 21st Century

by Fritz Allhoff (Editor)

The Ethics of Armed Conflict: A Cosmopolitan Just War Theory

by John W. Lango

Ethics and War in the 21st Century (LSE International Studies Series

by Christopher Coker (Author)

Rethinking the Just War Tradition (Suny Series, Ethics and the Military Profession)

by Michael W. Brough (Editor), John W. Lango (Editor), Harry Van Der Linden (Editor)

The Cambridge Handbook of the Just War (Cambridge Handbooks in Philosophy)

by Larry May (Editor)

Comparative Just War Theory: An Introduction to International Perspectives

by Luis Cordeiro-Rodrigues (Editor), Danny Singh (Editor), Alex J. Bellamy (Foreword)

Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind

by Nancy Sherman (Author)

Virtuous Emotions

by Kristján Kristjánsson (Author)

Virtue Ethics and Moral Education

by David Carr (Editor), Jan Steutel (Editor)

Education for Values: Morals, Ethics and Citizenship in Contemporary Teaching

by Jo Cairns (Editor), Roy Gardner (Editor), Denis Lawton (Editor)

Just War Theory (Studies in Moral Philosophy)

by Thom Brooks
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