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Chapter 1

The Philosophy of Management: Philosophy as a

Challenge to Business, Management as a Challenge
to Philosophy

I. Introduction
II. Management Ethics and Corporate Governance: The Total Good of
the Firm as the Fiduciary Duty of the Manager
III. Management and Cultural Philosophy 1: Culture Value as the Task
of the Organization to Increase the Internal Cooperation
1. What is Cultural Capital?
2. The Increased Cooperation of the Firm as Cultural Capital and
Culture Value
IV. Management and Cultural Philosophy 2: The Circle of
Experiencing and Understanding in Management and in Art
1. The Cultural Surplus Value of the Goods and Services as the
Firm’s Task
2. The Circle of Cultural Understanding and Experiencing in the
Production of Art and of Industry
V. The Challenge of Management to Philosophy

A new field of exploration between different fields of expertise must be

a synthesis of the contribution of the two fields since it should be more than
just the account of the borderline of the two fields in question. As a
synthesis, this field will draw from the resources of knowledge of the two
theses of the synthesized fields and will be fruitful to both of them. The
same holds true for the philosophy of management. The philosophy of
management as a field to be developed must draw insights from both bodies
of knowledge and it must be useful to both of them. If two fields ought to be
open to a synthesis they must not stand in strict anti-thesis to each other but
must have something in common. They must be sub-contrary opposites, not
contradictory opposites. Hegelians often disregard in their endeavor to
mediate everything that only sub-contrary and not contradictory contradictions

P. Koslowski (ed.), Elements of a Philosophy of Management and Organization, 3

Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-11140-2_1,
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

can be “sublated” or reconciled in a synthesis. That philosophy and manage-

ment theory can be synthesized requires that philosophy and management
have something in common. There must be something philosophical in
management and something managerial in philosophy.

I. Introduction

What is this common ground between philosophy and management? Both

deal with human action, its quality of goal attainment and with the need for
the coordination of human actions. The governing of oneself and the
governing of others is the central concern of philosophical ethics and of
political philosophy. Managing oneself and managing others is the goal of
management. To manage is a newer term then the term to govern and it also
includes a shift in the way governing is done. The first trace of the term
“manager” is found in Shakespeare’s play Love’s Labour’s Lost.1 It is not
accidental that managing becomes a central term with modern times and that
it is first used in modernity by the great playwright of the English language.
Management is governing without political power, is leading without
recourse to political or religious authority. Its legitimacy is functional:
Management is justified by its function to increase efficiency, not by the
political good or the consent of those influenced by the management. Its
legitimacy is neither traditional nor consensual, it is functional. The idea of
management implies that the people managed feel that they win by being
Jeremy Rifkin and later Peter Sloterdijk have compared the managers of
the large corporations to the great feudal lords of the middle ages. Like
those, they possess, they say, large semi-political power without being the
government. Like the feudal lords they are not subjected to political vote.
This comparison is somewhat misleading since management is subjected to
strict functional control and to measurement by success in terms of turnover
and profits. Management will be fired if the figures are not good, a feature
that the feudal lords did not share. If the managers are successful in terms
of creating value and profit they might become almost unquestionable but

W. SHAKESPEARE: Love’s Labour’s Lost I, 2, ed. by Arden, 5th edition 1956,
reprint 1960, pp. 29, 172. Cf. J. FELDHOFF: Article “Manager”, in: J. RITTER,
K. GRÜNDER (Eds.): Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, Basel (Schwabe)
1980, vol. 5, col. 709.