Pragmatism and Management Inquiry: Insights from the Thought of Charles S. Peirce

Pragmatism and Management Inquiry: Insights from the Thought of Charles S. Peirce

Pragmatism and Management Inquiry: Insights from the Thought of Charles S. Peirce

Pragmatism and Management Inquiry: Insights from the Thought of Charles S. Peirce

Synopsis

A cool, lucid examination of the thought of the American philosopher Charles S. Peirce, offering an important clarification and an innovative way to view human actions and the way management is practiced.

Excerpt

There are a number of reasons why I am pleased to write this foreword to Juan Fontrodona’s book Pragmatism and Management Inquiry: Insights from the Thought of Charles S. Peirce. First, the insights Fontrodona brings forth in this work clearly relate to business ethics, a field in which I have worked for the past twenty-five years. Second, the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley College, which I have directed since its founding in 1976, has had as one of its core objectives the meaningful interaction of theory and practice, ethical thought and effective action. This integration is at the heart of Fontrodona’s management inquiry and his understanding of C.S. Peirce’s pragmatism. Third, and on a more personal note, I had the rewarding experience of getting to know Juan during the 2000–2001 academic year, when he spent a year at the Center as a Research Scholar. In addition to his being a man full of humanity and sensitivity, he has a first-class mind—exemplified in the writing of this work, which is of considerable significance to business and the values that ought to guide it.

Both business and Peirce are concerned with action and decision making. Undoubtedly this is why Fontrodona finds the writings of Peirce an appropriate medium through which to analyze management theory and practice. But many have reduced both management and Peirce to equating action with simply the external results of that which is pursued. Thus, Peirce’s philosophy has frequently been characterized by the phrase that “what is effective is true,” and management success has all too often been isolated to what can be measured in economic terms or the hitting of finan-

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