The Search for Meaning in Organizations: Seven Practical Questions for Ethical Managers

The Search for Meaning in Organizations: Seven Practical Questions for Ethical Managers

The Search for Meaning in Organizations: Seven Practical Questions for Ethical Managers

The Search for Meaning in Organizations: Seven Practical Questions for Ethical Managers

Synopsis

Pava calls for a new kind of organization built on a more accurate definition of what the organization is. He argues that organizations can and should satisfy not only basic human needs, but also the highest human aspirations as well. He helps us recognize that since business plays a central role in our culture, we must understand that ethics is bound up in that role inextricably, and we need to think about ethics systematically if we hope to achieve organizational change. Ultimately ethics is about creating and sustaining meaningful work environments without sacrificing legitimate concerns for the bottom line; it is not about following a set of onerous, nit-picking rules. This book is an engaging contribution to the literature on management, business and society, and the theory and practice of ethics.

Excerpt

If business ethics conjures up an image of an ever-growing and more inventive list of "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots," it is because the business ethics movement has often been misunderstood. Business ethics is not about constraints; it is about purpose and human potential. the core idea upon which this book is built is that the power and success of business are ultimately dependent on managers' beliefs about life's meanings. It is no exaggeration to suggest that corporate success is set in motion and encouraged by a set of core ethical values shared by managers, employees, and other stakeholders.

While some general values are shared across corporations and cultures, others are unique to particular industries, organizations, and individuals. Until recently, core values were perceived as firm, lasting, and stable; describing them as being inscribed in stone really wasn't all that far off the mark. Handed down from generation to generation, core values were easily learned or at least acceptably mimicked with a minimum of thought. On the brink of the twenty-first century, this is hardly the case.

In fact, today it is recognized that there is no magic formula, other than hard work, to discover or invent these evolving core values. the only way to learn and use them is to talk about them with each other.

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