Ethics and Organizational Practice

Ethics and Organizational Practice

Questioning the Moral Foundations of Management

Edited by Sara Louise Muhr, Bent Meier Sørensen and Steen Vallentin

This timely book provides a collection of critical explorations and discussions of managerial ethics and their moral foundations. It is concerned with theoretical, conceptual and practical matters, and thus provides an open and broad approach to a very dense field of enquiry.

Chapter 3: More than Words – An Analysis of Scandinavian Value-based Management

Jeanette Lemmergaard

Subjects: business and management, critical management studies, organisation studies


Jeanette Lemmergaard INTRODUCTION 1. The call for a more humanistic approach to ethics, which was emphasized in the previous chapter, will be responded to in this chapter. As such, the aim of this chapter is to explore ways of enacting Scandinavian valuebased management, that is, managing through communicating social values and ethical stances. In his classic book The Functions of the Executive, first published in 1938, Chester I. Barnard postulates that the managing director performs three functions in an organization. First, he provides and maintains a system of communication. Second, he promotes essential and cooperative efforts from individuals, and finally, he formulates and defines purpose and objectives. This chapter argues that Barnard’s view on management and the function of the manager is not different from the view on management underlying the Scandinavian version of value-based management. Despite the fact that value-based management emphasizes moral value in contrast to economic value as a managerial guiding star, at least in the Scandinavian version of value-based management, the underlying managerial mechanisms represent a rather conventional view on management. The rhetoric is different, but the underlying assumptions are the same. To explore deeper into the nature of organizational values and the concept of value-based management, this chapter first discusses the concept of Scandinavian value-based management and then analyses this empirically through a case study analysis. First, this chapter explores the concept of Scandinavian value-based management and discusses the dilemmas inherent in it. Then data are introduced from an empirical study in the form of...

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