- Elgar original reference
Edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni
Chapter 41: Values based organizations
The underlying motivations of actions have an important value in civil and economic life, and in those of organizations as well. Human beings are the only animals capable of attributing a meaning and a value to their own and others’ motivations, and not only to the material results and objectives derived from a certain behavior. For as long as, and to the extent in which, organizations and markets remain human places, motivations will matter, including the most complex motivation of the simple search for profit (Bruni and Zamagni 2009). Nevertheless, economics does not consider, or at least did not consider until recent times, the motivations underlying actions. Rather, and for uncommon reasons, economics considers it dangerous to include them in economic analyses. This is because the principal characteristic of modern economy, that which is most rooted and profound, is the definition of the market as a place where we can meet and exchange, without having to consider ‘why’ each party is undertaking a given action or trade. Analyzing the ‘why’, in fact, calls into play the identity, history, caste, class, religion – all the elements which during the ancient regime (and to a certain extent even at present, in some parts of the world) were a cause of limitations to economic and social development.
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