The 8th Philosophy of Management International Conference 2012
St Anne's College Oxford
19 - 22 July 2012
Abstract submission: 9th January 2012
Organised by Philosophy of Management
Philosophy of Management 2012 is the eighth in a series of conferences open
to all. It will be of special interest to philosophers, management
researchers and teachers, consultants and practising managers.
Following the established model at St Anne's College we are designing an
event to offer opportunities for unhurried presentation of papers and
discussion, high-quality supportive interaction and feedback, ample
opportunity for networking and a gathering in which all participants can
pursue informal, rich conversations and the continuing exploration of shared
concerns. Participants will be limited to 75 plus plenary speakers.
Contributions are invited to any of the Conference tracks - or on any aspect
of philosophy of management and from within any cultural or philosophical
tradition. We will especially welcome papers, panels and workshops on the
relationship between philosophy and management practice.
Papers will be blind-reviewed, appear on the Conference Papers website and
revised versions will be considered for publication in a forthcoming issue
of Philosophy of Management.
Papers combining empirical research and case studies with philosophical
treatment of issues will be particularly welcome in all tracks.
1. Is "Sustainability" Sustainable?
Track convenor: Wim Vandekerckhove
Sustainability has become a household name. The discourses of carbon
emissions and climate change have rendered it urgent such that 'sustainable'
is now a must for everything we do or plan. Perhaps paradoxically it has
become a driver for organisational change far beyond the domain of
This track welcomes papers that critically examine the various practices
justified through the concept of sustainability. Welcomed contributions
could cover the following:
o How far can we stretch the concept? What could it mean that it does
not yet mean? What does it mean now that it used not to mean?
o Does 'sustainable' add anything previous denominators lacked?
o Are some sustainable practices unethical?
o Is there such a thing as 'sustainable human resources management'?
o What does financial sustainability tell us about reward management?
o How has the notion of sustainability reshaped the distribution of
responsibilities between State, corporations, and citizens?
o Is there a totalitarian tendency in sustainability? Can we afford to
say or do the unsustainable?
o Is sustainable management utopian?
2. Wisdom in Management
Track convenors: Steven Gold and Bernard McKenna (Professor of Management
University of Queensland)
Wisdom has not recently been a significant area of interest for
philosophers, but oddly it has received serious attention in the disciplines
of psychology and management. Since these are applied fields of study with
practical implications defining what wisdom is, operationalizing it,
measuring it, and applying it presents a wide array of interesting problems.
This track opens the topic of wisdom up from the purely theoretical to the
applied. Topics of interest might include:
o Whose wisdom? In the Western tradition, Aristotle and the Christian
tradition from the Old Testament to Aquinas dominate the philosophical
tradition. How do they differ? What do "Eastern" and Indigenous cultures
have to say?
o Building communities of wisdom: As wisdom emerges from tradition and
practice, is it possible to overcome the ephemera, individualism, and
narcissism that dominates much of popular culture?
o Prudence is regarded as a crucial element of wisdom: why was it so
lacking in the behaviour of corporations and governments in economic and
financial policy and practice?
o Can we teach or teach for wisdom?
o Ancient western philosophy and modern psychological theorists agree
that virtue is core to wisdom. What do we mean by virtue?
o The search for meaning. How can we get beyond the meaning-of-life
fads to talk about meaningfulness?
o What does wisdom have to say about sustainability? Aristotelian
wisdom is built on the notion of eudaimonia (the good life): how can wisdom
show us the principles of a sustainable good life?
o Wisdom requires intelligence and knowledge. What sorts of
intelligence and knowledge produces wisdom?
o Psychologists have attempted to operationalize and measure wisdom
using implicit (e.g., Sternberg, Ardelt, Webster) and explicit theories of
wisdom (Baltes, Staudinger). Is wisdom so ineffable as to be beyond
3. Legitimacy and Management
Track convenor: Miriam Green
Management and its role has been a subject of interest at least since Berle
and Means' The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1932). In recent
decades managers have been working in a context where the market and market
values have acquired dominance in public as well as private organisations;
where bureaucratic structures have been weakened in favour of more
flexibility and freedom for managers; where corporations have increased
their power nationally and internationally and have developed strong
corporate cultures internally; and where inequalities in wealth and power
among managers and others have increased exponentially.
This raises questions surrounding the long-standing question of management
legitimacy, specifically about managerial values, goals and practices, the
character of a good manager, how we should judge managers, the legitimacy of
their roles and the future of management itself.
Contributions are welcomed and could include the following topics::
o Manager and management identities
o Virtue ethics in relation to managers
o The accountability of managers - to whom?
o The legitimacy of management
o Managers in strong corporate cultures - their loyalties, values and
o Whistleblowing - by managers and regarding managers
o Bureaucratic vs flexible organisation structures and the effects of
the weakening of bureaucratic principles in many organisations on
conceptions of managerial ethics
o Remuneration for managers - how do we judge what is acceptable?
o Management and other stakeholders - which other stakeholders should
be catered for to ensure legitimacy?
o Management theory and its interpretations and applications by
managers: successes and failures
o The future of management
o The Management Oath
4. On the Possibility of a Public Sector Management Philosophy
Track convenor: Paul Griseri
Over the last couple of decades there has been an increasing trend for
public sector management to draw from private sector models. The sloganised
idea of a 'New' Public Management based on emulation of private sector
practices has become an orthodoxy. Privatisation, and its cognates such as
internal markets for service provision, have led to a gradual diminishing of
the concept of public service as a value in its own right. Management
approaches such as performance measurement, developed for the management of
companies, and more specifically finding their most clear application to
activities such as manufacturing, are applied in the complex arena of public
Underlying this is the belief that an organisation that is structured and
intended to provide a public service may be compared directly in terms of
its basic operational drivers with one that is structured and intended to
generate profits for its owners and/or shareholders. There are however
drawbacks to this - the hierarchy of financial ratios, for example, that
provides an elegant means of evaluating the overall performance of a
company, has no simple analogue for, say, an education or social welfare
function of government. Simply put, the oil that greases a company's cogs
and wheels is profit - all and any activity may be assessed in terms of what
it might add to the bottom line, whether such activities be directly linked
to costs and sales, or are more remote areas such as CSR programmes or brand
recognition initiatives. No such financially founded lubricant exists in a
parallel manner for the public sector.
One basic question, therefore, underlying this track is how far might a
modelling of the public sector on the private be appropriate. The New
Public Management has, arguably, grown old, and the plight of many
governments in 2011 suggests that it has not achieved its stated aims in any
case. Therefore, it is necessary to return to the question of what models
successfully capture the several key features of the public sector, such as
the idea of public accountability, the acquisition and use of resources, the
ideal of public service, and the relation between the public sector and
other, non-governmental not-for-profit organisations.
A further issue is the division between public and private sector
activities. During the Keynesian era, it was common for developed economies
to have a significant degree of publicly-owned enterprise, in the form of
state airlines, state corporations involved in mining and extraction, state
retail banking. Whilst this has not disappeared, it has diminished, driven
by a reduced idea of the state as providing solely the infrastructure and
frameworks for other economically valuable activities to be conducted via
Papers are therefore welcomed that address questions such as the following:
o What is the nature of 'public service'?
o How can performance against resource and financial imperatives be
meaningfully compared to impact on social needs and benefits?
o Where should the lines be drawn between public and private economic
o How far can the financial conception of a company provide a basis
for evaluating public sector activities?
o To what extent can there be a conception of public sector management
that persists beyond the immediate circumstances and interests of
governments, citizens and enterprises?
o In the light of the current crises of economic debt attending much
of the developed world, how far can and should the state support private
enterprise when it is failing?
5. Moving Philosophy of Management into the Management Curriculum
Track convenor: Nigel Laurie
If philosophy of management is to inform management practice then it needs
to shape management education. This track invites theoretical and empirical
contributions on the relationship between philosophy of management as a
field of study and as a subject in the management curriculum. Contributions
on any aspect will be welcomed including the following:
o Arguments for and against including philosophy of management in the
o Reviews of issues and case histories relating to acceptance of
philosophy of management as a subject for managers at undergraduate and
o Curriculum design: examples of philosophy of management programmes,
philosophical components in other subjects programmes, materials and
o Evaluations of existing teaching programmes
o Explorations of relationships between philosophy of management and
other management subjects
o Discussion of the relationship between philosophy of management and
o Approaches to, and techniques for, developing philosophical skills
o The identification and preparation of qualified teachers in
As in French academic conferences, the 'divers' track is reserved for papers
on any other aspect of philosophy of management and they will be very
- Plenary session with invited leading speakers
- Presentations of papers in parallel sessions
- Workshops, panel discussions and interviews
- Poster presentations
We invite participants to propose collaborative formats for their sessions:
eg paper, prepared reply and moderated discussion; contrasting approaches to
an issue with papers from theorists and practitioners. Contributors are
welcome to assemble small panels to offer a series of linked papers.
The language of the conference will be English.
Please submit a 500 word abstract proposal with contact details and brief cv
all in one WORD (or equivalent) file to arrive by Monday 9 January 2012.
(Please do not submit full length papers at this stage.)
Please indicate the track to which you wish to contribute.
Please name your file as follows: (yoursurname-papertitle).doc
Papers will be double-blind peer reviewed.
9 January Proposal abstracts due
30 January Contributors informed of acceptance
30 March Full papers due
11 May Notification of conference tracks
22 June Issue of conference programme and full set of abstracts to
19 - 22 July Conference
Please note that the texts of all papers will be available before the
conference on the conference papers website. Speakers will speak to their
abstracts which will be issued by email on 22 June.
Conference booking details will be posted to this list shortly.
Two rates will be available:
1. Conference presenters: full conference attendance
2. Non-presenters and doctoral/postdoctoral student presenters: special
Fees will not exceed those for the 2010 conference.
Dr Steven Gold
Former Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies, Department of Management and
Professional Development, London Metropolitan University
Dr Paul Griseri
Managing Editor Philosophy of Management, Former Head of Management,
Founding Editor, Philosophy of Management, management consultant and
Visiting Senior Teaching Fellow, Royal Holloway School of Management (Chair)
Dr David Seth Preston
Reader in Information Ethics, University of East London and member of the
Editorial Board, Philosophy of Management
Chairman, Henderson EuroTrust plc, Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of
Dr Wim Vandekerckhove
Senior Lecturer, Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour Department,
University of Greenwich Business School