A selection of interesting research and articles we found recently on management craft and ethics.

Caring orientations in management craft
In view of the ethical crises that have proliferated over the last decade, scholars have reflected critically on the ideal of management as a value-neutral, objective science. The alternative conceptualisation of management as a craft has been introduced but not yet sufficiently elaborated. In particular, although authors such as Mintzberg and MacIntyre suggest craft as an appropriate alternative to science, neither of them systematically describes what “craft” is, and thus how it could inform an ethical managerial orientation.

In this paper, Steven Taylor, Donna Ladkin and Matt Statler draw from the literature to elaborate three caring orientations associated with craft practices: caring for materials, caring for process and caring for end-users. They suggest that conceptualising management as a craft in these terms offers an approach to business ethics that goes beyond the “ethics of compliance” and toward a more embodied and embedded form of ethical enactment within organizations.

For more details, see: Steven S. Taylor, Donna Ladkin and Matt Statler. 2015. Caring Orientations: The Normative Foundations of the Craft of Management.
Journal of Business Ethics, 2015, 128(3), 575-584

Is virtue the missing ethics element in emotional intelligence?
Michael Segon and Chris Booth note that the Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI) framework of Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis has gained significant impact in business leadership and management development. This paper considers the composition of the various versions of the ECI and its successor the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory to determine the nature of any appeal to ethics or moral competence within these frameworks.

A series of concerns regarding the ethical limitations of the frameworks are presented with arguments supported by the relevant literature across the Emotional Intelligence (EI), competency theory and ethics fields. Based on a review of the ECI competencies in terms of their definitional constructs, it appears possible for an unethical manager or leader to demonstrate EI competence. Several cases involving high-profile business leaders, who were once lauded but later found to have acted unethically, are analysed.

The authors consider the capacity of unethical leaders and managers to fulfil EI competence an issue of concern. The inclusion of an ethical management cluster and a number of competencies based on virtue ethics is proposed to meet this concern. Such an inclusion would address the critical issue of the purpose to which an EI competence is applied. Argument supporting the value of a virtue ethics approach as opposed to utilitarian or duty-based ethics approaches is also presented. Finally, a proposed exemplar of an ethically informed ECI framework is included for consideration.

More details are at: Michael Segon and Chris Booth 2015. Virtue: The Missing Ethics Element in Emotional Intelligence.
Journal of Business Ethics, 128(4), 789-802.

Neglected ethical and spiritual motivations at work
Understanding what motivates employees is essential to the success of organizational objectives. Therefore, properly capturing and explaining the full range of such motivations are important. However, the classical and most popular theories describing employee motives have neglected, if not omitted entirely, the importance of the ethical and spiritual dimensions of motivation. This has led to a model of a person as self-interested, amoral, and non-spiritual.

In this paper, Manuel Guillén, Ignacio Ferrero and W. Michael Hoffman attempt to expose this omission and offer a more complete taxonomy of motivations which include these dimensions. Although more work will need to be done to fully develop the ethical and spiritual dimensions of motivation, the authors propose that the expanded taxonomy will provide the foundations and serve as a guide for such further research. Furthermore, this new categorisation of motivations brings out the full dimensions of being human, which promises to lead to improved management practices with regard to employees and foster greater human flourishing in the workplace.

For more information, see: Manuel Guillén, Ignacio Ferrero and W. Michael Hoffman. 2015. The Neglected Ethical and Spiritual Motivations in the Workplace.
Journal of Business Ethics, 128(4), 803-816.

Universal values and virtues in management or moral relativism?
Despite the fact that business people and business students often cast doubt on the relevance of universal moral principles in business, the rejection of relativism is a precondition for business ethics to get off the ground. This paper proposes an educational strategy to overcome the philosophical confusions about relativism in which business people and students are often trapped. First, the paper provides some conceptual distinctions and clarifications related to moral relativism, particularism, and virtue ethics. More particularly, it revisits arguments demonstrating that virtues in business are not in contradiction with the relevance of universal principles, despite the fact that virtue ethics is often identified with particular relationships and contexts.

It goes on to show how students and managers, but also researchers, often mix up radically different conceptions of moral relativism. It is also argued that this confusion is in part created by the cross-cultural management literature in which the methodological stance of the value-freedom of the social sciences is, in a perplexingly mistaken way, transformed into a rejection of all normative discussion and a plea for relativism. The remainder of the paper presents some tools that may be helpful in steering people toward less simplistic views about moral relativism and virtue ethics. It further argues that it is equally important to spell out that moral universalism can be understood in a humble way, without implying either arrogant ethnocentrism or omniscience, as part of an ongoing debate that progresses gradually.

More details are in the full paper: Geert Demuijnck. 2015. Universal Values and Virtues in Management Versus Cross-Cultural Moral Relativism: An Educational Strategy to Clear the Ground for Business Ethics.
Journal of Business Ethics, 128(4), 817-835.

Review of multilevel and strategic recruiting
Recruiting influences employees’ motivation, performance, and retention. Because an organisation’s talent influences its capabilities, strategic execution, and competitive advantage, recruiting is a foundation of organisational performance. Strategic recruitment refers to recruitment practices that are connected across levels of analysis and aligned with the goals, strategies, context, and characteristics of the organisation. It differs from traditional recruitment perspectives by explicitly connecting firm strategy and context to recruitment practices and activities within that firm. Strategic recruitment lies at the nexus of four important topics: resource-based theory, strategic human resource management, human capital, and levels of analysis.

In their review, Jean Phillips and Stanley Gully first define strategic recruitment and explain its importance. Next, the authors briefly review why strategic recruitment is a critical yet underexplored area of research despite decades of research on strategic human resource management in general and recruitment in particular. Finally, they introduce a model to advance understanding of strategic recruitment. Phillips and Gully introduce two new concepts, horizontal strategic recruitment and vertical strategic recruitment, which connect to the ideas of horizontal and vertical alignment in the strategic human resource management literature but focus explicitly on the notion of strategic recruitment. This model highlights a variety of opportunities for future recruitment research relevant to resource-based theory, strategic human resource management, human capital, and levels of analysis.

The full-text of this paper is available to read for free: Jean M. Phillips & Stanley M. Gully. 2015. 
 Multilevel and Strategic Recruiting: Where Have We Been, Where Can We Go From Here?
Journal of Management, April 21, 0149206315582248

Managerial impact on strategic change
Constance Helfat and Jeffrey Martin point out that the dynamic managerial capabilities literature has developed over the past decade to the point where a review and synthesis of relevant literature is needed. The concept of dynamic managerial capabilities—the capabilities with which managers create, extend, and modify the ways in which firms make a living—helps to explain the relationship between the quality of managerial decisions, strategic change, and organizational performance. The authors clarify theoretical constructs and their relationships, review and synthesize empirical research on the role and impact of managerial capabilities directed toward strategic change, and suggest avenues for future research. This review begins with an overview of theoretical conceptions of dynamic managerial capabilities. The remainder of the review is organized around the three core underpinnings of dynamic managerial capabilities: managerial cognition, managerial social capital, and managerial human capital. In the review, Helfat and Matrin examine evidence from studies of dynamic managerial capabilities and reinterpret evidence prior to the introduction of the dynamic managerial capabilities concept through that lens. Consistent with the dynamic managerial capabilities concept, empirical research shows that managers differ in their impact on strategic change and firm performance and that differences in managerial cognition, social capital, and human capital lead to different outcomes.

The full-text of this paper is available to read for free: Constance E. Helfat and Jeffrey A. Martin. 2015.  Dynamic Managerial Capabilities. Review and Assessment of Managerial Impact on Strategic Change.
Journal of Management, 41(5), 1281-1312.