Papers

Materialistic versus Non-materialistic Value-orientation in Management

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Materialistic versus Non-materialistic Value-orientation in Management.' , in Business and the Greater Good. Rethinking Business Ethics in an Age of Crisis, eds. Knut J. Ims, and Lars Jacob Tynes Pedersen, Edward Elgar, Cheltelham, UK, Northampton, MA, USA, 2015. (This book may be available at: Edward Elgar)

The Occupy Wall Street and other anti-globalization movement show a drastic loss of confidence in business. Mainstream business lost credibility and trust worldwide. The basic assumptions of business management became questionable. The management model of today's dominant business is based on an exclusive materialistic conception of man. Human beings are reduced to materialistic, pleasure-seeking creatures. Homo Oeconomicus is an individual, self-interest maximizing being. He or she is only interested in material utility defined in monetary terms. The materialistic management model uses money-driven extrinsic motivation and measures success only in generated cash-flow. In a post-materialistic economy profit and growth are not final ends any more but only elements of a broader set of material and non-material goals.

The Role of Spirituality in Business Education

Katalin Illes, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'The Role of Spirituality in Business Education.' Society and Business Review, 2015, vol.10, no. 1, pp. 67-75

The paper argues that there is a strong imbalance in business education between providing abstract, rational concepts and opportunities for personal growth. Introducing spirituality in business education seems to be desirable if we want to prepare students for the complexities and challenges of the workplace today. The authors give an example of how techniques from voice and drama therapy can be used for enabling students to look beyond the rational and the material. By engaging with their “true self”, students may discover dormant qualities in themselves and start to find their purpose, meaning and spirituality. The paper shows that by introducing some new approaches in business education, we can provide opportunities for students to connect their rational thoughts with conscience and the “true self”. When students make an integrated use of our mental, emotional and spiritual resources, they are better equipped to make complex decisions and behave ethically in the workplace
and in their personal lives.

Emprendedorismo guiado por la espiritualidad (Spiritually Driven Entrepreneurship)

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Emprendedorismo guiado por la espiritualidad (Spiritually Driven Entrepreneurship) .' Revista Cultura Económica , 2014, vol.32, no. 88, pp. 25-46

The paper presents cases of spiritually driven entrepreneurship from the USA, Europe and India and discusses the changes required for business organizations to become ecologically sustainable, future respecting and pro-social entities.

How Economic Incentives Destroy Social, Ecological and Existential Values: The Case of Executive Compensation

Knut J. Ims, Lars Jacob Tynen Pedersen, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'How Economic Incentives Destroy Social, Ecological and Existential Values: The Case of Executive Compensation.' Journal of Business Ethics , 2014, vol.123, no. 2, pp. 353-360

Executive compensation has long been a prominent topic in the management literature. A main question that is also given substantial attention in the business ethics literature – even more so in the wake of the recent financial crisis – is whether increasing levels of executive compensation can be justified from an ethical point of view. Also, the relationship of executive compensation to instances of unethical behavior or outcomes has received considerable attention. The purpose of this paper is to explore the social, ecological and existential costs of economic incentives, by discussing how relying on increasing levels of executive compensation may have an adverse effect on managerial performance in a broad sense.

Ethics of Social Innovation

Knut J. Ims, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Ethics of Social Innovation.' Society and Business Review , 2014, vol.9, no. 2, pp. 186-194

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the main reasons for social innovations to be successful in developing countries.Four famous cases of social innovation are studied and contrasted in the following dimensions: goals, means and skills/resources needed by the user. The authors argue that exemplary social innovations do not have profit as their primary objective but emphasize social, spiritual and humanitarian goals such as minimizing suffering, empowering people and strengthening local communities.The paper shows that sensitivity to local culture and an ethos for serving the common good are preconditions of successful and lasting social innovations by business.

Responsible Social Science in the Age of Economic Crisis

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Responsible Social Science in the Age of Economic Crisis.' Human Systems Management , 2014, vol.33, no. 1, pp. 1-5

The current economic crisis calls for a radical rethinking of the role of economics and other social sciences. It is a serious failure of social scientists when they solve the wrong problem precisely. This means that the problem formulation is inadequate, which may lead to disastrous consequences for the fate and well-being of the stakeholders. To avoid substantive failures in problem formulation social scientists should reconsider the basic assumptions of the system under study and include as many stakeholders’ views as possible. Appropriate solutions should address all the important dimensions of the problem in question (the scientific/technical, the interpersonal/social, the systemic/ecological, and the existential/spiritual), and create an optimal balance among them. Social scientists should also investigate their developed solutions from a deontological point of view (i.e.

The Importance of Meta-economics

Laszlo Zsolnai 'The Importance of Meta-economics.' , in Responsible Economics. E.F. Schumacher and His Legacy for the 21st Century, ed. Hendrik Opdebeeck, Peter Lang Academic Publishers, Oxford, 2013.

Meta-economics is the basic assumptions about the subject-matter, value-orientation and methodology of economics. The paper attempts to reconstruct the meta-economic foundation of mainstream economics and that of alternative economics initiated by Schumacher. It shows how the emerging alternative economics transcends the erroneous meta-economic assumptions of mainstream economics by considering the total economic process, choosing sustainable livelihood as basic value-orientation, and employing a constructive methodology.

Collaborative Enterprise and Sustainability: The Case of Slow Food

Antonio Tencati, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Collaborative Enterprise and Sustainability: The Case of Slow Food.' Journal of Business Ethics, 2012, vol.110, no. 3, pp. 345-354

The current and prevailing paradigm of intensive agricultural production is a straightforward example of the mainstream way of doing business. Mainstream enterprises are based on a negativistic view of human nature that leads to counter-productive and unsustainable behaviours producing negative impact for society and the natural environment. If we want to change the course, then different players are needed, which can flourish thanks to their capacity to serve others and creating values for all the participants in the network in which they are embedded. In the article, through the analysis of the Slow Food movement and the use of recent theoretical and empirical contributions in behavioural sciences and psychology, we support the collaborative enterprise model as an alternative to the still prevailing, mainstream business models.

Spirituality and Business: An Interdisciplinary Overview

Luk Bouckaert, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Spirituality and Business: An Interdisciplinary Overview.' Society and Economy, 2012, vol.34, no. 3, pp. 489-514

We believe that business ethics needs a more spiritual foundation to solve the business ethics failure. Why? Because spirituality – as an inner experience of deep interconnectedness with all living beings – opens a space of distance from the pressures of the market and the routines of business as usual. This distance is a necessary condition for developing innovative ethical ideas and practices. It restores intrinsic motivation and provides a long time horizon. Unfortunately spirituality is not yet a mainstream concept in academia and the business world. In academia and business, instrumental and utilitarian rationality is still the dominant perspective, whereas spirituality is anchored in a deeper, noninstrumental and nonutilitarian experience of life.

Redefining the Roles and Duties of Management

Laszlo Zsolnai, Sven Junghagen, and Antonio Tencati 'Redefining the Roles and Duties of Management.' Journal of Global Responsibility , 2012, vol.3, no. 1, pp. 121-133

The paper analyses the crisis of the business profession and the role that management education can play in renewing business management. It is argued that unless future managers demonstrate that they serve the common good in their daily practice, the legitimacy and moral standing of the business profession remain questionable. The paper presents the Masters in International Management Program of CEMS – Global Alliance in Management Education as a pioneering example of developing reflective and responsible managers. The future manager is defined as a reflexive practitioner who is committed to
environmental sustainability, exercises social responsibility, works with sensitivity toward gender and diversity issues, harmonizes information and communications technologies with processes and organizational culture, applies holistic perspective in problem solving, cooperates with social and political actors, and is engaged in progressive entrepreneurship.