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Our point of departure is a clear acknowledgement of the tremendous progress that variations in market economies have brought about in many societies. The wealth and prosperity enjoyed in the rich parts of the world today are unprecedented and give us reason to embrace those factors that have led to emancipation, treat escape from existential hardship, and a substantial increase in personal and collective freedoms in these societies.

Simultaneously, however, the success story of market economies has produced negative side effects that have become too grave to be ignored by simply claiming that the pros outweigh the cons. This holds true on a global, systemic level as well as when examining business organizations and people as individuals.

Consequently, the Humanistic Management Network advocates a paradigm shift away from economistic views on market activities towards a humanistic approach. To move from criticism of the status quo towards a fruitful discourse on alternatives we have developed a three stepped approach offering guidance and an anchor for reflection on managerial decisions as well as decision making processes. We understand humanistic management on the basis of three interrelated dimensions.

These are:

  • Firstly, that we as humans deserve and rightfully expect our dignity to be respected under all circumstances.
  • Secondly, that ethical consideration must form part and parcel of business decisions, and
  • Thirdly, that actively embracing corporate responsibilities is contingent upon initiating and maintaining an ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders.

In summary, humanistic management is the pursuit of strategies and practices aimed at the creation of sustainable human welfare. In combination, these three dimensions promote human well being through economic activities that are life-conducive and add value to society at large. Submitting business decisions to these three guiding principles is what we call humanistic management. MANIFESTO

We believe that market economies hold a substantial potential for human development in general. To promote life-conducive market activities, we want to complement the quantitative metrics, which hitherto define managerial and economic success, with qualitative evaluation criteria that focus on the human dignity and well-being of every woman and every man.

In business as well as in society, respect for human dignity demands respect for human freedom. Hence, collective decision-making, in corporations just as in governments, should be based on free and equal deliberation, participation, or representation of all affected parties. Concerns of legitimacy must, in economics like in politics, precede questions of expediency.

The Humanistic Management Network defends human dignity in the face of its vulnerability. The dignity of the human being lies in her or his capacity to define, autonomously, the purpose of her or his existence. Since human autonomy realizes itself through social cooperation, economic relations and business activities can either foster or obstruct human life and well-being. Against the widespread objectification of human subjects into human resources, against the common instrumentalization of human beings into human capital and a mere means for profit, we uphold humanity as the ultimate end and key principle of all economic activity.

Introduction to Humanistic Management




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