How General Managers Humanize Their Profession: Evidence from Practice

20 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2008 Last revised: 1 Dec 2008

See all articles by David Pastoriza

David Pastoriza

HEC Montreal

J. E. Ricart

University of Navarra - IESE Business School


There is a prolific strand of executive literature that analyzes managers' daily activities. Nevertheless, research has remained silent about the managers' priorities that drive those numerous activities. The goal of this paper is, precisely, to gain a better understanding of which are those manager's priorities, and to discover which is the place that occupies in those priorities the so called humanizing dimension of management. We base our study on an inductive analysis of in-depth interviews with 19 general managers of multinational firms. The analysis results in more than 200 priorities that are clustered in four broader groups of major managerial concerns: to develop the business model and the future of the firm, to manage the people, and to create an institutional strategy - composed of principles and values, purpose, working philosophy - that gives coherence to the organization. Far from what recent claims suggest, our analysis reveals a true preoccupation of executives to integrate a humanistic dimension of management with their daily practice. Maybe academia has unfairly contributed to the delegitimation of management as a profession. Maybe it is scholars that must start the process of humanizing their theories.

Keywords: Managers Priorities, Humanizing Management

Suggested Citation

Pastoriza, David and Enric Ricart, Joan, How General Managers Humanize Their Profession: Evidence from Practice. 1st IESE Conference, "Humanizing the Firm & Management Profession", Barcelona, IESE Business School, June 30-July 2, 2008, Available at SSRN:

David Pastoriza (Contact Author)

HEC Montreal ( email )

3000, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine
Montreal, Quebec H2X 2L3

Joan Enric Ricart

University of Navarra - IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034
34 3 204 40 00 (Phone)
34 3 280 11 77 (Fax)

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