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Towards a Human Centered Theory and Practice of the Firm

40 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2010 Last revised: 30 Oct 2013

Michael Pirson

Fordham University - Graduate School of Business Administration; Harvard University; Humanistic Management Network

Ernst von Kimakowitz

Humanistic Management Center; The Humanistic Management Network; University of St. Gallen

Date Written: August 7, 2010


In this paper we review the challenges to the current economic system, and proceed by presenting two competing paradigms- the economistic and the humanistic paradigm of business. We then develop the consequences of the humanistic view for the theory of the firm and the practice of the firm. We examine business strategy, governance structures, leadership styles, and organizational culture and illustrate them based on global case examples. In this manner we contribute to the discussion of alternative theories of the firm centering the debate on authentic human needs and its consequences for management theory.

Keywords: Theory of Firm, Humanism in Business, Humanistic Management, Business Paradigms

JEL Classification: A00,B00, M00

Suggested Citation

Pirson, Michael and von Kimakowitz, Ernst, Towards a Human Centered Theory and Practice of the Firm (August 7, 2010). Fordham University Schools of Business Research Paper No. 2010-006. Available at SSRN: or

Michael Pirson (Contact Author)

Fordham University - Graduate School of Business Administration ( email )

1790 Broadway 1147
New York, NY New York 10019
United States

Harvard University

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Humanistic Management Network ( email )

St. Gallen

Ernst Von Kimakowitz

Humanistic Management Center ( email )

Sankt Gallen


The Humanistic Management Network

Sankt Gallen


University of St. Gallen

Varnbuelstr. 14
Sankt Gallen, CH-9000

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