Dignity and Well-Being as Cornerstones of Humanistic Management

16 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2017 Last revised: 3 Mar 2017

See all articles by Michael Pirson

Michael Pirson

Fordham University - Gabelli School of Business; Humanistic Management Network; Harvard University

Date Written: February 13, 2017


Humanistic management rests on two cornerstones drawn from the fundamentally different perspective on human nature described before. The notion of dignity and the dignity threshold form one pillar of humanistic management. The notion of well-being forms the second pillar, and is the ultimate organizing goal of humanistic management. This chapter explores both concepts.

Dignity is what distinguishes humanistic management from traditional economistic management. There are three relevant aspects of dignity: dignity as a general category encompassing that which has no price, human dignity as inherent and universal, and human dignity as conditional and earned. Despite its ambiguity, the notion of dignity can improve management research’s theoretical accuracy in the future.

Similarly, the chapter describes the concept of well-being, starting from a historical perspective and its Aristotelian roots, to its utilitarian reinterpretation. This reinterpretation of well-being as utility became the foundation of modern economic thought at the end of the 19th century and, in turn, the basis for a large part of management theory. Humanistic management suggests a return to the foundational concept of well-being as flourishing (Eudaimonia). The chapter concludes by describing how the creation of shared well-being, not wealth, is the ultimate goal of organizing practices in the humanistic perspective, and argues that this better serves individuals, companies and society.

Keywords: Dignity, Well Being, Humanistic Management

JEL Classification: L00, M00

Suggested Citation

Pirson, Michael, Dignity and Well-Being as Cornerstones of Humanistic Management (February 13, 2017). Humanistic Management Association, Research Paper Series No. 17-9, Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University Research Paper No. 2916454, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2916454 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2916454

Michael Pirson (Contact Author)

Fordham University - Gabelli School of Business ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10018
United States

Humanistic Management Network ( email )

St. Gallen

Harvard University

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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