The discipline of “business as a humanity” is as old as time. 

Works by Plato, Niccolo Machiavelli,  and other great philosophers of ancient times through today continue to illuminate the economic, political, social, and theological importance of human conduct and debatably organizational behavior and practices.  And even when the field of business administration was still in its early formation (early 20th century), philosophers and management scholars, like Peter Drucker, Thomas J. Donaldson, and R. Edward Freeman, visualized a capacity for business activity to embody human well-being, both as a means to promote it but also an end in itself.  Phrased differently, business value is frequently measured in instrumental, economic terms, and business as a humanity represents a re-evaluation of business as intrinsically valuable and a humanistic endeavor.

As the above-mentioned scholars and now others, like Barbara Czarniawska, Mihir Desai, Tim Feddersen, Dierdre McCloskey, Chris Laszlo, and Michael Pirson (just to name a few), have spotlighted the discipline of business as a humanity is needed more so than ever given the continuous rise of corporate misconduct.

Our Business Humanities series attempt to return to these texts (both western and eastern) and ancient wisdoms. While all our courses in the Enterprise & Business unit take into consideration liberal arts values, our Business & the Humanities series and courses explicitly take on these themes and readings. As part of this series, we invite scholars globally to participate in  our classrooms to illuminate the field of Humanistic Management.  In sum, the goal of this series is ultimately to provide tools and perspectives that help students engage thoughtfully in these debates and to extend them into application in their own roles as engaged citizens, corporate, nonprofit, public, and entrepreneurial leaders.


Tim Nguyen, Professor and Director