1st Edition

The Critique of Management Towards a Philosophy and Ethics of Business Management

By Vincent Blok Copyright 2022
    224 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    224 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book reflects on the nature of business management to contribute to the development of a philosophy and ethics of management. It engages in conceptual engineering of management to delineate the phenomenon of management and, as a result, to open a new perspective on management beyond its self-evident conceptualization.

    After questioning the self-evident concept of management, the author develops a philosophy of management with six dimensions of the nature of management: management as participation; management as resistance and responsive action; management as constitution of meaning; management as politico-economic governance; management as non-reductive stakeholder engagement; and management as epistemic insufficient entrepreneurship. These six dimensions of management are taken as points of departure to develop an integrated concept of business ethics, an individual competence for ethical business management, and a concept of ethical codes for corporate social responsible behavior. This new conception of philosophy of management and business ethics can guide future philosophical and empirical work on the nature of management.

    The Critique of Management is an excellent resource for researchers, students, and professionals interested in philosophy of management, business ethics, and corporate social responsibility.


    1. Setting the Scene: Opening Up the Self-Evident Concept of Management

    2. Management as Participation, Responsive Action, and Constitution of Meaning

    3. Management as Politico-Economic Governance

    4. Management as Non-Reductive Stakeholder Engagement

    5. Management as Epistemic Insufficient Entrepreneurship

    6. Managing for the Common Good: Toward an Integrated Principle of Business Ethics



    Vincent Blok is associate professor in Philosophy of Technology, Business Ethics, and Responsible Innovation, Wageningen University, The Netherlands. He holds a PhD in philosophy of technology from Leiden University. His books include Ernst Jünger’s Philosophy of Technology: Heidegger and the Poetics of the Anthropocene (Routledge 2017) and Heidegger’s Concept of Philosophical Method: Innovating Philosophy in the Age of Global Warming (Routledge 2019).

    "Finally, a book in Management Philosophy providing clear and concise definitions gluing the fields together, making us understand the possibilities and impossibilities of management better." -- Anders Bordum, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

    "At last, a philosopher looks critically at the idea of management, and some its associated literature in business ethics. Vincent Blok has done management theory a favor in showing how philosophy can be useful in understanding the basic ideas of management in a sophisticated way." -- R. Edward Freeman, Professor of Business Ethics, professor business administration at the Darden School of the University of Virginia, USA.

    "Vincent Blok is one of the most important contemporary philosophers of innovation, technology and management. He engages deeply with various expert literatures to tackle important questions in an accessible way. What is management? What is the best it could be? What sort of knowledge can managers use to make decisions? I expect that anyone reading this book, as expert as they might be, will come away with a new insight and a new learning." -- Wim Vandekerckhove, Professor of Business Ethics, University of Greenwich and Editor-in-Chief Philosophy of Management, UK.

    "This book is one of the most important contributions to the developing field of the philosophy of management in this century. A simple but fundamental question is raised, which many have pondered over – what is management? – and is pursued with a thoroughness that enables the reader to follow the many different facets of the argument, through ancient Greek philosophy to modern critical theory, across political, social and ethical disciplines,, and covering management in the widest range of different contexts. The author builds his position carefully and iteratively over succeeding chapters, to arrive at a broad and comprehensive perspective on the field. This is a book which speaks simultaneously to several audiences: managers in general wishing to understand more deeply the issues involved in their day-to-day decisions, philosophers formulating ways to apply their frameworks to business issues, business ethicists looking for a groundwork for their investigations, management scholars seeking a sound foundation for their ideas, as well as students on MBA and related programmes as they develop their understanding of management. A valuable addition to the literature." -- Paul Griseri, author of An Introduction to the Philosophy of Management