Character, governance and conduct. A reminder from family business
The field of management has for the last several decades been preoccupied with theory and technique. Where that pursuit has been scholarly, theories have gravitated towards the macro-social and economic; where it has aimed towards practice, often in the world of consulting, there has been too much in the way of administrative quick fixes and fads. Missing in much of this discourse is the human element, specifically the degree to which moral character and personality, more than economic incentives and institutional forces, shape behavior in and of organizations. I am referring here not to typical human resources concerns regarding, for example, motivations that drive absenteeism or commitment on the job. Rather, I am addressing the ethics and behavior of those who own and manage organizations, large and small. It is no accident that the focus of political commentary in the press is as much on personality as politics. The journalists seem to have it right: the character of a country’s politicians has a great bearing on its fate.