Advertisement

How Utilitarianism Can Inform Decent Managers in Plural and Culturally Diverse Contexts

  • Andrew GustafsonEmail author
Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbooks in Philosophy book series (HP)

Abstract

Utilitarianism, the theory that one should do what will bring about the greatest happiness for the many, is an excellent ethical theory to guide managers. Thoughtful management practices could benefit everyone – not just the shareholders, employees, and the managers but society as a whole. Management directed by utilitarian ethics keeps focused on long-term consequences, and here we will see that it provides a basis for ethics which can apply to all, while providing a basis for meaningful work and teamwork rooted in justice and fairness, respect for individuals and freedom, and the rights of minority groups. Mill’s utilitarianism claims that industrious commerce and fair competition in a well-administered free market economy will bring benefits indispensable to society’s progress.

Keywords

Utilitarianism, Greatest happiness, Management, Community, Liberty, Capitalism, Competition 

References

  1. Drucker P [1954] (2006) The practice of management. HarperCollins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Financial Times (2009, March 12) Welch condemns share price focusGoogle Scholar
  3. Friedman M (1970, September 30) The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. New York TimesGoogle Scholar
  4. Gustafson A (2013) In defense of a utilitarian business ethic. Bus Soc Rev 118(3):325–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gustafson A (2018) Consequentialism and non-nonsequentialism. In: Heath E, Kaldis B, Marcoux A (eds) The Routledge companion to business ethics. Routledge, Abingdon/New York, pp 79–95Google Scholar
  6. Henry N (1992) Public administration and public affairs. Prentice-Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  7. Hirschberg G (2008) Stirring it up. Hyperion, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Martin L (1997) Jeremy Bentham: utilitarianism, public policy and the administrative state. J Manag Hist 3(3):272–282Google Scholar
  9. Mill JS (1850, January) On the Negro question. Fraser’s Magazine, XLI, pp 25–31Google Scholar
  10. Mill JS (1965) Principles of political economy [1848]. In: Collected works of John Stuart Mill, vol 3. University of Toronto Press, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  11. Mill JS (1998) In: Crisp R (ed) Utilitarianism. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Mill JS (2007) In: Ryan A (ed) On liberty [1859] and the subjection of women [1869]. Penguin Classics, HarmondsworthGoogle Scholar
  13. Sen A (1993) Does business ethics make economic sense? Bus Ethics Q 3(1):45–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Sidgwick H (1901) The methods of ethics. Macmillan & Co., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Smith A (1904) In: Cannan E (ed) An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations [1776]. Methuen, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Stangis D, Smith KV (2017) The executives’ guide to 21st century corporate citizenship: how your company can win the battle for reputation and impact. Emerald Publishing, BingleyGoogle Scholar
  17. Taylor FW [1911] (1998) The principles of scientific management. Dover Publications, MineolaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Creighton UniversityOmahaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Cristina Neesham
    • 1
  • Rob Macklin
    • 2
  1. 1.Swinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

Personalised recommendations