Management decisions rest on social values of the manager

“Any technique of social control, however, involves human interests and the exercise of power over men. This means that any suggestion of a method for the solution of a social problem is shot through with normative implications.” Found in a book, Daniel B. Klein, ed., What Do Economists Contribute (NY Univ. Press 1999) at 32, this quote says to me that whenever general counsel manage others, their actions are “shot through with normative implications,” which means their values shape what they do regarding leading people.

Always observed keenly by their staff, general counsel eventually expose their operative values, and their staff adjust (See my post of May 31, 2006: all management reveals values; June 10, 2008: core values of Whole Foods’ legal team; July 28, 2008: a methodology for incorporating values into decisions; Aug. 27, 2008: Rawls’ “original position” and values; Sept. 1, 2008: ways our values sometimes obstruct us; Sept. 28, 2008: Enlightenment values; March 9, 2009: a general counsel’s core values; March 20, 2009: best practices presume a values foundation; July 22, 2009: false consensus and presumed shared values; and July 29, 2009: some of this blogger’s core values.).

Every practice written about on this blog, and all the practices not yet addressed here, rest on implicit or explicit philosophies of what motivates humans – those beliefs are the normative framework underneath decisions about people, even if they are rarely articulated or reconciled.

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