Humanistic management as a solution to manage a company

What is humanistic management?

The world is getting faster and faster, markets are getting crazy and the planet is boiling. Employees start to quit their job on the spot because they cannot bear it anymore not being listened, not having any impact on the overall welfare and having to perform pointless tasks. Those who cannot leave, blame fate and hope for a miracle that will change it. 

What distinguishes humanistic management from the management based on economic profits is putting human and responsibility for his environment in the centre of planning. Taking care of people’s well-being in the organizations, getting to know their structures and inner management mechanisms from the human’s perspective  becomes more important than thoughtless increase of productivity only by multiplying capital and striving for the highest ROI.

If the dilemma of the modern world is the question who and how should manage, professional activities and work seem in the centre of it. Should humanistic management replace the traditional management aimed at the quickest maximization of profits without paying attention to the non-economic costs such as mental, social and environmental?

What’s interesting both management concepts have the same intellectual father – Adam Smith an XVIII-century philosopher. In the humanistic context he is appreciated for his moral philosophy remarks, while in the aspect of the productivity-oriented management he is considered as an economist.

adam smith i zarzadzanie firmami

How humanistic management changes the functioning of an organization? Is it a new CSR?

Humanistic management is focused on searching solutions to improve the functioning of people in organizations – to guarantee their well-being, make them feel committed, satisfied and happy. It refers not only to employees but also to the clients who are treated as partners, and in a broader context – to future generations, the whole planet  and local communities. The responsibility for the future is deeply embedded in the model of humanistic management.

Let’s take as an example activities related to  corporate social responsibility. A company oriented on efficiency considers CSR enterprises as additional activities aimed at warming their image. The humanistic approach doesn’t need and CSR activities because concern for social matters is enclosed in its mission and DNA.

A company to function must definitely achieve its business goals but they shouldn’t become absolute goals. Humanistic management isn’t a synonym of a more casual and cooler work environment.

Who is leader and employee in the humanistic management model?

People functioning within a work environment built in accordance with humanistic management guidelines search for managerial inspirations beyond economic trends. They are familiar with newest social studies achievements, they keep abreast of what’s going on in the world of art and culture. Not only to be up to date but also to look for ideas and inspirations. Art, for example, makes us strive for beauty but also appreciate ‘ugliness’; poetry sensitizes to the metaphor, reminds us about the role of insight and the ever existing tension between values such as the business goal and people’s welfare, which is an inseparable feature of our life an cannot be eliminated with company guidelines.

modele zarzadzania firmami

A leader in a company managed humanisticly demonstrates a holistic approach to life and to the organization, without being an ‘all-rounder’. What’s important is the fact that the leader doesn’t stick only to scientific and pragmatic experience but allows emotions – his/hers as well as his/her colleagues’. The leader includes others in his/her actions and appreciates the value of diversity and the multitude of experience resulting from it and gives priority to collaboration over wild competition. He/she is open to criticism and to new ideas.

Complexity is not a chaos

All the above results in the leader in a humanistic management model valuing highly the role of context and avoiding simple solutions and irrefutable musts such as good greed or ‘human as someone behaving rationally and striving always to maximize profits and making decisions basing on their economic results’. In other words paving the way instead of beaten paths accepting change at face value.

The text is based on comments by Joanna Średnicka, co-founder of Pracownia Gier Szkoleniowych and article by J. Kociatkiewicz, M. Kostera: Zarządzanie humanistyczne : zarys programu. „Problemy zarządzania” 2013, 11/4, s. 9-19. Available at [link]

Pictures from public domain: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).