Management is often presented as an end in itself. The current emphasis on MBO adds weight to this idea, which can lead to circularity and an inversion of goals and means. In this context, this paper aims to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of two conceptions of finality. The first, instrumental finality, focuses on objectives as the only goal that needs to be considered in an organisation. The second, transcendent finality, makes it possible to consider the coherence between individual and organisational goals. This second finality schema can create a basis for virtue-based ethics, which can be used to justify certain behaviours in terms of a manager’s end. This concept of finality is considered alongside deontology, which precludes finality as an acceptable justification, and utilitarianism, which considers finality to be the only relevant consideration.
Drucker stated in 1954 that “management is not an end in itself” (Drucker, 1993, p. 119). This assertion contended that management could not be a closed system, as it was related to other purposes outside itself. However, management can still be excessive, as Aubert and Gaulejac highlight in the section of their book entitled “managerial system” (2007). Like any ideological system, management is based on a set of principles which are often regarded as absolute, as the ‘-ism’ in ‘managerialism’ implies. Jorda defines managerialism as follows: “We call managerialism a system of ideas, practices and languages that forms a theory about the world, people and their relationships by applying the principles of administration and management” (Jorda, 2009, p. 150). The ‘-ism’ reflects an absolutization of principles which may no longer fit in with other elements of the worldview, and thus no longer serve to regulate it (ab-solu comes from the Latin for ‘without connection’). In a managerial system, management may become disconnected from any other purpose and become its own end, hence the ‘violent’ character of this mode of framing human activity (Dujarier, 2015, p. 239).
From this perspective, management not only limits alternative ways of understanding interactions, but also comes to limit itself. We can see here that the notion of finality creates a question that deserves to be answered. The aim here is not so much to question the finality of behavior itself, but rather the characteristics of the understandings of finality used to justif…
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