Common good leadership in business management: an ethical model from the Indian tradition

Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 20 (4):317-327 (2011)
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While dominant management thinking is steered by profit maximisation, this paper proposes that sustained organisational growth can best be stimulated by attention to the common good and the capacity of corporate leaders to create commitment to the common good. The leadership thinking of Kautilya and Ashoka embodies this principle. Both offer a common good approach, emphasising the leader's moral and legal responsibility for people's welfare, the robust interaction between the business community and the state, and the importance of moral training of leaders in identifying and promoting the common good. We argue that the complex process of re-orientating corporate priorities towards the common good requires alertness and concerted effort if both business and society are to truly benefit. As Ashoka said: ‘A good deed is a difficult thing’



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