Programme PGP Term IV Academic Year 2021-22

Course title Philosophical Foundation of Management Area PGP Credits 1.25

Prof. Ajay Pandey,
Prof. Sebastian Morris (VF)

Course Description & Objectives
The objective of this course is to sharpen and broaden the awareness of students about the philosophical and human concerns governing the generation and use of management knowledge. Management for the purpose of this course includes both the practice and principles of management and its source disciplines. The latter covers the social sciences, mathematics and the physical sciences. Nevertheless, beyond the sciences management does draw upon the culture, beliefs and other social and political moorings of society. 

The following broad concerns are explored, in the course:
  • What is philosophy? And what are some fundamental questions of philosophy, such as what constitutes truth or valid knowledge (epistemology), ethics, existence (ontology), etc? 
  • The philosophical approaches and ideas of several major Western and Indian philosophers and thinkers, and the social and personal forces that shaped these ideas, that is to say, philosophizing as a human enterprise.
  • The nature of human consciousness and potential, and the models of man and society on which the field of management rests.
  • The scientific enterprise, including social science enterprise, marked by method and, intuition, working within a paradigm, and changing it. The objective and subjective elements in science, etc. 
  • Alternative ways of constructing theory, such as from anomalous data, from hypotheses testing, by building ideal types, by building positivist models, through functional analysis, by building mathematical models, etc.
  • Philosophies underlying political practices preferences and systems. Constitutionalism and democracy 
The course attempts to help students examine management, scientific, religious and political thought, practice and research, from multiple philosophical perspectives. This is important because management (and in general all practice) is a human enterprise which builds on what “works” or seems to work, with only a secondary reference to the disciplinary basis. This creates the need for understanding the assumptions and philosophical basis of knowledge and our of actions and attitudes with which we approach society and its institutions. What we consider as “knowledge” could have various degrees of contingency or validity so that we need to be aware of these limitations of systems of knowledge. As humans we in our actions and construction of society go well beyond what we are as biological beings are. The course provides an opportunity for students to think deeply and critically about the assumptions that we – individuals, societies, religions, besides the sciences and social sciences make.

Total contact hours would be made up of 12-13 double sessions of 2 hrs 30 minutes duration.

Each class will start with students in groups making very brief presentations (preferably without using PPTs) bringing out the gist of the position, concepts, the issues that a reading raises, and the questions the group would like to consider. Other students would participate to take the discussions forward. The instructors would also participate. Sometimes more than one reading may be considered together. It is expected that the presentations do not take more than 20 minutes at best. The skill of the group to bring out all the issues over the short time span is important.

The efforts made prior to the class by the students would strongly determine the learning and understanding derived from this course. It is essentially participative since the course is predicated on the belief that only through argument, discussion and consideration of various stated positions, and each other’s beliefs (even unconscious) can we truly understand the value of our the “varieties of knowledge” and the basis of our actions. Free expression of ideas and thoughts without being constrained by what is politically (or otherwise) correct is import. No offense to any beliefs is intended, and no belief/ knowledge / truth is beyond critique. Since this is the first offer of the course online, it is imperative that students make their best effort to participate in the class. All are expected to keep their video on. There will be moodle site into which the recordings of every class will be archived.