Homo Economicus, Homo Sapiens. NHB

Emmanuel Orji Written by Emmanuel Orji · 1 min read >

I want to start by asking an important question; “Why do we overly focus on profit maximization and wealth creation in business models? Or simply put “How can we stop building unethical organizations?

Economic models classify the nature of human behavior as rational (Homo economicus) beings who’s sole purpose is to engage in activities which satisfies their self interests.This assumption gives rise to a lot of questions; are we really absolutely rational? Are human beings totally self centered?

Such questions start conversations about who we are and why we organize the way we do. These conversations make us see the flaws in our thought paradigms and open our minds to the possibility of exploring alternatives.

Introducing new models of thinking that involves creating theories, teaching those theories and implementing policies in the business place that emphasizes the dignity of a person over the current economic model which does not.

Facts suggests that human beings are actually not totally rational. They are emotional (Homo Sapiens), socially responsive, live in communities and pursue activities for common interests.

Efforts are being made to raise models around dignity, saving the planet, being socially responsible amongst other intrinsic virtues.

Comparing homo economicus and the humanistic perspective, we see that the economic model is simplistic in it’s application. It is quantitative and can fit logically in a market model why dignity which the humanistic dimension emphasizes qualities on the other hand which are complex and not easily quantified because of individualistic uniqueness.

If Mr A has a company whose objective is to increase profit by 300%, that can be easily calculated. But how does he calculate if his workers rights were not infringed on by company policies? This doesn’t mean that businesses should not maximize profits, however, the way we go about this could lead to toxic organizational cultures which may negatively impact society.

Why should we explore other paradigms of thought even though they are more complex? Simply put, we can’t solve the problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Building ethically healthy organizations would require mindfulness in engaging the alternative option. Organizing in ways that put care and human dignity as the priority. It is also building caring communities that converge to produce wider benefits.

As we begin exploring these alternatives, questions will indeed arise but there is hope for the right answers.


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