Sunday, 30 June 2019

Political Personalism, a Brief Introduction. Part 2: A Closer Look at Personal Relationships.

by David Jewson

From the time each of us can first remember we know ourselves, we are each aware of ourselves as something in the world, as a person. We know we are persons and see others like us, and assume they too must be persons, each viewing the world in much the same way as we do.
This is one version of an idea that varies between cultures. So, in African tribal culture, men are only persons once they have been through the rituals performed as they change from children into men, and then only if they do things in the interest of their community and village.
Beyond the most basic needs, such as food, water, shelter and health, many of the most important needs are emotional rather than logical, after all, pleasure itself is an emotion. Personal relationships seem particularly important. We don’t build personal relationships with everyone we meet, indeed, often we seem to regard other people as ‘things’ rather than people, and although we can be pleasant or unpleasant to them, in the end they don’t really matter that much to us. For example, we might watch a film where the hero escapes from a gang of villains. If he shoots the villains, it means nothing to us, in fact, quite the reverse, we are pleased the villains are dead. We feel nothing of their pain, or the pain to come for their spouses, children and friends.
However, if we do build a personal relationship with someone, ‘connect with them’, something rather bizarre happens – we begin to care for them, indeed, sometimes, we might even begin to love them. Why, or how this happens is not at all clear, it seems to be an emotional rather than a logical thing. Returning to the hero in our film, if we had somehow ‘connected’ with him, then if he were injured it would matter to us. We would even feel his pain, with the same pain centres activated in our own brains as if we ourselves had been hurt, we might even cry, without knowing why. It is as if the hero and ourselves were not only connected but in some bizarre way, had become almost the same person.
There is a story about Malcolm X, the black American human rights activist, as a child, and his foster parents, the Swerlins, who were white. The Swerlins treated him very kindly, but more like a pet than a human being. So, for example, they would say things in front of him without realising that he might have feelings, or be hurt by what they said. He was treated more as an ‘it’ rather than a ‘person’. It would appear that they had not ‘connected’ with him, for if they had, they would surely have felt his pain at some of the things they were saying.
The amount of pain that human beings inflict on each other in this world is unbelievable, particularly as we are each only here for a comparatively short time and, ultimately, we will all die, leaving acts of cruelty done in our lives as seemingly senseless. But if we regard other people as ‘its’ rather than people, those cruel acts seem perhaps to make more sense. All that prejudice, all that turning away from the suffering of others, is perhaps because we have not ‘connected’ with the people involved, we do not feel their pain or their happiness, they are not ‘one’ with us.
It is interesting how people seek ‘connected’ relationships. So, a patient will prefer to see a doctor whom he or she has seen before and ‘connected’ with. Many doctors say that the relationship with their patients is therapeutic to both of them, makes them both feel better. Many sick patients need not only treatment, they also need a physician who can ‘connect’ with them, share in their experiences and justify their value as people, despite their illness. Only their physician can justify them in this way, as their physician understands both them and their illness in a way that their friends and family cannot.
Personalism is a philosophy that is particularly interested in people and their personal view on life. It is also interested in their emotions and the things that are important to them, but crucially recognises the need for human beings to have relationships, and the unique ability of relationships to make people care for each other. In a good ‘connected’ relationship, you will love your neighbour as yourself, something good for both yourself and your community and a Christian value dating back over two thousand years. If you have good relationships, it is likely you will value those relationships above money and material things, a Christian, Chinese and African value, again probably dating back thousands of years.  So important are relationships for most people, that a life without relationships would hardly be a life worth living at all, or at least would miss out on one of the very best parts of living. Many religious people feel the most important and fulfilling parts of their life to be their relationship with their God.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Political Personalism, a Brief Introduction. Part 1: The Problem with Current Political Ideas

by David Jewson

I wrote this little essay, here divided into three parts, at the beginning of 2018 for some friends of mine who are very interested in politics and making the world a better place, just after reading Jonas Mortensen's book, The Common Good, which made a great impression on me and which I can highly recommend.

At the beginning of the 21st century many people feel that the old political ideas of the left and right no longer seem to connect with what they really want or need. Political Personalism is a new approach that relies neither on the left or the right but is for everyone. Despite being ‘new’, it has roots that go back thousands of years in many different cultures, and, in that sense, it is a philosophy for the whole world.
There are clear problems with current political ideas. A very simplified summary would be this: Western libertarian ideas focus on the rights and freedom of the individual, as espoused by John Stuart Mill. These would be the ideas of ‘the Right’. Business functions well on these ideas of freedom along with the idea of the profit motive and the growth of the economy, so-called ‘Capitalism’. Many have adopted those same ideas in their own lives, with a major purpose of life becoming to amass money and possessions.
This approach has, however, deep problems. First, we are not individuals on our own, we are somebody’s child, or parent, or spouse, or friend and, in a sense, they are part of us. So, when we act we would not usually act for solely ourselves, we take into account those to whom we are deeply connected and often act for our group. Curiously we want the freedom to do as we please, but then tend to impose restrictions on our own freedom so that the group to which we are connected does not suffer, but rather flourishes. Political ideas underling the importance of the freedom of the individual often seem to ignore the mass of relationships that a person has and the obligations of that person to the group, and the obligations of the group to that person. Secondly, money and possessions do not seem to give the happiness that the business model suggests that they should. People are interested in the things that money can bring, particularly if they are needed to live a life without suffering, so, food, fresh water, a roof over their heads, good health care and good education, but, beyond that, they are mostly more interested in relationships, having friends, finding a partner, having children and so on. A philosophy that forgets the importance of relationships to human beings could divert people to lonely and unhappy lives, however wealthy they are. The profit motive of Capitalism can also have the effect of making working lives increasingly miserable for everyone, as efficiency is improved and more and more is expected of workers in less and less time and for less money.  The gravestone of the Capitalist might read: ‘She had a miserable life, worked her fingers to the bone and her mind to a stressed and anxiety filled mess, but at least she had loads of ‘stuff’. ‘
In contrast to Western libertarianism, there are ideas about the importance of the family, the group and society, which, for example, are prominent in African tribal culture and have been the bedrock of Chinese society dating back thousands of years to the time of Confucius and before. Indeed, in Chinese, words relating to the individual on their own often have a derogatory connotation; the Chinese language is built around the idea of community, so much so that the UN ‘Declaration of Human Rights’, when translated into Chinese, actually has a different meaning to the same declaration, say in English, emphasising the community more than the individual. Similar ideas developed in Western philosophy, particularly with the works of Karl Marx and the subsequent evolvement of Socialism and Communism: the ideas of the left. These ideas emphasize the importance of the group.
But there are also deep problems with the ideas of Socialism. Socialism emphasises the importance of the obligations of the individual to the group. Indeed, often the needs of the individual can be sacrificed for the needs of the group. Unlike Chinese culture, socialism seems to have little to say about the relationships within a group, or their importance. Also, ideas such as ‘equality’ are important in socialism, such that under some socialist systems, people even have had to wear the same clothes. But, beyond having the basic needs to live a healthy life, people actually do not want to be the same as others; they are interested more in their relationships and find happiness in their friendships and hobbies, which often involve other people. Many are not in the least bit interested in having more money and more possessions, indeed would see it as giving them more work and responsibilities; if you own a palace then you have to look after it! People are very interested in fairness, but that is different from equality.
Any philosophy where an individual suffers for the sake of the community is painful, both for the individuals who suffer, and for those who think that they may be next on the list. This is what seems to happen at the moment in countries such as China. China is also interesting because it has, for some time, been embracing the ideas of Capitalism, with Chinese people seeing such ideas as attractively modern. However, there are people who feel that Chinese Capitalism is a monster that has torn apart a traditional way of life by disrupting families and the connections between them, as wage earners leave their families to go to the cities, and where the happiness of relationships is being replaced by the lack of happiness provided by money and possessions.
In summary, the libertarian ideas of the right provide some of what people really want by emphasising the importance of the freedom of the individual, but miss out on the relationships and community that really make people happy, while the socialist ideas of the left see the importance of the community, but miss out on the importance of the individual and the importance of the relationships in that community. Both right and left, when in power, tend to seek purely economic solutions to problems. So, the right might reduce taxes, giving individuals more freedom to spend their money as they wish, while the left might improve the community by spending money on public services. But these purely economic solutions have nothing to say about improving relationships within a society and are unlikely to lead to radically happier and interconnected people within that society. Indeed, the very idea of ‘left’ and ‘right’ can divide and dislocate society.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Online Masters Degree in Personalism

To Whom It May Concern:
It is our pleasure to communicate to you an excellent professional development opportunity which may be of interest to members of your institution. We are referring to the online master’s degree program in Personalism, offered in English by the fully accredited Distance University of Madrid with the cooperation of a highly competent international faculty with professors like John F. Crosby, Josef Seifert, Juan Manuel Burgos and Alfred Wierbizcki.
As you know, personalism is a contemporary current of thought which presents a meaningful and exciting vision of the human person. Guided by this personalist vision, the Master in Personalism program offers philosophers the chance to do specialized investigation in this area of philosophy through the study of such relevant thinkers as Karol Wojtyła, Jacques Maritain, Edith Stein, Dietrich von Hildebrand and Emmanuel Mounier, among others.
This is a 60-credit program featuring courses on personalism as a philosophical school of thought and philosophical anthropology from a personalist perspective, as well as applications of this content to areas such as psychology, the family, bioethics and religion. Among the topics to be discussed are affectivity, freedom, death and destiny, the person as male or female and interpersonal relations.
The program is 100% online, including the defense of the master’s thesis. Classes will begin in October of this year. More information, including how to apply, may be found at:

Any questions or comments you have may be sent to:

Many thanks for your attention.

Juan Manuel Burgos & John F. Crosby
Directors of the Master in Personalism

Sunday, 16 June 2019

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wi– no, it’s alright, my thumbs have just gone to sleep

by Simon Smith

I was recently telling James T. Beauregard, of the Starship Chicken Parmenides, about a new project. It’s a return to familiar territory for me: high transcendence, Chalcedonian formulae, and the meaning of salvation. Thanks to Daria Tomiltseva of the Ural Federal University, this time I’ll be going in, not just with Farrer and the usual crowd, but with Giorgio Agamben too. Dr T. kindly sent me The Signature of All Things after she and I met at a conference in Tallinn last year.
Informed of my plans, Jim, as is his wont, replied with observations thereupon, one of which was that, since Salvation was my theme, I should probably give some thought to the Problem of Evil.
I shan’t be doing that, for two reasons. First, it’s beyond the scope of my investigation. I merely want to know whether we can make sense of Salvation when the Saviour is homoousia with God above and before all worlds. (Spoiler: not with substance metaphysics – a load of old toot anyway – but apply a theory of signatures and maybe.) Second: been there, bought the prepuce.[1]  
I have, you see, already published something on so-called Natural Evil, in Appraisal.[2] It followed on from work I’d done for my book, which is available from Amazon and Vernon Press. Go on, you know you want to.
My article was meant to be the first of two, with the second focusing on the Evil that men and women seem so keen on doing.  In this first one, however, my aims were threefold:

Aim One

Epicurus’ old, unanswered questions, traditionally conceived, are a function of philosophical realism. They result from the inability of realists to distinguish anthropomorphic projection from literal description. (David Hume probably should have noticed this and saved us all a lot of trouble.) This, despite the fact that the Problem of Evil isn’t even really a problem in its own right at all. As Farrer points out, it’s actually ‘a special development of the classical argument from our world to God.’[3]
This ‘special development’ is our most fundamental theistical move, our first cosmological intuition. Contrary to popular philosophical opinion, that is, the believer does not begin with questions like ‘why is there anything at all?’ Still less do they start with ‘does God exist?’
I once got into a huge row about this; it almost came to blows. Another philosopher (ha!) insisted that the question theists are most interested in concerns the existence of God. I challenged him to find a single church, mosque, or synagogue where that gets asked. Then I pointed out that only philosophers were dumb enough to imagine that religious faith is actually some kind of metaphysical experiment. Then I threw a chair at him.

Well, he really got up my pipe.

And it was only a Work in Progress seminar.

And, anyway, I missed him. More or less.

Nevertheless, the basic metaphysical move is to not to ask, ‘why is there anything at all?’ but ‘why are things the way they are?’ the implication being, they might be, and perhaps ought to be, rather better.
Anyone who has read and grown out of realism will know that realists are adept at getting their unchanged undies in a Gordian knot over things like this. They cheerfully declare that evil is a mind-independently real property of a mind-independently real world, which, by the way, is apparently made of mind-independently real ‘chalk escarpments, oxygen, Scottish lochs’ and the like.[4] (I’m thinking, as a glance at the footnotes will indicate, specifically of Peter Byrne, but he’s quite typical of this crowd.) The somewhat bizarre lesson seems to be that chalk escarpments, oxygen, Scottish lochs, and all the other physical furniture of the world are mind-independently evil.
I can’t remember the last time I saw, or even heard of a Scottish Loch kicking a puppy, or pushing an old lady in front of a bus, or systematically undermining the civil rights of gay people, or being racist, or advocating sexual assault, or keeping children in cages, or saying ‘begs the question’ when they mean ‘raises the question’. Honestly, I can’t.
Is that because Scottish lochs are just very, very good at hiding their crimes? Obviously! Who do they think they’re kidding, just lying there, in Scotland, all big and cold and wet? You can bet the Deep State is in on this, covering up for them. Oh, I am on to you, Scottish lochs, I am on to you!
But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we take our meds. Then, the proposition that the mind-independently real furniture which constitutes the mind-independently real world is mind-independently evil sounds a lot like anthropomorphic projection.
Unless the Scottish lochs are being possessed by some evil force!
Medication time!

Aim Two

Get away from the kind of swivel-eyed mentalism which sees malevolent bodies of water all around us, and anthropomorphic confusion remains at the heart of the matter. When we look at Creation and complain about the poor workmanship, we make the mistake of assuming that the universe is, to borrow Farrer’s somewhat antiquated phrase, the product of ‘manlike planning.’[5]
Mind you, six days. You can hardly blame people for being suspicious. What kind of contractor does anything in six days? It’s got ‘bodge job’ written all over it. No wonder we got the light two days before the sun came up.
We suppose the world was made just for us by someone just like us. Perhaps, like Monty’s golfers, we grumble because we haven’t received ‘that amount of luck which a human being has a right to expect;’[6] or, at the farther end of the scale, perhaps we’re on the sharp end of an erupting volcano or massive earthquake. Either way, it really makes no sense and does no good to wonder why God allows such things to happen. There are, I imagine, more urgent and practical issues to consider.
This also goes for blaming the Devil, as American televangelist and top-quality arsehole, Pat Robertson, did in 2010 when a devastating earthquake struck Haiti.

Besides, everyone knows that natural disasters are caused by homosexuals.

That’s a joke, obviously. Homosexuals cause floods, not earthquakes.  

Earthquakes are caused by tectonic plates. Homosexual ones.

Come on people! What do you think the ‘T’ in LGBTQ stands for?!

As far as I know, I’m not a geologist (or a homosexualist) but all the clues are there. Wake up and smell the magma sheeple! The truth is out there, the lies are in your head!

Thinking about it, homosexuality is a curious thing for God to get upset about. One might have thought that something like paedophilia might be higher up the naughty list. Oddly, not.
But I digress. Notwithstanding the idiot ramblings of bigots and realists, creation is exactly what it appears to be: a physical universe in which physical forces crash and bang about the place; rhythmic patterns of energy caring not one jot or tittle for anyone or anything else, not from choice but because they are spectacularly unequipped to do so. Farrer called it a ‘free-for-all of elemental forces.’[7] Naturally, where you have a free-for-all, accidents happen – they happen naturally. Well, rhythmic patterns of energy will be rhythmic patterns of energy. And that’s the point: accidentality is built into – or ‘built into’, if you prefer – the universe; it’s what the universe is made of.
None of this, by the way, necessarily undermines the idea of divine Creation. If one believes in God, then surely one believes that he or she made the universe to be what it is: real, not some kind of Hollywood film set. If God created those forces and everything they constitute, then presumably he or she made them to be themselves. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Aim Three

Asking ‘what’s the point’ is, of course, another fairly bootless exercise. The believer is wasting his time because he must be aware that the ways of God are beyond our ken. The non-believer will regard the question as meaningless, not because there is no purpose to the universe, as Dawkins et al. suppose, but because a concatenation of arbitrary connections and random collisions isn’t the sort of thing that can have a meaning (dumbasses).
The foregoing is not just the only sensible way to do this, nor even simply the foundations for a rapprochement of theistical and naturalistic conceptions of the universe. It is also an essential element of coherent epistemology.
Otherwise put, once suppose the world is a product of ‘manlike planning’ and we undermine our capacity to know anything at all. It means we cannot really know the universe because all we encounter is a façade. Worse still, it means we cannot really know ourselves, because we only know ourselves as physical agents in a physical environment. Who we are is a function of what we do; I know myself as the agent of this or that activity, as the person who is attempting to bring about this or that change in his environment. But if my environment isn’t real, if it is only a film set, then how can I be sure that any consequences which appear to follow from my intended acts really are the consequences I intended to enact? I wouldn’t know whether any particular event was caused by me; I wouldn’t even know if the event was real.
As irksome as this is to anyone interested in knowing about the universe and themselves, it’s even worse for the religious believer. If we can’t rely on knowledge about the world or ourselves, then we have no rational or empirical grounds for thinking God. We’re trapped in Descartes silly scepticism. Well that may be fine for undergraduates, but you just try using it as an excuse next time you forget your mother’s birthday. I’m sure she would be more than happy to educate you on what’s real and what’s not, quite possibly with the back of a wooden spoon.

Those, in sum, are the three things I was trying to do with my paper on Natural Evil. This was, as I mentioned above, supposed to be the first of two papers on the subject. The second was going to tackle the Problem of Moral of Human Evil, i.e. why God allows human beings to commit evil? By the time I’d covered the naturalness of the universe, its inherent accidentality, and the necessity of those two things to our capacity to know things, however, another paper didn’t seem worth the candle. After all, the point remains the same. Human beings are part of that real, physical universe.  As such, we’re more than capable of behaving likewise: crashing and banging about the place, caring not one jot or tittle for anyone or anything else; that’s to say – transposing merely physical modalities into a personal context – acting selfishly, thoughtlessly, relying on physical force to get what we want irrespective of the consequences. 
More importantly, perhaps, we are – and must be, if we are to be more than mere puppets – free agents, capable of acting freely, within the lineaments of both human consciousness and a physical world. Yet again, the reality of that active capacity is epistemically essential. Knowledge is a function of free action. Without free action, interference with our environment, expressing the will to bring about change in the service of our needs, desires, and interests, then we, once again, would know nothing of ourselves or the universe we live in. Given that, the possibility of evil action is inevitable. The freedom to act intelligently and constructively entails the freedom to act stupidly and destructively.
Still, at least when we do act destructively, we can, as Ex-Pope Benedict has recently done, blame it on homosexuals.
And that, of course, is where the Problem of Evil really starts to bite. Asking why God allows suffering, whether caused by unforgiving nature or unthinking humanity, is a diversionary tactic. The real question is, why do we allow it?

[1] I vividly remember my very first philosophy teacher telling me that, during the middle ages, the craze for religious relicts was such that, at one point, there were dozens of the things flying about Europe. For obvious reasons, this is one thing that stuck.
[2] ‘Anthropomorphism and the Evils of Realism’, Appraisal 9:2 (2012): 23-33. This was back when the British Personalist Forum was still the Society for Post-Critical and Personalist Studies. The article is actually pretty good, if I do say so myself. If anyone is interested in having a look, let me know and I’ll send them a copy.
[3] Farrer, A. Love Almighty and Ills Unlimited. London & Glasgow: The Fontana Library, 1966, 8.
[4] Byrne, Peter. God and Realism. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003, 67.
[5] Farrer, A. A Science of God? London: Geoffrey Bles Ltd, 1966, 76. This, by the way, is an excellent and eminently sensible little book. I highly recommend it for believer and non-believer alike.
[6] James, M. R. ‘The Mezzotint’ in Collected Ghost Stories. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1994, 24.
[7] Farrer, A. A Science of God? London: Geoffrey Bles Ltd, 1966,91.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Beyond Shareholders: Evoking Community Value in Global Corporate Enterprises

by Denis Larrivee

Corporate offices represent epicenters of management character and mission. Information giants like Google and Apple peddle a future that has already arrived. Precious metals firms promote glamour and good taste. By these signs and symbols the public infers the actions corporations intend to carry out. More than a wall plaque for the itinerant visitor that inscribes the corporate mission, however, corporate offices are also meant to transmit a host of intangibles – norms and values, for example – that convey corporate essence. They are intended to convey more than corporate mission, because the intangibles intended for transmission are instrumental for those who are instrumental to the mission’s conduct.
Marshall McLuhan famously coined the maxim ‘the medium is the message’ by which he meant that linguistic content is never central to communication. Shaping and propelling content was the medium that conveyed how the content was meant to be interpreted, articulating the meaning for whom the content was intended. Management functions analogously. It propels corporate mission amidst intangibles that shape the corporate medium that is responsible for executing the content of its mission. Corporate offices exhibit those intangibles in actions that reveal through signs and symbols, intended and unintended, how value is allocated; that is, how value is intensified or lessened, where or whom it is directed to, and which norms are sacrificed in its stead. 
In today's allocation of value, it has become fashionable to view knowledge as 'the' critical resource irrespective of economic sector or type of organization. By contrast fixed tangible resources of the corporation are no longer a sustainable source of competitive advantage. Davenport and Prusak explain this central role of knowledge as a reservoir for novelty that grows continually with investment

'Unlike material assets ... knowledge assets increase with use: ideas breed new ideas, and shared knowledge stays with the giver while it enriches the receiver'

Knowledge is valued for being more than mere information. It is a process of guiding information manipulation. Information that is so modified generates new meaning and new knowledge. By extension, the process of manipulation is multiplied by the number of individuals who are engaged in its use. Knowledge transfer is thus perceived by management as a variable crucial to corporate vitality and viability. Indeed, it has become akin to a physical law that resources are multiplied by knowledge redistribution and whose use is predictive of corporate success.
For corporate management this is a singular conception since it proposes to transpose a difficult to measure, intangible asset into a visible metric crucial to management’s role of sustaining the corporate enterprise and promoting expansion. As a corollary, it means also that corporate vitality will depend on how well management understands and implements this metric. For the well-disposed corporate manager, gauging conformity to the law functions to guide management behaviour. The evidence for this statement can be seen in numerous scholarly articles concerned with knowledge transfer. A host of parameters now provide a digitized and quantified portrait relating administrative oversight to canalizing knowledge resonance through the corporate enterprise. Management success is thereby gauged by the ability to manage parametric matrices that index the most favourable regression correlation.
Two of the better-known theories that have been used to predict outcome in managing knowledge transfer are social cognition and social capital theories. According to these theories, personal relationships are a valuable resource because they promote knowledge sharing and so can be exploited to enhance the distribution of knowledge within the corporate structure. Hence, they predict that optimization of social capital will enhance corporate performance through improved knowledge exchange. Management, by inference, functions to optimize social capital. 
Yet when the theories are tested, Chin et a – among others – find that performance is related to variables that have little to do with such social relations; e.g., focal efficacy, a variable related to outcome expectations, involves personal and community endorsement, which are themselves antecedents of social capital. That is, as antecedents that relate to the intrinsic value of the individual in some form they are essential to performance. In fact, incentives premised on extrinsic rewards that entail only self-interest, such as money and advanced position, soon turn ineffective, whereas recognition engenders more long-lasting investment in the corporation.
All this seems to say that there is a significant factor influencing worker performance that is not correlated with information manipulation and this factor is neglected to the detriment of the corporate enterprise. That is, when management focusses on the message of knowledge transfer alone it is conveying a normative position about the working staff who will convey to the public corporate persona. The signs and symbols of this kind of management are seen in the emphasis on the process of parametricization that link corporate vitality to the numerical assessment of knowledge redistribution, and which suborns the working staff to a medium only,
It seems to mean also that when management narrowly focusses on external indicators it is misconceiving the nature of the corporate enterprise. Naughton, Alford and Brady, for example, describe the corporate enterprise as a hierarchy of goods. They identify the basic need of the corporate structure to survive; which, in their words, motivates the need to sustain positive cash flow and attain to profitability. However, they also characterize this as a lowest-level need, one that meets only the minimal standards of basic goods provided by the corporation. They point out that also present are higher goods constituted of the corporate community. Corporate models that satisfy only a basic dimension of profitability, in their view, have as primary objectives the satisfaction of external parties alone, like that of stockholders. Other models, multifiduciary, for instance, are mixtures of intermediate and lower goods, with the highest goods provided by those corporations identifying a ‘common good’ recognized by the corporate community as a whole, which is essential for its vitality.  This existence of this latter seems a message needing to be transferred to the corporation in its entirely and requiring that it be made manifest by the management.
Complicating management's task for manifesting the common good are a number of modern hurdles, however.  The need to maintain corporate presence in a ‘global village’, to use another of Marshall McLuhan’s phrases, invokes extended networks of staffing whose social relations and communication rely solely on internet media. Globalization thus challenges the corporate enterprise by limiting the very resources on which its vitality is premised. That is, the corporate structure is assailed by a plethora of influences that are not merely new and different in their formal expression within the corporation, but which exist in a medium shared by external forces that encroach on corporate membership. Consider, for example, that in today’s globalized, internet community maximal knowledge transfer is already the default position of the technology. Oxford's Floridi documents, for instance, that for every person on the planet there are now 5 communication devices with internet access. By extension, this means that knowledge transfer is already maximized and that the law of multiplication is saturated, no longer an effective criterion for gauging effective knowledge resourcing.
Equally significant, knowledge transfer is often no longer the province of the corporation alone but extends beyond corporate structures to enlist other entities, thereby diminishing the ability to uniquely drive corporate prowess within the business community. Shallot and Usoro characterize these diverging influences as spontaneous and self-organizing, which they designate communities of practice. Motivating the formation of these communities are shared interests and expertise and the desire to participate in joint effort, goals also prioritized by corporate staffing. Because they are self-organizing both membership and lifespan are determined solely by member choice and allegiance. Accordingly, their span lies beyond corporate boundaries, where, motivated by socialization, knowledge transfer is extended.
The presence of externalized knowledge transfer through vehicles like communities of practice implies that the sort of social capital extending beyond the corporation is unable to confine knowledge redistribution within the corporation; hence, it is insufficient to sustain the ‘common good’ and perhaps even lower level goods, that is, the corporate community as an effective reality. Accordingly, Stuart and Usoro posit that it is not enough to rely on self-aggrandizement alone, of the sort that may come from social satisfaction, either through personal exchange, common interests, or similar motivating factors that enhance the individual at the expense of the corporation as a valued entity. That is, the corporate entity bears within itself a value that needs to be recognized and endorsed by the staffing. In other words, there is a value congruence between management and staffing that subsumes the value of knowledge transfer to that invested in the corporate enterprise.
The recognition of this valuation defines the ‘common good’ that Naughton, Alford, and Brady speak of. Hence, it commits the virtual organization, despite its ethereal reality, to a normative premise mutually accepted by staff and management that is meant to bridge the divide of time, space, and even presence.
It is the recognition of this corporate normativity that needs appealing to, and that the signs and symbols management needs to resort to for evoking its recognition and endorsement.