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Understanding Compassion from Practicing Managers’ Perspective: Vicious and Virtuous Forces in Business Organizations

Darshna V. Banker and Kanika T. Bhal

Global Business Review, 2020, vol. 21, issue 1, 262-278

Abstract: This article examines how practicing managers construe the concept of compassion and the logics that they use to label their organizations as compassionate or otherwise. In-depth interviews of 10 middle and senior managers were conducted and analysed using grounded theory approach for the coding of the qualitative data into different themes. Data revealed two roles that respondents play while conceptualizing compassion. These roles are: receiver and giver; both having uniquely different views and perceptions. Based on these two views, we established an operational definition of compassion for business organizations. Further, this article identifies different organizational pressures and enablers that affect the level of compassion as presented in the form of vicious and virtuous cycles. It also depicts interlinks among factors and suggests interventions for increasing compassion in the organization. Among other issues, we propose, through this article, that excessive focus on short-term goals in an organization acts as a major pressure leading to low level of compassion, and these problems can be addressed through empathetic leadership practices.

Keywords: Compassion; empathetic leadership; helping norms; forgiveness; supportive culture (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1177/0972150917749279

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