Purpose - The purposes of this conceptual paper are fivefold: first, to
present a resource definition of care in work organizations that allows
business and its managers to reconnect human wealth with social progress
and economic wealth in order to create a responsible, sustainable, and
healthy world; second, to examine the sociological and feminist origins
of care; third, to discuss identifiable qualities of care; also, to
compare and contrast care with the knowledge resource; and then, to
identify future research directions for care.
Design/methodology/approach - Theory development and literature review
were carried out to present a conceptual definition of care.
Findings - A definition of care is proposed: care is a universal
construct and is inherent in all human beings; care is the core
foundation, the core energy, of all human activity, work, and
interaction; care may be seen as a socioeconomic resource that acts
similar to the knowledge resource and may be built into organizational
strategy, management, and leadership and serves as a measurable and
trainable managerial capability; and care comprises identifiable
qualities in individual, relational, and managerial decision-making
categories. This definition has important cross-cultural implications
and is valid for any culture, team, and organization.
Research limitations/implications - This paper is conceptual in nature
and lays the foundation for further research, which is outlined in the
discussion. Follow-on work should include case studies and other
qualitative research methods as well as quantitative research methods to
substantiate the definition with evidence.
Practical implications - In this paper, the author proposes that care
lies at the core of being human. Care energizes all human work activity
and may be employed by leaders, managers, and strategists across all
organizations and cultures to maximize human potential, integrate care
with the wealth creation process, and create healthy, sustainable
organizations. Care is proposed as a driver for economic success and
human Well-being that can give rise to the next major transformation in
business and thinking. The proposed care definition, and especially, its
comparison to the knowledge resource, offers scholars and practitioners
a new orientation to apply to the value creation process in
organizations. Care can be seen as an essential aspect of management
practice, organizational strategy, and socioeconomic transformation.
Originality/value - This paper offers a unique and profound definition
of care. Care has never been studied or examined in terms of energy or
socioeconomic resource before. It leverages the definition of care
associated with ethics of care research and provides a broader and
deeper means to energize and transform work environments, management
practice, and organizational strategy.
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