Man's potential: Views of J. F. Lincoln and Wilhelm von Humboldt

Interest in philosophy of management continues to grow. Growth of the philosophy of management might result from the consideration of man's potential as viewed by two different men, an industrialist and a philosopher. James Finney Lincoln was president and board chairman of The Lincoln Electric Company for 37 years. During that time, and for 14 previous years when he was the firm's general manager, he developed a philosophy basic to a practice of business management that gained national and international attention. Wilhelm von Humboldt was a very gifted person with many accomplishments including those as a Prussian statesman, a humanist, and a linguistics scholar. A comparison of both men's philosophies reveals the following: In each view man's potentiality was approached by the dynamic, on-going process of developing his latent abilities or powers. Both views stressed freedom as being critical to the development of man's latent abilities or powers. For Lincoln the individual must gain satisfaction from the recognition of developing his latent abilities. For Humboldt the individual must enjoy the 'freedom of developing himself.' Lincoln warned against custom as being a barrier to development since it places man in situations which are without variation, forcing him merely to follow precedent. Humboldt, in addition to freedom, stated that "a variety of situations" is essential for development. 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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DOI 10.1037/h0091446
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