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Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan

Educator, Business Writer, Industry Expert and Entrepreneur


Written By: SuperAdmin - Dec.20,2017

Marybell Materum and
Emiliano Hudtohan
Jose Rizal University
Business, Education and Law Journal, Jose Rizal University
Volume 21, No. 1 School Year 2016-2017

The study on Network Leadership in a retail banking industry was empirically tested through a quantitative survey on the perception of the branch manager, immediate superior and subordinates. The elements of Network Leadership that were surveyed are: 1. Connector Attribute, 2. Self-Organized Project Coordinator and Coach Attribute, 3. Network Facilitator or Organizer Attribute, and 4. Network Guardian Attribute. The findings of this study can be further enhanced by conducting a training program in communication, innovation and relational skills of the branch managers that will help nurture and maintain Network Leadership among the branches of the said banking institution.

Key words: Network leadership, connector attribute, coordinator and coach attribute, facilitator/organizer attribute and guardian attribute.

Innovation in banking and its landscape on rapid advances in technology, changing customer expectations, and competitive pressures are driving bank leaders to identify opportunities for network leadership.
As executives, we now undeniably live and must lead in a dynamic, more complex web of traditional employee structures, contingent workers, non-traditional partnerships, and strategic alliances (Macnamara, 2005, p.1). A good network is created, and for networking to succeed, it requires the application of hard work. A network without the work produces nothing worthwhile. The challenge for organizations is to make sure that people in network leadership positions are assigned to the level appropriate to their skills, time applications and values and also, for these leaders, business networking is not simply finding customers in one-to-one meetings and connections; it is building a strong network, helpful for their aims.

This paper is intended to help banking institutions’ networking not only in finding customers for Branch Managers but to increase their capability on what more they can do to build their network and a wide range of relating with whom they can do business internally and externally. Multi-stream human resource management needs to have a wider network which requires work at both strategic and operational level to manage various personnel policies that affect people at work. Basically it must adapt a relational leadership and network leadership of so many employees in the company will result to productivity. In practice, this requires company-wide activities, conversation with so many line managers advising and coaching when it comes to disciplinary actions, negotiating during union or employee group disputes/maintaining good relations and ensuring that the wider workforce is aware of company policies and procedures. These are a few of the human resource tasks that require personal relationships within the organization. As such, an innovative behavior requires creativity in using relational and technological skills.

In a digital environment that uses technology at work, there is a need for the organizations to determine who are what we now call network leaders. These are leaders who are expanding the network for business and they ensure to build a professional network of clients and contacts for the business sustainability (http://www.answers.com). The value of developing those networks is very useful in maintaining network relationships.

Bridging ties among organization clusters are critically important in innovation. New ideas are often discovered outside the local cluster domain. Working collaboratively has become a recognized effective practice in the delivery of public services by community agencies and organizations (Marek, Brock & Savla, 2014).
This study contributed to the literature in several ways. This is the first study in the Philippines that examined the attributes of network leaders. It showed how the level of competencies affected the network leadership variable. Moreover, it examined if there are already “network leaders” (from the chosen company), who possess the attributes determined in the course of the study. Another contribution of this research study was that it determined and recommended the training intervention and training program to be given to the network leaders for them to be a “true network leaders”.

Holley and Krebs (2006) stated the important network leader roles which are very significant for this study as follows:

1. Connector

Everyone in the cluster knows what everyone else knows and no one knows what is going on in other clusters. The lack of outside information and dense cohesion within the network removes all possibility for new ideas and innovations. The weaver begins with a hub and spoke network, with the weaver as the hub. The weaver has the vision, the energy, and the social skills to connect to diverse individuals and groups and start information flowing to and from them. The weaver usually has external links outside of the community to gather or bring in information and ideas. This is a critical phase for community building because everything depends on the weaver who is the hub in the network. Initially the network weaver forms relationships with each of the small clusters. During this phase, the weaver learns about each individual or small cluster, discovering what they know and what they need. The weaver begins connecting those individuals and clusters who can collaborate or assist one another in some way. Concurrently the weaver begins encouraging others to begin weaving the network as well.

2. Self-Organized Project Coordinator and Coach

As the weaver connects with many groups, information soon flows into the weaver about each group’s skills, goals, successes and failures. An intelligent weaver can now start to introduce clusters that have common goals/interests or complementary skills and experiences. As clusters connect, their spokes to the hub can weaken, freeing up the weaver to attach to new groups. Although the spoke links weaken, they never disappear. They remain weaker dormant ties able to be re-activated whenever necessary. In order to accommodate new connections, the weaver must teach others how to weave their own network.

3. Network Facilitator or Organizer

As the overall network grows, the role of the weaver changes from being the central weaver, to being a facilitator of network weaving throughout the community. There are two parts to network weaving. One is relationship building, particularly across traditional divides, so that people have access to innovation and important information. The second is learning how to facilitate collaborations for mutual benefit. Collaborations can vary from simple and short term-entrepreneurs purchasing supplies together to complex and long-term such as a major policy initiative or creation of a venture fund. This culture of collaboration creates a state of emergence, where the outcome, a healthy community, is more than the sum of the many collaborations. The local interactions create a global outcome that no one could accomplish alone. This transition from network weaver to network facilitator is critical. The original weaver is creating new weavers who will eventually take over much of the network building and maintenance. If the change is not made, then the community network remains dependent on the central weaver who is now probably overwhelmed with connections. At the transition point, the weaver changes from being a direct leader to an indirect leader, influencing new emergent leaders appearing throughout the community. This transition is necessary for the network to increase its scale, impact and reach.

4. Network Guardian

For Holley and Krebs (2006), a Network Guardian is like a “Blakian” angel who mentally flies over the network, notices what could make a difference for the network at that point in time and helps make that happen. A Network Guardian might see the need for an article in the paper about the importance of networks, or might work with a local funder to set up an innovation fund that provides seed money to self-organized collaborative. This a great role for foundations. They often have information about the many organizations in their community or region and in their networks, and thus have the bird’s eye view needed to be a Network Guardian. They have access to the public venues where they can “reframe”: extolling the importance of openness to new ideas, explaining the intricacies of self-organization, and encouraging collaboration. At this point, the network weaver’s initial task is mostly completed. Now, attention turns toward network maintenance and building bridges with other networks. The network weaver can begin to form inter-regional alliances to create new products, services and markets or to shape and influence policies that will strengthen the community or region. This happens by connecting network cores to each other utilizing their peripheries. The network weaver maximizes the reach of the periphery into new areas, while keeping the core strong. The weaver now focuses on projects of large substance that will have major impact on the community.

A question that often remains unanswered in leadership research is “who are the leaders in an organization, their roles in building relationships and what are the new leaders’ development plan, the training that should be given to them, in order for them to be fit?”. As a manager moves into a leadership role, his or her network must reorient itself externally and toward the future (Ibarra & Hunter, 2007).

There is a need to know and understand network leadership. Many of the managers, in the study of Ibarra and Hunter (2007) question why they should spend precious time on an activity so indirectly related to the work at hand. Why widen one’s circle of casual acquaintances when there isn’t time even for urgent managerial tasks? The answer is that these contacts provide important referrals, information, and, often, developmental support such as coaching and mentoring (for their people) for this instance. For Ibarra and Hunter, (2007), personal networking will not help a manager through the leadership transition unless they learn how to bring those connections to bear on organizational strategy. Making a transition from being a functional manager to a business leader requires that they must be concerned with broad strategic corporate issues.

Today, the business environment continues to have intense global competition. It is essential for organizations to constantly train their human resources. The designed training programs must address strategic business needs and training needs and must systematically use the appropriate management tools (Narasimhan & Ramanarayanan, 2014).

In the banking sector, intensive training is conducted to upgrade the employees’ relational and technological skills so that they can efficiently perform their duties in the changing business environment that is highly demanding and competitive. The employees working at various levels in banking technology, e-learning and other areas have to take up the training program. Most banks invest in training programs to enhance the skills of their employees. Studies show that when employees are properly trained, there is significant improvement in their productivity and performance. An assessment of the training program is still needed to actualize increase in productivity (Narasimhan & Ramanarayanan, 2014).

In terms of technology, every employee must imbibe a culture of collaboration in the use of technology for more productive internal operations and better processes to enhance customer relations. Companies that make technology an essential part of their corporate culture are leaders in their industries. Management must encourage senior employees, managers and executives to embrace the new technologies and creatively use them to advance productivity in the workplace.

In the chosen Company of this research, tenured employees were with the company for more than 15 years before it was acquired by the new owners. Too many people were hooked to the traditional ways of working and were resistant to technological advances in the workplace.

More importantly, leaders should ask themselves: does the company have the technology and corporate culture needed to ensure that it will have the most productive workforce and the best interaction with the marketplace? If the answer is no, then it is now time to initiate a change in leadership. The new type of leaders exhaust technology to conduct business in entirely new ways in all key areas of the business.

The job of the bank branch manager continues to be the most challenging in terms of the leadership role. Basically, transactional leadership is greatly practiced if the managers deliver and achieve their quota because of a wider network of clients that boost their performance. In a vulnerable, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) business environment (Bennett & Lemoine, 2014), it is vital for managers to interact with clients regularly and quickly to gain their trust and to obtain customer loyalty. As a result of network leadership, branch managers are recognized and are given performance bonus, incentives and a good appraisal rating in their scorecards that can lead to their promotion. While the branch managers should continue to be the leader in relational matters, they collaborate with their people, peers and clients all the time. Bank managers should always know how to take advantage of branch visits to solidify their relationships with employees and customers (Ibarra & Hunter, 2007).

Therefore, it is a challenge to make the leap from a lifetime of functional contributions and hands-on control to the ambiguous process of building and working through networks. Leaders must find new ways of defining themselves and develop new relationships to anchor and feed their emerging personas. They must also accept that networking is one of the most important requirements of their new leadership roles and continue to allocate enough time and effort to see it pay off (Ibarra & Hunter, 2007).

This study used the Independent Variable and Dependent Variable Model (IVDV) framework, which determined the cause and effect relationship of the variables (Cooper et al., 2011. The operational framework in Figure 1 depicted the relationships of the network leadership with the attributes/characteristics of the Connector, Self-Organized Project Coordinator and Coach, Network Facilitator or Organizer and Guardian, and Network Guardian. Specifically, the framework showed the possibility of the relationship of the network leadership at the competency level/matrix of the employees particularly the branch managers. As a dependent variable, competency level determined where the branch managers’ competency would fit in. Competency levels were identified as: High, Above Average, Average and Low.

The study aimed to find out if the competencies were related to the different attributes or characteristics of network leadership. The moderating or interaction variable was included as a second independent variable because it has a significant contributory or contingent effect on the original IV-DV relationship. The arrow pointing from the moderating variable to the arrow between IV and DV showed the difference between an IV directly impacting the DV and a MV affecting the relationship between an IV and the DV. The moderating variables are Gender, Length of Service in the Company, Educational Attainment and their Locale/Place of Assignment. The overall output of the study was designing the appropriate training program for the managers based on their competency-based needs.




The population for this study consisted of employees of the bank from different groups of respondents in the organization, particularly in the Retail Banking Group (RBG) which manages the operations of all the branches of the universal bank in various locations in Metro Manila and provincial areas. As such, RBG has two different functions, Service and Sales. In this study, the Sales division was used as this department takes responsibility on direct interactions with clients and different networks in the Branch. Respondents were the Branch Managers (Self), their Subordinates, and their Immediate Superior/Branch Managers’ immediate superior.

The study of Sessa, Kabacoff, Deal & Brown (2007) contributed to the body of knowledge in understanding what differences are occurring among managers in different units in terms of attributes they value in leaders and their actual behaviors as leaders (as perceived by self, boss, and subordinates).

The objectives of the study were answered using descriptive statistics such as mean, standard deviation, frequency and percentage to present the profile of the managers. Network leadership was measured using mean and standard deviation. Moreover, in determining whether there exists a significant difference in the network leadership by the different group of respondents, one way ANOVA was utilized with multiple comparisons. In determining whether there was a relationship between competency and their profile, Pearson-R correlation was used for age and length of service, while Spearman-R was utilized for Competency Level. Also, Point Biserial correlation and Chi Square were used. Lastly, ANOVA on repeated measures was utilized in determining whether there exists a significant difference in the responses of subordinates, supervisor and their self-assessment. All significant tests were at 5% level. All statistical computations were guided with the use of the MedCalc Statistical Software.

The instruments used were:  (1). The Attributes of Network Leadership Questionnaire by Holley and Krebs, (2006) and (2). The Competency Assessment Form which measured the degree of competence of the leaders/Business Center Managers based on the subordinates’ and immediate superiors’ perception on the different attributes of network leadership.

Part A was the demographic background of respondents, such as gender, length of service in the company, educational attainment and locale/place of assignment and organizational tenure.

Part B was the Network Weaver Roles Checklist by June Holley (2013), revised with permission from the authors, with questions on preferred training which will be given to the Managers, if given a chance.

Part C, was the Leadership Competency Assessment Form used by the company itself, in determining the aptitude of the incumbent employees with regard to the prescribed leadership competencies. Statements on the questionnaire for Network Leadership Attributes and Competency Assessment were answered using the four-point scale



Network Leadership Attributes

The following data summarize the attributes needed to be a network leader assessed by the three (3) different sets of respondents: branch manager (self), subordinates and immediate superiors.

  1. Leaders as Connector. The overall mean of 1.57 (self), 1.71 (subordinate) and 1.62 (supervisor) all suggest that employees have high knowledge and skills in terms of connector. As a whole, the respondents from both subordinates and immediate superiors strongly agree that the attributes of the branch manager being a Connector on the over-all mean of 1.71 and 1.62, respectively are what they observed among their managers.

Self Organized Project Coordinator. Results of over-all mean of 1.59 (self), 1.63 (subordinate) and 1.75 (supervisor) all suggest that employees have high knowledge and skills in terms of Self-Organized Project Coordinator and Coach. Moreover, the resulting p value of 0.227 denotes that there exists no significant difference in the mean score of self-assessment, rating from subordinate and immediate supervisor.

Network Facilitator or Organizer. Attributes of network leaders as to network facilitator or organizer resulted in the overall mean of 1.65 (Self) and 1.68 (Subordinate) and the resulting p value is 0.093.

Self Organized Project Coordinator. Results of over-all mean of 1.59 (self), 1.63 (subordinate) and 1.75 (supervisor) all suggest that employees have high knowledge and skills in terms of Self-Organized Project Coordinator and Coach. Moreover, the resulting p value of 0.227 denotes that there exists no significant difference in the mean score of self-assessment, rating from subordinate and immediate supervisor.

Network Guardian. Overall mean of 1.74 (Self) suggests that employees consider themselves as having a high level of knowledge and skills in terms of Network Guardian, while subordinate (1.93) and immediate superior (1.96) rated their branch managers’ network guardian level of knowledge and skills as above average. The p value of 0.003 indicates that the mean 1.74 of self-assessment (branch managers) was significantly different (lower in mean value) than the mean subordinate (1.93) and immediate superior (1.96).

  1. Competency level of the Branch Manager assessed by themselves and their Immediate Superiors. The following data summarize the competency level assessed by the branch managers for themselves and by their immediate superiors.

Competency Self-Assessment of Branch Managers. Results show that the self-assessment of branch managers for themselves suggest that they have high level of competency in terms of leading themselves (3.38), interactions (3.32), people (3.43), work (3.38) and change (3.36). This denotes that they consistently go beyond the prescribed behavior and they display leadership/mentoring in each of the indicators below.

Competency Assessment of Immediate Superiors to Branch Managers. The assessment of their immediate superiors is tha the employees have above average level of competency on leading self (2.79), interactions (2.66), people (2.67), work (2.92) and change (2.75). These suggest that their immediate supervisors think that their managers go beyond the prescribed behavior and they display leadership/mentoring skills in each of the indicators below.

Extent to which the attributes influence the Network Leadership as perceived by the groups of respondents

The following data summarize the extent to which the attributes influence the Network Leadership as perceived by the groups of respondents by the three (3) different respondents: branch manager (self), subordinates, and immediate superiors.

  1. Connector Attribute. When it comes to the extent to which the attributes of network leadership as to Connector which influence the group of respondents such as self (Branch Manager), subordinates and immediate superior, the mean scores are 1.57, 1.71 and 1.62 respectively. This indicates a high extent of influence for them. The resulting p value of 0.199 denotes that there exists no significant difference in the mean score of self-assessment, as rated by subordinate and immediate supervisor.

  1. Self-Organized Project Coordinator and Coach Attribute. Subordinates and immediate superior observed from the mean score of 1.59, 1.63 and 1.75 respectively, show a high extent of influence to all the respondents. P value of 0.227 denotes that there exists no significant difference in the mean score of self-assessment, rating from subordinate and immediate supervisor.

Network Facilitator or Organizer Attribute. Respondents described the extent to which the attributes of network leadership as to Network Facilitator or Organizer which influence the group of respondents as resulting overall mean of 1.65 (self) and 1.68 (subordinate) suggest that employees have high knowledge and skills in terms of Network Facilitator or Organizer. P value of 0.093 indicates that the mean 1.85 of supervisor is significantly different or higher in mean value than the mean self-assessment, which means that the supervisor rated the employees knowledge and skills lower as compared to their self-assessment.

  1. Network Guardian Attribute. With regard to Network Guardian attributes over-all mean of 1.74 (self) suggest that employees consider themselves as having a high level of knowledge and skills in terms of Network Guardian, while subordinate (1.93) and supervisor (1.96) rated their network guardian level of knowledge and skills as above average. P value of 0.003 indicates that the mean 1.74 of self-assessment is significantly different or lower in mean value than the mean subordinate (1.93) and supervisor (1.96).


            Based on the findings the following conclusions and recommendations were drawn:

  1. As perceived by the branch managers, subordinates, and immediate superiors, the attributes of Network Leadership have a high extent of influence for their managers. This means that the bank managers see the four (4) attributes as important factors in relating among themselves, collaborating, being productive not only in their respective areas of responsibilities but for the whole organization.
  2. The perception of both subordinates and immediate superior influences the development in the attributes that should be possessed by the branch managers, and that these would influence the increase in the development of their leadership skills and competencies over time.
  3. The branch managers rated themselves higher than the assessments/rating given to them by their immediate superiors. This means that branch managers assessed themselves as capable of having the different competencies such as leading self, leading interactions, leading people, leading work and leading change as managers.
  4. The branch managers identified the skills which they needed to improve on as communication, innovation and building their relational skills.
  5. Branch managers scored high in their roles as Connector, Self Organized Project Coordinator and Coach. The managers scored low in their roles as Network Facilitator and as Network Guardian.
  6. Age has a significant relationship in the competency level of the branch managers. The longer the time the managers stay with the organization, the greater the increase in their relational competence. The chronological maturity together with the years of work experience are factors that helped promote Network Leadership capabilities, while gender does not correlate with their competency. It was evident that individual differences of men and women must be considered in Network Leadership, depending on the predominant influence of the mind, heart, and spirit proclivity of the leader. Network Leaders may use power and authority based on traditional masculine ethics of utilitarianism, rights, and justice or 21st century ethics of care and nurturance.
  7. The perception of the branch managers regarding their competency level is much higher than the immediate superiors’ rating for the branch managers. It appeared that the branch managers have a good self -image regarding their areas of responsibility in Leading Self, Interactions, People, Work and Change. On the other hand, the immediate superiors (like the Vice President), who possess a wider perspective of the organizational network more knowledge on the performance and competencies of their branch managers.
  8. There is a significant relationship among the four network leadership attributes. Operationally, for the Network Leader as a Connector, the branch managers directly relate with people within the branch as well as with the external network outside the Branch, namely, the Head Office and other Branches nationwide. As the Self-Organized Project Coordinator, the manager helps the members of the branches by mentoring, teaching, guiding and developing them to perform their job and relate with the clients. When necessary, the managers communicate with the external network, like the Head Office and the Branches, and mentor, teach, and ensure secure links with these external networks. As Network Facilitators, the branch managers continuously coordinate within the Branch and with the external Network. Lastly, as Network Guardian, Network Leader ensures that the maintenance of the relationship for the internal and external network remains strong and uninterrupted.
  9. The low scores of the branch managers have to be addressed in terms of training and development in the areas of communication, innovations and collaborating/building relational skills.

            Leadership is reshaping the competitive and operating landscape for banks. Today, banks face competition from tech-enabled competitors .  There is a need to accelerate structural changes that go beyond technological transformation of banking networks. Although technology becomes increasingly central to all facets of bank strategy and operations , the study showed that the  bank  needs  a more holistic, strategic view beyond  technology investment. Training and Development is needed  in its changing environment.

A training program should be designed to address the communication, innovation and relational skills of the Branch Managers.   A training program is recommended particularly on Network Leadership with the topics:  Building, Nurturing and Maintaining Networks.

By clarifying supervisory expectations as a cornerstone of supervision, the study highlighted heightened expectations for Networking Leadership engagement relative to bank executives. There remain opportunities to improve the role of the bank managers in this area of networking leadership and their realistic expectations for what it can accomplish.



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Antifragility as a Theoretical Lens in Reviewing Corporate Social Responsibility

Written By: SuperAdmin - Jun.15,2017

Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan

 Journal of Business, Education and Law (BEL), 20(1). SY 2015-2018  ISSN 0117-6455

Jose Rizal University, Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila




This paper makes use of Taleb’s antifragility concept as a theoretical lens in viewing corporate social responsibility (CSR). In business, philanthropic CSR falls as a fragile execution of social responsibility; corporations sharing their core values with the community may be considered a robust practice of CSR, and corporations initiating community-based projects can be classified as antifragile CSR from the point of view of the project beneficiaries.



This commentary primarily aims to provide academicians who are steeped in linear statistics an additional perspective on randomness based on chaos theory. This is a chance to understand Taleb’s  antifragility. Secondly, it offers business management practitioners an insight into change that creates problems in the normal course of an enterprise that has stabilized and has achieved equilibrium in its operations. Thirdly, Taleb’s triad, composed of fragility, robustness and antifragility, is used as theoretical lens on a CSR triad, consisting of philanthropic CSR, corporate shared values (CSV) and corporate social initiatives (CSI). Fourthly, it presents Taleb’s concept and visual of concavity and convexity in viewing corporate social responsibility.



Taleb’s narrative style tin explaining what is fragile, robust, and antifragile. The arguments in his book, Antifragility, are mini cases he presents based on his experience as an investment trader, which is heuristic in approach (Moustakas, 1985; Pillans, 2014).

As such, I follow his methodology of narrating my personal observations by telling my own story by using his antifragility concepts on the various aspects of corporate social responsibility as practiced by the business sector today. My narration and storytelling provide reflections on antifragility, chaos theory, and CSR practices.  From these reflections, this commentary also provides opportunity for further action through research.  Recommendations for further studies are cited at the end of the commentary.


 Fragility and Antifragility

Fragile vs. Antifragile

Merriam-Webster defines fragile as “easily broken or destroyed” and “constitutionally delicate and lacking in vigor.”Dictionary.com defines it as “easily broken, shattered, or damaged, delicate, brittle; frail, vulnerably delicate, lacking in substance or force, and flimsy.”

Robust is defined in Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “strong and healthy, strongly formed or built, successful or impressive and not likely to fail or weaken.   Dictionary.com says it is “strongly or stoutly built: suited to or requiring bodily strength or endurance; rich and full-bodied; and strong and effective in all or most situations and conditions”

Taleb does not define the opposite of fragile as robust; he creates an oxymoron by presenting a non-existing word in the dictionary: antifragile.  To prove his point, he lists 58 examples of “fragile-robust-antifragile” triads that we normally experience in our daily life.  His triads are presentations of heuristic, experiential data and he admitted he was not into creating a theory or generalization.  But the insights he makes are certainly mind-boggling and one is led to nod his head and agree to many of these triads.  I recognized 16 triads as an axiologist, ethicist and values formateur.  I somehow got a feel on what antifragile is.

For Taleb the opposite of fragility is beyond being robust and resilient; the opposite is antifragility. He looks at antifragility as a property of systems that increase in capability, resilience, or robustness as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures. Simply, antifragility is defined as a convex response to a stressor or source of harm, which leads to a positive sensitivity to increase in volatility in term of variability, stress, dispersion of outcomes, or uncertainty. He grouped factors under the designation “disorder cluster”.  He defines fragility as a concave sensitivity to stressors, leading a negative sensitivity to increase in volatility. According to him the relationship between fragility, convexity, and sensitivity to concavity and disorder is mathematical, obtained by theorem, not derived from empirical data mining or some historical narrative. (Taleb, 2012).

On the other hand, the Eastern approach to resiliency is to discipline the mind to calm, non-combative attitudes in all conditions.  At the spiritual core, “Everything is already inside” for Tamura believes that you are the answer.  He says, “To be who we are, to have all that is within us and to fully express our divine heritage – that is our purpose for living and the destination of our journey..”(Tamura, 2007, p.5). Seale (2003) remarks, “The more you know who you are and the more you live that true identity, the stronger and clearer are your perceptions and sense of reality, and the less you are swayed by forces that go against your nature.  You have the power to make your own choice and to create your life as you want it to be.”(Seale, 2003, p.5).  Tamura and Seale affirm need to be resilient and therefore one comes out robust, but not antifragile in Taleb’s terms.

Taleb (2012, p.3) introduces antifragility as “some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”



Figure 1. Taleb’s visual of concave: frown and convex: smile (www.emaze.com)


Taleb (2012, p. 271-272) discusses convexity and concavity. He cleverly uses the smile button illustrating what is convex and frown button as concave.  His visuals are easily recalled when compared to a geometric and mathematical representation of convex and concave in Figure 2.



Figure 2.  Geometric visual of convex and concave images (www.mathsisfun.com)


Visually, it appears that concave fragility assumes that the impact of a stressor is inwardly absorbed and the individual needs to fortify himself by being robust.  It is a defensive reaction against stress by being able to arrest the negative impact.  The self is protected from further collapse by being robust.


Social Entrepreneurship Versus Entrepreneurship – Unraveling the Differences

Written By: SuperAdmin - Apr.17,2017

Social Entrepreneurship Versus Entrepreneurship – Unraveling the Differences

Management Entrepreneurship Halu Oleo Univercity IndonesiaClick the photo title to start slideshow


Moral Beauty: Prospect for Business Ethics

Written By: SuperAdmin - Apr.17,2017

Moral Beauty: Prospect for Business Ethics  
Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan, AB, BSE, MA, EdD
Paper delivered at the International Conference on Management, Social Entrepreneurship, and Education at STIKES Tri Mandiri Sakti,  Bengkulu, Indonesia on March 22, 2017
For Publication: Journal of Business Research and Development
San Beda College Graduate School of Business


The paper makes a case out of moral beauty as a perspective on business ethics in the 21st century.  In retrospect, it explores the origins and development of beauty from the Western Gaian tradition and from the Asian pre-Spanish image of the Babaylan. It reviews the classical ethical frameworks based on utilitarianism, rights, justice and virtue ethics, and the post-modern ethics of care. It presents the moral beauty as a standard of ethical behavior. The relevance of moral beauty in business ethics is highlighted by a leadershift that recognizes the crucial role of feminine energy in the 21st century. Moral beauty is positioned as prospect in business and the academe in response to the global business environment described as vulnerable, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous (VUCA).

Key words: moral beauty, ethics, business ethics, antifragile Gaia, Babaylan, Maganda, and
kagandahang loob.

As an axiologist, ethics and aesthetics are my key interest. Axiology studies mainly two kinds of values: ethics and aesthetics. Ethics investigates the concepts of “right” and “good” in individual and social conduct; aesthetics studies the concepts of “beauty” and “harmony.” Given a gnomic dictum that says ethics and aesthetics are one (Tilhgman, 1991; Collinson, 1985), then moral beauty is not a strange ethical proposition, after all.
Moral beauty in the 21st Century is being put forward amidst current shifts that are currently happening. Bennett and Lemoine (2014) describe the business environment as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). Taleb (2012) prescribes being antifragile in response to the global economic, political, social and spiritual crises today. Laszlo (2006), Page (2008) and Braden (2012) warn us that we are in the midst of a great period of change which started 1987 and ends in 2023.

To avert the impending global disaster ot our planet, for example, business, government, and civil society need to address this sustainability issues related to both human and planetary survival. It is no coincidence that 1987 in the Organization of Economic cooperation and Development (OECD) advocated sustainability of the triple bottom of profit, people and planet tallied with start of the great period of change cited by Page and Braden.

When the drummers were women (Redmond, 1997) they took good care of the Earth and the people of the Earth.  Today, men use the drums to forment violence, conflict, and destruction. Women of old used the drums for healing, celebration, and sacralization of the Earth.  They were governed moral beauty rooted in Gaia whom we call today as Mother Earth and Galactic Mother whose ethos is nurturing and caring, and made things beautiful.

Page (2017) observed that “[W]omen are more powerful together…When stressed, oxytocin (bonding hormone) reacts positively with estrogen to cause women to meet, share feelings and offer compassionate support; creating strength. Testosterone inhibits oxytocin during stress, causing men to be more likely to act independently through fight or flight. When women compete, we’re acting like men: let’s move towards authentic sharing and caring.” (facebook.com/permalink. php?story_fbid =399780190360423&id =10000 9853369349)

Objectives of Moral Beauty
The purpose Moral Beauty: Prospect for Business Ethics is to add a new dimension to an academic  discourse on business ethics.  For more than a decade now, I notice that the ethical principles are basically mainstream of Western origin. From Gilligan’s ethics of care, I am presenting a discourse on the feminist side of ethics with the inclusion of Moral Beauty.
Moral Beauty is traced from a Western tradition of Gaia and by design I present the Asian Philippine tradition of Babaylan and Maganda myth. Moral Beauty as standard of behavior in the 21st century can be a new moral standard in addition to Truth and Goodness the drives social decorum.
The 21st Century is a century of Feminine Energy, because so much Force from the Masculine Energy has dominated the world for more than 2000 years. Academic disciplines especially in business management may explore Gaian qualities of caring, nurturing, and nourishing Life as foundational link to ethical behavior in business and responsible social conduct.

I underscore the fact that Filipinos are a Beautiful people and our DNA made manifest through our language says so: Magandang Umaga; Kagandahang Loob. Mount Mayon is Magayon: beautful. Our Moral Beauty must arise now to bring harmony to this Earth and the Galaxy. The paper challenges not only business ethics professor and students in the academe but also those in corporate practice to make manifest the Maganda Filipino culture that is truly Asian.

Part I:  Gaian Beauty
The discussion on moral beauty is set in the context of Gaia in Greek mythology that has inspired current writers who are articulating new moral and ethical perspectives in the 21st century.  In ethics, Gaian myth serves a mystical function because she enlightens our experience as a mystery; it has a cosmological function because she helps us understand not only the material world but also the metaphysical dimensions of life that are invisible; it has a sociological function because she supports and validates our experience of the social order and it has a pedagogical function because she teaches us how to live a human lifetime in all circumstances (Campbell, 1991; Houston, 1998 Walsh, 2007).

Gaia in Retrospect
Historically, the eternal female was materialized through the female goddess, a Divine Mother.  Richmond (1997) tells us that “In Egypt the goddess was known as Hathor, Isis, Sekhmer; in Sumerian, Syro-Palestinian, and Cypriot cultures she was called Inna, Ishtar, Astarte, Astoreth, Anat, Aphrodite. In Anatolia, Asia Minor, Crete, Greece and Rome she was Cybele, Rhea, Demter, Artiemis, Anadine, Persephone.  All these historical goddesses sprang from an archetype Great Goddess of the Paleolithic Age, when cultures throughout the European and western Asian world worshipped forms of Divine Mother.” (Richmond, 1997, p.121-122). When the Greeks colonized Asia Minor, they reintroduced the ancient Greek Mother of Minoan-Mycenaean tradition.  The Greeks Rhea or Gaia was the Mother of the Gods.

Gaia was the Greek goddess of the earth; she was both mother and wife to Uranus, or Heaven, as well as mother of Cronus, a Titan.  According to Greek poet Hesiod, she was the mother of all 12 Titans, as well as of the Furies and the Cyclopes.  The Greek spelling is Gaea but modern feminist revivalists use Gaia. She is identified with Eros (Cupid, Amor), god of sexual love, who both came out of Chaos (New York Times, 2004).

Eros possesses a deeper mystical significance as the primordial power of creation itself. The Pythagorean and Orphic mystery schools invoked him as Eletherious, the Liberators and Protogonos, the luminous and genderless, who arose out of the empty void Chaos to create harmonious order and beauty of the Cosmos. EnlightenNext Magazine (2009) reinterprets Eros in the light of Darwinian philosophers who saw Eros as “the creative force that drives the evolutionary process.”  Cohen (2009) asserts that when one consciously identifies with the evolutionary impulse, at the highest level, we are “not separate from the energy and intelligence that originally inspired the creative process” which is Eros.

The Greeks believed that mathematically, beauty and truth are related and the ingredients of beauty are: symmetry, proportion, and harmony. Beauty was an object of love and something that was to be imitated and reproduced in their lives, architecture, education, and politics. They judged life by this beauty mentality. Aristotle says that when the good person chooses to act virtuously, he does it for the sake of the “kalon” meaning “beautiful,” “noble,” or “fine.”  Aristotle sees in ethical activity an attraction that is comparable to the beauty of well-crafted artifacts, including such artifacts as poetry, music, and drama (Aristotle. 450 BCE).

Gaian Prospect
Ethical and moral scholars relate Gaia to the ancient tradition of shamanism.  The shamans [recently Pope Francis welcomed a shaman in the Vatican] understood the harmony and beauty of the mind, body, and spirit in relation with others, the earth and the cosmos. Shamans have a sacred space where they find meaning and power.  In that space one “intentionally changes the environment to be one of harmony, peace and beauty” (Samuels & Lane, 2003, p.53).  They see light and beauty and let others see that vision. They see themselves as beautiful; they are within beauty. Thus, the healing action of the shamans is powered by beauty.

Gaia in organizations. Wheatley (1999) believes tht Gaia is the created universe, the mother of all like, the great partner of chaos and creativity. In modern science, she is planet Earth, a living being who creates for herself the conditions that nourish and sustain life.  And in this millennial era, Gaia is us.  She is the feminine energy that compels us to care about the future of the Earth.

According to Wheatley (1999), Gaian voices today answer questions with a new story that differs from the old cosmology. The women of the 21st century must lead with authority to create a new cosmic Gaian story of feminine care and power.  Page (2008) expands the Gaian story as the Great Mother who leads us to the Galactic Center. She asserts that “We are uniquely positioned here on earth to travel; travel this road metaphysically and enter the black hole at the center of the galaxy. Here we will experience the fullness of our potentiality, the unlimited realm of possibilities, and come to know the true meaning of immortality.” (Page, 2008, p. 3)

Wheatley reinvents a new story of the primal trinity of Gaia, Chaos and Eros.  She says, “Once the machine glass has been set aside, we can see life’s ebullient creativity and life’s great need for other life.  We see a world whose two great organizing energies are the need to create and the need for relationship.  We are a world where there is no such thing as an independent individuals and no need for aader to take on as much responsibility as we’ve demanded in the past.” (Wheatley, 1998, p. 87).

Gaia teaches us that “When we join together we are capable of giving birth to the form of the organization, to the plan, to the values, to the vision…The Gaian organizational process principle is:  Life seeks organization, but it uses messes to get there…And it involves creating relationships around shared sense of purpose…In Gaian story, this situation is influenced by the force of Chaos where creativity and freedom abound and by the force of Eros, where we are impelled to create through attraction (Wheatley, 1998). The women of the 21st century need to narrate their own story, having experienced daily the failure of the old story.  They need to break their silence and share the Gaian vision they have come to know.

Gaia and contemporary spirituality. Gaia as a Divine Feminine energy is theologically explained by James Ray (2006). He argues, “What we know about energy is this: You go to a quantum physicist and your say, “What creates the world?’ And he or she will say, ‘Energy.’  Well, describe energy. ‘ OK, it can never be created or destroyed, it always was, always has been, everything that ever existed always exists, its moving into form, through form and out of form.’ You go to a theologian and ask the question, ‘what created the Universe?’ And he or she will say, ‘God.’  Okay, describe God. ‘Always was and always has been, never can be created or destroyed, all that ever was, always will be, always moving into form, through form and out of form.’  You see, it’s the same description, just different terminology,” (Ray, 2006, p.158-159).

Some advocates of progressive spirituality in the 21st century describe as a process of “the divine spirit…seeking to sustain and guide the ongoing development of the cosmos…in terms of working with the spirit of Gaia” (Lynch, 2007, p.45-46).  Thus, the study and inspiration of Gaia is very much alive and Gaia in mythology yesterday is science (Drummond, n.d.) and spirituality today (Lynch, 2007).

Gaia and climate change. Bonewits and Bonewits (2007) trace the Gaia thesis to Oberon Zell-Ravenheart in 1970 which viewed Mother Earth as a living being composed of the whole biosphere (Lovelock, 1972; Margulis, 1998). Grauds and Childers (2005) argue that while plants, animals, and humans have their own conscious life and experience, they both partake of, and are transcended by Gaia’s consciousness.

In Gaian theory “the biosphere, atmosphere,  lithosphere, and hydrosphere  maintain a homeostatic condition and the Earth is seen as a single living super being. The workings of Gaia can be viewed as a study of the physiology of the Earth, where the atmosphere is the Earth’s lungs and circulatory system,  the oceans and rivers are the Earth’s blood, the land and the rocks are the Earth’s bones, and the living organisms like the plants and fungi are the Earth’s skin and  sensory system. All these are tied up to an infinitely complex network of feedback systems to maintain homeostasis. (Bonewits, 2003; Chamberlain, n.d.). Edwards (1995) links the Gaian hypothesis with shamanic wisdom that sees nature as a living organism.  Shamans believe that “everything is alive.  Rocks and crystals are conscious beings” (Edwards, 1995, p.206).

Redmond (1997) argues that our civilization made a mistake by choosing a tradition that followed a male dominant worldview.  Climate change is happening because we are “divorcing ourselves from the natural world, we are doing violence to ourselves and to the planet.  The tradition that we inherited from warrior nomads who viewed the natural world as an infinite source of new pastures to exploit and abandon have led to rampant materialism. Even now when ecological crises have forced us to reassess our relations to the environment, politicians take steps to ‘protect’ our resources solely so that we may continue to exploit them….our culture persists in behaving as if nature exists to serve the desires of one species that values itself above all other” (Redmond, 1997, p.187).  Crowley (2001) redirects us to that Gaian spirit by suggesting that we try to sense the divine presence in the natural world beneath the concrete of the streets, implying that the sacred natural order is primarily the non-human natural order resident in Mother Earth.

Myss (2016) asserts that the 21st century needs the Sacred Feminine, who is the balancing force to Sacred Masculine and its intellectual energies of reason and logic. The Sacred Feminine and its subtle and magnificent force penetrates into every expression of life, bringing us into awareness of the crisis within the Mother Nature and awakening our mystical senses and mystical history.  That Sacred Feminine is the modern Gaia, re-emerging today a Moral Beauty to rule the conduct of society that has gone awry and in chaos.

Maganda in Retrospect8b4403d8b52fec6930c9c130a491c800
The link of Western Moral Beauty with the Eastern Filipino culture is the Maganda tradition in the Philippines.  Our creation myth honors the Maganda and our Filipino Malay-based language orally made Maganda survive over time by our use of Maganda to describe what is Good, as in Magandang Umaga.  The  Maganda is resident in our metaphysical construct of the loob and linguistically expressed in our day to day existence.

Filipno Loob.  The Filipino discourses framed loob within the Western psycho-social and philo-theological frameworks but for more than four decades loob was considered a static structure and not a driving force that drives moral behavior. Related literature on loob include discourses from  philosophers (Mercado 1972, 1994; de Mesa 1986), psychologists (Alejo 1990; de Guia 2005; Enriquez 1992), historians (Salazar 1977, 1985; Ileto 1979; Rafael 1993), poet (Lacaba 1974) and a theologian (Miranda 1989).

They presented various definitions for loób as an “inner self,” “inner being,” “what is inside the self,” “holistic self,” “core of oneself,” and “core of one’s personality.” Francisco (2001) opined that the Tagalog concept of loob subverted the medieval classical body and soul construct in 15th century Doctrina Christiana. Loob was literally translated in Spanish as inside, when it was in fact an intermediary between body and soul.   Thus, the Filipino persona is understood in a triadic nexus of body, soul, and loob (Francisco, 2001). The Catechism for Filipino Catholics (2002), 500 years later, speaks of kalooban as a deep, positive spiritual value in accepting suffering, patience and long-suffering. Loob is continues to be a token element of the Filipino persona and is never even linked to beauty.

As an inner core,  Mahtani (n.d.) sees kagandahang loob in the context of ‘pagmamahal sa dakila’ using 1 Peter 4: 9-11.  Here, kagandahang loob is considered a quality of the Christian soul, capable of malasakit and doing good for others, even if they are not one’s household or friend.  Kagandahang loob is linked to cardinal virtue of charity. Pe-Pua and Protacio-Marcelino (2000) annotated kagandahang loob as ‘shared humanity’ and linked it as a socio-personal value. Rungduin and Rungduin (2007) see forgiveness as an expression of kagandahan ng loob that brings about gaan ng loob and kababaang loob.

Wilber’s (2007) inside-outside and individual-collective dimensions of consciousness gives us a hint on the power of the loob.  His quadrants as dimensions of being-in-the world are most summarized as self (I), culture (we) and nature (it) and all which have the inside-outside realities. He translates these three elements as art, morals, and science or the beautiful, the good and the true. The self, culture and nature are liberated together or else there is no liberation at all (Wilber, 2004).

Kagandahang Loob and Beauty.  Reyes (2015) associates kagandahang-loób with beauty by  literally translating it as “beauty-of-will.” He is a pioneer in introducing beauty with the loob concept in relation with kapwa.  In Thomistic theology,  Reyes identifies the loób as a “holistic and relational will” and as a “power of the soul.” But according to Kintanar (1996), who considers loob as an emotional state,  Reyes regards kagandahang loob  a value that is good, rather than a value that is beautiful.
Further, Francisco’s (2001) loob is more than a relational will or an emotional state; he reads loob, from a Catholic theological viewpoint, as an intermediary between Aristotelian-Thomistic-Scholastic body and soul construct.  In understanding the human person, the loob is considered part and parcel of body and soul human configuration.  Using relational will as the wellspring of beautiful behavior could have elevated the smooth interpersonal relationship (SIR) of Bulatao the positive Filipino moral behavior.

While Reyes (2015) argues that Filipino virtue ethics is rooted in loob and kapwa, he subsumes it under the “Southeast Asian tribal and animist tradition mixed with a Spanish Catholic tradition.”  But multistream Western relocators of animistic tradition would described ethnic Filipino culture as pan(en)theism and not animistic pantheism (Lynch, 2007). Then the beauty of nature evoking awe and wonders of the Creator is recognized.

The classical Aristotelian and Thomistic perspectives were used in viewing loob and kagandahang loob towards kapwa by various Filipino authors. Thus, kagandahang loob is conveniently translated in English as good will and beautiful will.  These literal translations, somehow does not ring the right note for the Filipino ear.  The French beau geste appears to be attractive alternative because beau is literally translate in Pilipino as maganda.  Beau gest is a gracious gesture  but “meaningless in substance.  The Pilipino kagandahang loob as the wellsprings of our cultural heritage remains a “mystery present” in our DNA that drives us to be beautiful, to be good, and to be true.
The Maganda Prospect

The living testimonial to our maganda culture is found in our natural resources.  Mount Mayon is Magayon (beautiful in Bicolano), Maria Makiling personifies beauty who protects the trees and vegetation and provides water for her sister, Laguna de Bae.  The mythical diwata, like Maria Makiling  guards the forest of Calamba, the [Bab]ae in Laguna looks after the ecosystem of the lake and the beautiful Lady of Mt. Mayon keeps fertile the Bicol natural environ.  The Bicol Daraga (Young Lady) town and the  Magayon volcano, the Maria Makiling of Laguna and the [Ba]Bae of the Lake naturally represent the Gaian presence in our culture. Maganda as dalaga is mentioned by Nadera (2000) in narrating the person of Catalonan.

Saka sa pag-akyat ko sa Maca
Nakasalubong ko si Maganda
Di man magsalita ang dalaga,
Aking dama sa hangin ang dusa.

Gaia in pre-Spanish Philippine culture is embodied in the persona of the diwata and babaylan and associated with the names give to our natural resources, reminding us of the beauty of nature protected by the diwatas and babaylans.

Babaylan as Gaian icon.  While there are conflicting opinions on whether the babaylan is a shaman, (Belita, 2015; Licauco, 2004; Mercardo, 1988; Demetrio, 1975) it is my view that the babaylan can be considered an icon of Gaia.  She is a Gaian icon because she babaylan cares for her people as healer and channel to the Bathhala, the source of life that gave birth to Maganda and Malakas.

Miclat-Cacayan (2005) narrated her encounters with babaylans of Mindanao and their sacred tradition of worship and spirituality through dance. She concluded that the spirituality of the babaylan is wholeness. Velando. (2005) in New York City that the babaylans have the consciousness of connectivity through Filipino pakikipagkapwa. Villariba (2006) believes that the babaylans are still relevant in the 21st century as priestess, healer, sage and seer as expressed  in Mangurug, Ibanag creed and Da-diw Iablo chants: “I Dios egga nittam nganun”  [God is in all of us].

Christianized babaylan .  Feminine leadership during the Sri Vidjaya and Madjapahit eras proves the presence of Gaia in the East.  Vim Nadera (2000) in Mujer Indigena cites the various regional names of the babaylan in the Philippines.  Gaia is Babaylan, Catalonan, Baglan. Baliana, Manganito, Mangaalisig, Almono, Mabalian , Doranakit, Anitera, Madre, Diaconesa, and Suprema.  Nadera’s historic narration of Filipino Gaia begins with ethnic babaylan image but with the onset of Christianity, the Filipino Gaia became a Catholic nun [Madre], Catholic deaconess [diaconesa] and finally the image of the Blessed Virgin [Suprema].

Vergara (2011) argued that in suppressing the babaylans during the Spanish era, biblical references were used to demonize them.  Later on, the Spanish hierarchy instituted the beaterio as a convent haven for the Yndias to replace the babaylans. (Veneracion, 1998; Cruz, 2002) so that the converted babaylans became part of the colonial society assisting the Catholic priests in their ministry. (Salazar, 1999)

Thus, the Christianized babaylan became a beata and they performed corporal and spiritual work of mercy.  Finally, as a Catholic nun, completely stripped of her ethnic babaylanic DNA, she pronounced the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to give herself completely to the service of the Church (Hudtohan, 2003).

Metro Gwapo. Attempts were made to make Maganda a behavioral norm among Filipinos.  Fernando Bayani as Metro Mania Development Authority Chairman declared Manila as Metro Gwapo.  And he used pink urinals to keep the city sidewalks from offensive stink.  Very few understood his gwapo campaign because they failed to understand beauty as a behavioral attitude to maintain order and discipline; they failed to comprehend the meaning of beauty as cleanliness and harmonious conduct of pedestrians and motorists.

In the 70s, Imelda Marcos who created the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) launched Manila as the City of Man. She pioneered in building architectural edifice like the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Coconut Palace, Folk Arts Theater, and Manila Film Center among others as iconic symbols of Philippine art and culture.  But St. Augustine’s City of God in Hippo was written to repudiate the excesses of the Roman culture, the City of Pigs of Socrates and the Fevered City of Glaucon. In retrospect, Imelda’s City of Man was closer to  Glaucon’s proposed a Fevered City where “great ambitions, great architecture, literature and even philosophy…[where there is] a distinction of noble and base, rich and poor, the superior and the inferior.”

The New Society of Marcos was an excellent platform for Imelda’s vision of Metro Manila as a beautiful City of Man.  Had the culture of beauty been pursued as a standard of moral behavior under Martial Law, Metro Manila  could have been an exemplar metropolis of beauty the Grecian tradition. And as the morning sun shines on City of Man, the city can truly greet the day with: Magandang Umaga. (Hudtohan, 2013).

Our historical review of moral beauty in Philippine context reveals that the Babaylanic tradition of feminine leadership (a manifestation of Western Gaian spirit) has been disrupted and culturally erased by 400 years of Hispanic Catholicism.  The Maganda (Gaian personification) and the Kagandahang Loob (ethic Malayan inner persona core) valu has been  reframed within the context of Western valuation devoid of its Maharlikan roots.

Part II: Moral Beauty and Business Ethics

Ethics in Retrospect

A Commentary on Taleb’s Antifragility and Duterte’s Presidency

Written By: SuperAdmin - Sep.07,2016

Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan, AB, BSE, MA, EdD
Jose Rizal University, Quezon City
De La Salle Araneta University, Malabon City
De La Salle College of St. Benilde, Manila
San Beda College Graduate School, Mendila
A copy of this was handed to the staff of President Duterte
At his residence in Davao City
August 26, 2016

In 2012, my DBA student handed me Nassim Nicolas Taleb’s book, Antifragile. I can only surmise why he gave it. Was it because my approach to teaching Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility was basically behavioral and qualitative?  Could it be that he was not comfortable with Taleb’s concept of randomness and fragility that presented a myriad of non-linear events that cannot be managed or predicted through financial regression analyses?  The academic term ended; I never got any answer.

I did start to read itbut failed to finish it cover to cover.  The fine print of the paperback and the voluminous, rambling examples of fragility and antifragility in the field of economics, politics, medicine, and physical science taxed my failing senior eyesight. Then, on April 26, 2016 Intellicare invited me to a management workshop on Scaling up Organizational and Leadership Capabilities. Vice President Rommel Ancheta mentioned a Q&A on Antifragility, so I gothold of Taleb’s book again.

In that forum, President and Founder Mario Silos challenged his corporate leaders to make Intellicare an ‘antifragile’ organization. I advanced the notion that scalability of quantum growth and organizational antifragility share the umbrella of chaos where there is constant disequilibrium in this Age of Upheaval.  Quantum growth, to my mind, requires a shift from a Cartesian-Newtonian outlook to a leadership driven by the new science of metaphysics. Leadership, in the new science, views randomness as a spike of an unusual event that creates havoc on operations that have achieved equilibrium and stability. Taleb suggests to be antifragile, persons and organizations need to  survive and grow in the face of  random disastrous incidents

This review primarily aims to provide book lovers and management practitioners selected highlights of Taleb’s new, non-dictionary word: antifragile, the opposite of ‘fragile.’ Secondarily, as an axiologist, I present two additional triads patterned after Taleb’s example of 58 fragile-robust-antifragile triads. My two triads were culled from my lectures in local and international fora, which were published in academic journals and newspaper columns.  Thirdly, I add a worldview triad because multistream-post-Lewinian approach to organization development is emerging; it is focused in changing mindsets instead of the conventional mainstream practice of changing behavior.  This prepares the reader to have a multi-faceted framework in looking at the presidency of Rodolfo Duterte. Fourthly, I pick Taleb’s concept of randomness as it mirrors a new political development in the Philippines with President Duterte as a leader. Here, his leadershipis seen not only from a political and socio-economic perspective but also, and most importantly, from a metaphysical and spiritual viewpoint. Lastly, the CSR triad is presented so that the philanthropic CSR is upgraded to corporate shared values (CSV) and hopefully corporate social initiatives (CSI) will eventually make CSR beneficiaries antifragile.

The review follows Taleb’s narrative style to explain what is fragile, robust, and antifragile. As such, his book containing seven chapters is a heuristic research (Moustakas, 1985; Pillans, 2014).  His arguments are mostly mini cases that are presented as evidence clustered under seven conventional chapters, but he prefers to classify them as books on antifragility.  His many stories based on his personal experience primarily as an investment trader, resulted to an antifragile opus of 519 pages.  It contains stories ending with Aristotelian climax and presents mind-twisting conclusions and leaves his readers a taste of an iconoclastic message.  His sardonic and illusive wit is comparable to that of Pilosopong Mang Tacio,

As such, I follow his methodology of narrating my personal observations and telling stories about my experiences to mirror some selected concepts on antifragility. Narration and storytelling provide a retrospect and prospect dimensions of human experience (Hudtohan, 2005; Gonzalez &Luz, 1985; El Savvy; 1983).

“Narratives,“ according to Boje (2008), “shape our past events into experience using coherence to achieve believability. Stories are more about dispersion of events in the present or anticipated to be achievable in the future.  These narrative-coherence and story-dispersion processes interact so that meanings change among people, as their events, identities, and strategies get re-sorted in each meeting, publication, and drama.” (Boje, 2008, p.4).

Storytelling, on the other hand, provides meaning and sense of coherence to complex events to reduce equivocality and unpredictability (Brown & Kreps, 1993. The plot of a story provides a historical background of an event that brings about the current state of affairs for sense-making (Czarniawska, 1998; McIntyre, 1981). Storytelling does not only support sense-making but it is also part of sense-giving processes (Gioia &Thomas, 1996).
Chris Chandler, a professional storyteller, thinks “that the power of a story to shift and show itself to us anew is part of what attracts people to it…No matter where we are in life,the best stories offer us something to consider; to feel, and to think on.” (Auxier & Seng, 2008.P.vii-viii).
Storytelling “has recently become mainstream. It is an undeniably important and useful tool, with the potential to enhance communication across organizations at all levels.” (Pillans, 2014, p.36). Brown (2012, p.252) insists that “storytelling is my DNA, and I couldn’t resist the idea of research as storytelling.  Stories are data with a soul and no methodology honors that more than grounded theory…based on people’s lived experiences.” Storytelling gets our personal message across and helps the reader’s “internal perspective and in cases where choices are unconscious, it can provide a new viewpoint that is more conscious” (Simmons, 2001). Samuels and Lane (2003) assert that “Re-storying reality is…changing a person’s belief system and instilling hope and spirit.”
This review is about Taleb’s many, many narratives and stories interpreted by the reviewer.  In return, the reviewer mirrors his lived experiences against the backdrop of antifragile events and circumstances.  The readers are encouraged to mirror their respective experience in reading my review because subjectivity creates multi-reality and the individual must narrate his/her own discourse on sense-making and meaning-making.(Dawson & Andriopoulos, 2014). (more…)